Words, Words, Words

December 15, 1999

I've had a rotten cold for eight days now, which is why I've been a lazy lump. (Of course, all you knew was that I haven't been updating, but trust me, I've been much lazier than that.) It actually hasn't been that serious a cold, except for one troubling symptom: I can't talk without gasping and wheezing. [On the first day I couldn't even walk to the front desk without running out of breath, but since then exercise hasn't bothered me, although I haven't tested that much since (as stated previously) I've been being a lazy lump.]

I finally consulted a doctor today, since it hasn't show much sign of abating. He did the stethoscope thing to see if my lungs were clear, did a chest X-ray to be sure, and gave me some antibiotics for bronchitis. So it doesn't seem to be anything too serious. (I was kind of looking forward to finding out I had something really ghastly, like TB. I could be the first person in my family to have his own number at the Center for Disease Control, I could say I had an Orwellian sickness, and I could spend the next six months telling people, "Oh, excuse me, I have to take my tuberculosis meds." But I might have had the drug-resistant kind, which would be a real drag, and then when I thought about it I couldn't come up with anyone I might have caught it from. Disgusting disease-ridden homeless people really aren't as common in D.C. as suburbanites would have you think.)

Since I'm tired of talking about dreary medical topics, I thought I'd bring up my all-time weirdest symptom: invisible vomit. A few years ago, before I learned to control it, I would get indigestion about once every month or two and get up in the middle of the night to throw up. Only for the first thirty seconds or so, I'd puke nothing but gas. It was real vomiting, mind you--I'd actually be bringing up gas from my stomach, which smelled faintly of vomit-stuff. But all an outside observer would have seen was me standing bent over the toilet, violently throwing up nothing. (After a little bit this would irritate my stomach enough that anything else in there would come up; then an hour or two later I'd throw up again; then I wouldn't be able to eat much until the next evening, when I started to feel like myself again.)

By the way, the three tricks I learned to control this are:

  1. Not lying down. If I feel the least bit queasy, I sit up until I feel better, no matter how tired I am.
  2. Gas pills. They really help.
  3. Belching. For some reason, I didn't use to be able to do this. But lately I've developed a real knack.

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