Tuesday, May 17, 2011

From the Depths of Hell to Your Front Door

Last night when Matt got home from work I was just wrapping up some school stuff and I had the movie “Constantine” on in the background. The moment he sat down was the part where some scruffy guy is about to get killed and a bug crawls out of his eye. Freaking Hollywood. That’s probably about the creepiest affliction you could ever give someone. Not to mention you made it happen so fast there was no way to realize it was coming so one could turn away.

At any rate, right after we both made shuddering sounds and crawled out of our own skin for a second, the next thing Matt said of course was ‘woah’ because, well, Keanu Reeves is the star of the movie. Now I have to unfortunately disappoint Matt here but I watched & listened pretty hard last night and not once in this particular movie does Keanu utter his most famous line. Sorry Matt.

Anyway, there’s this other scene where the main female character sort of dies and ends up going to hell for a brief second. It’s all fire and brimstone, dark storm clouds and red skies that swirl in giant whirlpools of half dead trees and brown rock. Dingy and dank and I can actually picture how it smells. I feel connected to all of this because it’s exactly the picture I got in my mind of what the internal gears of my body looked like last week while I was sick.

Full-on, fully engulfed in flames, flu for six straight days. In fact as soon as I was done writing my most recent post last week I promptly plunked down on the sofa and produced a fever that stuck around for 5 days and peaked at 100.8 while I was on Tylenol. I don’t even want to imagine what it really was.

My living room turned into a virtual pharmacy, my sleep schedule was spotty at best, food held absolutely no interest to me and I couldn’t even hold a book on my lap without my eyes starting to burn. It was one of those times when all you can do is lie there and pray there’s an America’s Next Top Model marathon on Bravo so at least you can pass the time with your favorite guilty pleasure.

I was all over the place the weekend before and since flu usually incubates in about 1-4 days I knew I caught it in one of three places -- the Bruins game, the NRCC concert or at the Old Manse on Mother’s Day. And more than likely it was one of those random drunk boys running around high fiving everyone at and after the game. That’s one point for microbiology, Jenn at zero (you can say I told you so if you want Sue, next time I’m bringing hand sanitizer and a blowtorch and I’m coating the outside of my beer glass).

In the end though it really doesn’t matter where it came from, I was toast.

I started thinking about last fall when we got back from Jersey and I came down with whatever disease they infect the non-locals with on the way out and how it equated to this most recent sickness. But neither of those compare to the worst flu I ever had.

It was about eleven or so years ago now, Matt and I weren’t even married yet and we were living in Malden. I was working with the IT Department at a sizable healthcare facility. That’s about the only recollection I have of the time, and I have absolutely no clue how this thing took hold, but once it latched on the fucker decided to stick around for what felt like eternity.

The first one to show symptoms was me, at the time though I was not prone to sickness; if I caught a cold once every 5 years for a day it was rare. Generally speaking I’m usually just a healthy person. So when the sniffling started I didn’t really think too much of it. I’m pretty sure that was on a weekend because by Monday morning there weren’t enough tissues or bottles of NyQuil in the world. Matt and I were both full-on quarantine ridden and for the first time in our adult lives we both took a full week off of work.

Moving was difficult, painful, even flipping over on the sofa wiped us out. And by sofa I mean the loveseat that we both shared for about 9 days trapped under a throw blanket. We had just recently moved into the place and still mid-to-late-twenties-poor, we really hadn’t bothered to furnish it with anything of merit. You never think about how nice a wrap around, microfiber sectional would be until you’re lying head to foot on a six foot long, wool loveseat with your fiancée as you both hack up a lung. Good times.

During our nine day stint with the body wrenching madness we left the house a grand total of twice -- once to go clean out the medicine aisle of the Walgreens down the street and the second time to go buy a new movie because after that many hours of confinement we had run out of interesting stuff to watch. Truthfully though I think we both just needed the fifteen minutes out of the house.

Next door to the Walgreens was a Blockbuster so we started there. Well, hang on. I guess I should back up to say that we were looking for the movie “Practical Magic” on video. And no I’m not using the term ‘video’ like I would ‘album’ where I say I just picked up someone’s latest album but really it’s a download from iTunes, in this case we’re talking old ass, old school VHS tape for the VCR.

Like I said, it was eleven or so years ago. There were no iPods and DVD players were just emerging as the newest technology. Of course like all new technology that shit is expensive when it debuts.

Oh is it ever.

Blockbuster didn’t have the video we wanted. I knew there was a Suncoast Video at the Burlington Mall positioned right near the door. It was only a ten minute drive. We looked at each other and, riding on a wave of semi-awaken-ness, decided it was worth it just to feel like human beings for the first time in about five days.

