Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Unplanned Four-Day Weekend

Hey gang--yes, I'm still alive, although I haven't posted in a couple of days. But there was a reason for that. I was sicker than you-know-what. Bad enough that I actually called the doctor's office to set up an appointment in addition to getting online and trying to self-diagnose.

It seems I had a bad case of unintended bulimia. Basically, the problem was that I couldn't swallow anything--I hadn't eaten for a couple of days, and even water made me gag. It was so bad that after almost 48 hours of not getting any liquid in my system, I was getting bad headaches. And I tried to force liquid down--water, Coca Cola, coffee, more water, iced tea, and as soon as I did, I immediately gagged and puked it all back out. This went on for a day-and-a-half straight, but I didn't notice anything was wrong until Sunday afternoon, just because I wasn't hungry or thirsty all day. I felt miserable, and was honestly scared a bit that there was something *really* wrong with me.

But it really manifested itself badly on Sunday night at work. I got there a bit early, and sat down to have dinner--my first food of the day. One bite of Mongolian beef and fried rice and I thought I would choke to death. I got up, ran outside, yakked in a garbage can, and proceeded to get the most painful hiccups I ever had. I tried to force down some more water, but that didn't work at all. All too soon, I had to get out to the table and deal Pai Gow, but after about 15 minutes, I had to call the floor person over to watch my game, while I did that same run to the garbage can. I came back like it was no big deal, but then ten minutes later, it happened again, only worse. Of course by then I'd already dirtied two shirts, and the floor person had to jump in my game twice. So they sent me packing.

I got home, feeling like absolute dogshiat, and spent the entire night trying to sip water or coke, but puking more often than Nichole Ritchie on Thanksgiving weekend. I got no sleep whatsoever, and was up all night, trying to force water down my throat. It would stay for maybe thirty seconds, than come back up with a vengeance.

I've done my share of self-abuse puking in the past when I've drank too much. But doing the technicolor yawn when there's nothing but still-cold ice water coming back up was a totally new experience for me.

I even tried to eat a spoonful of ice cream, thinking that might soothe whatever was bothering me, because it felt like there was something stuck in my throat, about halfway down at the base of my neck. It also felt like if I could just have a nice healthy belch, all would be well. But nothing worked. Every half-hour or so I'd get a mouthful of spit, my body 'greasing the skids' for the inevitable visit to the bathroom, where I'd spend a couple of minutes dry heaving. I was feeling pretty bad, so I called in sick to work for last night, and the guys in the pit told me they were waiting for my call, as word had gotten around that I looked pretty bad when I left the night before.

Anyhow, I was getting genuinely worried that something was very wrong, so late yesterday afternoon, I got online to look up the doctor's info and call my insurance company, letting them know that after two years of paying premiums, I was about to become a customer, and wanted to make sure I was covered. About that time Angy called me--I haven't talked to her in over a week and we had some catching up to do.

Of course, after about ten minutes of conversation, I had to run to the can, set the phone down on the sink, and yak once again. She thanked me for sharing that special moment with her and let me go while she popped into a store to run an errand.

But wait--this time, it wasn't just the dry heaves. A little tiny hunk o' steak came out, and with it my throat suddenly felt like it'd been hit with a gallon of Drano--no more gagging, no more painful hiccups, no more being unable to swallow. Apparently, I had been half-choking on a little tiny piece of steak from the nachos I shared with my gal Anna on Saturday morning around 3:00 am.

Just to make sure all was well, I went to the kitchen and gulped down two huge glasses of water. Not only did it go straight down with no ill effects, but I immediately felt 100% better. I drank a third, just to make sure I was good and re-hydrated, and then I fixed myself a tall glass of Coke on ice (no booze just yet). I called Angy back to tell her the good news, and we ended up talking for another half hour or so. She even said I didn't sound nearly as sick as I did earlier when she first called. And in all reality, I felt fine--100% better.

And to think, I was just choking on a piece of meat for almost 48 hours. Good lord, what a nightmare. And then when I thought about it, I realized, a few weeks ago when I got sick that night at work and they sent me home, I had just eaten a steak in the employee dining room. And back in January when I got sick in the restaurant at Main Street Station, thinking it was the water making me gag, I was eating a steak at that time too.

Apparently, I cannot eat steak unless is cut into tiny little pieces and chewed forever. But I've eaten steaks dozens of times in the past several months, so it doesn't happen every time, but it's the one common denominator that these three incidents shared.

So I didn't go to work, and it's like my weekend got a head-start. I mean, I left after only an hour on Sunday night, and now I don't have to be back until Thursday night at seven. Of course, Monday was completely wasted, but on the plus side, now I don't need to go to the doctor today.

Rob invited me to join him and his old roommate for a trip back over to Nevada Palace for a night of dollar craps, but I had to decline the offer. I didn't want to be too far from home just in case there was something really wrong and I started feeling sick again. Although, if I'm going to puke in a casino, it might as well be Nevada Palace. It's not like anyone there would notice... I also didn't want to be out and about and take a chance on somebody I know seeing me when I'd called in sick. Las Vegas is definitely a small down, especially in the casino biz, and I didn't want to take the chance on having to explain anything to the bosses. As far as they're concerned, I'm lying alone with my head in a garbage can, thinking of you till it hurts...

But I'm feeling a thousand percent better. Hell, I even had steak a couple of leftover chili-dogs for dinner. I figured that if I was going to puke, I might as well make it count. But I'm fine now. No hiccups, throat is clear, and I've been able to drink whatever the hell I want.

I'm back, baby!


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