We got to the mall and thankfully there was a spot right near the door. Walking in that particular door used to be my favorite to walk through because Mrs. Fields Cookies was in the middle of the hallway so all you could smell was warm, gooey, chocolate chip cookies. On that particular day all I could smell was the Gramma-esque tissue I had stuffed up my sleeve for safe keeping.

Suncoast was two doors in; we were on an in-and-out kind of mission so it was perfect. We were both already fading fast and still had to drive all the way back home, climb the two flights of stairs and get some big Q into our systems before all hell broke loose inside…like I said before, swirling tornadoes of fire and brimstone.

We went right up to the cashier and asked to buy the video. He looked it up and shook his head ‘Yeah I don’t have that one on VHS but I’ve got it on DVD, you want that?’

There was no thought going through my mind other than ‘need pillow now’. Matt had turned the color of marshmallow fluff and his movements were about as smooth as if he was also walking through the stuff. I could feel my entire body beginning to rotate like a top and I knew it was only a matter of minutes until I spun out and went careening across the floor in a twirling line skid.

Simultaneously, we both asked ‘How much is a DVD player?’

About two and a half minutes later we left Suncoast Video with a brand new movie, new DVD player and about $250 less dollars in our pocket. Hey, like I said, this was eleven years ago and new technology is never cheap. I mean don’t get me wrong, I’m sure we could have picked that thing up for a lot less at Service Merchandise or something but we weren’t exactly in the market to shop around.

All I know is somehow we made it home and survived the depths of feverish hell. I don’t think we even hooked up the thing until like 2 days later when we both had started to come back out of the woods. But once it was installed “Practical Magic” sure as hell didn’t let me down.

That player just died recently so this past bout with sickness left me movie free. Well, DVD free anyway. Without someone equally as sick to share the sofa with I would have been the sole responsible party to get up and change the DVD in the Xbox. Moving was not an option. In fact, being awake was generally not an option considering I only got one day of America’s Next Top Model.

Luckily I’m a master at the art of locating really bad free movies on cable. Woah.


i am ginger said...

I love Keanu Reeves and I love Constantine. Keanu hasn't said Whoa since Bill and Ted, by the way. He hates that he's associated with it...or so I saw in an interview years ago.

I remember the first time I bought a DVD palyer it was about as much, but the last one I bought was a whopping $60 and it's lasted me for feaking ever.

I'm so happy you're rejoining the living! I've been sick for the past week too, but I only missed one day of work because after last Friday my body was able to hang in there until this weekend when I promptly fell on my loveseat and vegged until Monday. Glad it wasn't the flu. Blech.

WV: mistee
I get mistee eyed thinking of Jenn on the couch running a fever instead of the world.

Suldog said...

Absolutely love the title. I wish I had thought of it. I don't have the foggiest notion what I would have written that it could go on, but I'd come up with something.

This was hilarious. Yes, I reveled in your pain. Sorry!

Almost Precious said...

Sorry to hear you've been sick with a strain of kamikaze flu but glad to hear you're feeling better, or at least enough to write a blog post.
Hey talk about old we used to have a Beta Max, you might be too young to even know what that is. :D Not sure if we still have it as we couldn't even give the thing away. Might have left it on a street corner hoping that some kind soul would take pity on it and take it home with them.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Jenn.
It always feels like forever when your sick!
Glad you are better. Hope the weather gets sunny for you too.

pastrywitch said...

Constantine's depiction of hell is just like being seriously ill- glad you're feeling better.
Thanks for the schadenfreude;)

Judi FitzPatrick said...

While reading your description of Hell, it reminded me of a very funny book I listened to on tape earlier this year - "Gods Behaving Badly" - I think you'd love it.
Glad you are back here in Heaven with the rest of us sharing your humorous adventures.
Love you, Mum

Rosebud Collection said...

I swear Jenn, this weather isn't helping anyone..Maybe the weeds in the grass..So sorry you were sick. It is awful to be down for the count..If you have a cough at night..rub the feet with Vicks and put on socks..It sound nuts..but it is amazing how it works..Just put this info in your notebook, if you don't need it now..and I hope you don't, it is worth remembering.
I am trying to be very positive..you know the old story..glass half full or half empty..getting harder by the day..
I miss sun and I know you miss sun..we wait all winter for beautiful weather, turn off the heat..What a joke..heat is still on and the sun is lost. It is May..and I am starting to panic..Oh well, will see what else I can eat..
Have a happy day and hope you feel like yourself now..it does take awhile..xoxoCarolyn