Angina Monologues: Thoughts You Think when You’re Sick

Angina Monologues: Thoughts You Think when You’re Sick

My journey through the valley of the shadow of death started when I was woken up at an ungodly early hour one morning by a sore throat. I thought little of it and swayed sleepily to treat myself to Halls cough drops. I slept some more and woke up at a more tolerable hour late in the morning to find out that my throat was so swollen that I couldn’t swallow. This alarmed me to a sufficient degree to make me want to drink tea. For your info, I sustain on coffee and never drink tea unless I think I’m dying. Disdainfully, I made myself some disgusting tea with lemon, enhanced with a shot of slivovitz. That’s how we treat health issues here in Moravian rural areas: a shot of slivovitz when you rise will make you healthy, wealthy and wise.

The tea however didn’t help and neither did a whole package of extra strong Halls that I consumed throughout the day. It was the only nourishment I could afford because my trouble swallowing got so bad that I couldn’t even drink, not to mention eating. In the evening I discovered that I physically couldn’t speak when I was trying to talk to hubby as he returned from work. I suspect hubby was secretly very much enjoying our quiet home. Exasperated, I literally poured down my throat another shot of slivovitz for medical purposes and went to bed. Because a shot of slivovitz never hurts anyone, and a folk saying has it that you must drink them in twos, one for each leg.

I woke up in the middle of the night with a bunch of new symptoms. Unlike House, M.D., I don’t think that new is good and I wasn’t impressed. I stumbled out of the bed to ransack our medical supplies, searching all-in-one cure for a sore throat, a bad cold, a pulsating headache and apparent fever.  I found Paracetamol tablets and administered one. I also retrieved some distasteful sore throat syrup and took a dose. Next I discovered a pregnancy test that I didn’t know I had but judged that my symptoms weren’t typical for pregnancy and didn’t take the test. Back in the bedroom, I opened the window wide and lay on top of my blanket, clutching a handful of Kleenex, cracking and rattling as I was trying to breathe and swallow and in general stay alive.

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My death throes woke hubby up. He stuck a light in my face and observed that I was pale as a vampire that hadn’t eaten for a while. This reminded me that I hadn’t eaten for a while. Now, hubby is awfully bad at handling serious moments, such as deathbeds and funerals. He copes with compulsive fits of inappropriate hysterical laughter. Rightly evaluating my condition as a near-death experience, he of course got one of his laughing seizures. I attempted in vain to kick him someplace where it’d hurt but I was too miserable to achieve such a feat. I hissed at him, because I couldn’t speak, that he’d better get the hell out of there and get me some tea, aka medicine of the strongest calibre. I may or may have not also discreetly reminded him of his wedding vows along the lines “in health and sickness”.

Laughing hard, presumably at the prospect of becoming a merry widower, hubby left. I went on lying motionless like a dead on the slab, sweating profusely in a room temperature at which I’d normally be freezing, and drooling helplessly as attempting to swallow proved too much pain to go through. Hubby reappeared with home-made herbal tea out of mint and sweet balm, sweetened with honey. I drank two mugs in row, cursing silently my poor luck and poorer health. Hubby attempted to cover me with my blanket – either that or to put me out of my suffering by gently smothering me – but I hissed him away, hand signing that I was hot like never before. Not hot like hot but hot like feverish.

I woke up still feeling hot and being very unhot. Drunkenly, I crawled in the kitchen to help myself to more tea that hubby made in a large pot. He made me a chicken soup too. I ate as much as I could without swallowing. Hubby also left me a note saying that he’d be coming from work early to attend to me. Provided that I’m live enough to require anything. Otherwise probably to get rid of my body before it starts smelling badly in this hot weather. Moving as a walking dead, I went to sprawl myself in my chair and spent half the day watching films, popping pills and drinking immoderate amounts of tea in hope it’ll save me. It didn’t. After a film finishing in double suicide, I grew sicker than before, crawled on all the four to the bedroom, with much effort climbed in the bed and awaited my inevitable end. I composed a horribly lame poem while at it:

So sick

I think

I’ll never be well

again

but dead.

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The next few days are in a haze. It appears that I was sleeping through several consecutive days and nights, waking up only occasionally to drink tea, eat soup and take meds. I could only guess what time of day it was by checking if hubby was wearing his work clothes, his leisure clothes or his pyjamas. I wonder what he was putting in the tea that made me sleep so much. Was it yet season for poppy seeds? I was listening if my cats weren’t meowing hungrily outside because I don’t trust anyone to care for them as well as me, the grumpy crazy cat lady. I wished so much that hubby brought me my cuddly fur ball to bed, but he can’t stand pets at home and he’d surely want to burn the bed afterwards by the way of disinfecting it, with me, the cat and all.

While I was largely knocked out of my senses, sometimes I woke for a while feeling well enough to indulge in obsessive mail checking on my phone. Each check showed dozens new mails. Some were students asking for consultations. Some were spam mails by my family, who for god’s sake wouldn’t listen that I wanted no forwarded funny videos. Not even when there’re cats in them. It’s not hostility, it’s work productivity, y’all. Interspersed throughout all these were comments from my blog. Busy as I was dying, I quite forgot I had a blog. There was an email by a colleague asking for a bibliography check and another email by a senior colleague asking for proofs. I responded the latter, typing the best I could do on the phone:

Dear Professor Tusk,

with ever so deep and genuine regret, I must inform you that I’m currently out of working order owing to a particularly nasty kind of angina. Please send no more pestilence my way. I will let you know the first thing when I’m healthy enough to sit straight at a computer and proofread better than a poorly trained chimpanzee.

P.S.: I beg you, Roman, don’t find yourself a younger and fitter undergraduate for the job. Swear that you won’t. Please?

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I had nightmares of Prof Tusk issuing orders to seal me off in an underground street and leave me to die there, like they did with pestilent people in medieval Edinburgh. Even worse, I had nightmares that there was a deadline for me submitting a major paper to be considered for publication abroad one of these days. The latter nightmare turned out to be fact. As if it wasn’t bad enough what I saw when I got better five days from the onset of the killer disease and ventured to leave the bedroom. Of course, there were five days’ worth dirty dishes covering all horizontal surfaces in the kitchen. Bits of dry herbs were on floors all over the place, as evidence that hubby was actually bringing them for the tea fresh from the garden.  My office corner disappeared under a heap of hubby’s things. He clearly assumed that I wouldn’t live to use it again.

I informed hubby that though he might pull off being a nurse, he’s a pathetic failure as house-husband. I assured him that I hated him and that as soon as I regain strength, I plan to jump on him as I do and beat into his chest with my tiny clenched fists. Hubby calmly replied that he knew. He surely would, it’s our routine. Day five I spent dragging myself around the house and cleaning up the accumulated mess. The angina was nearly gone, though I tended to get coughing fits after too much physical strain. I was wondering if I was incurring a follow-up tuberculosis or what. On day six, too late to hand in my paper within the deadline anyway, I thought I’d blog about my otherworldly experience. And that’s it. The poor academic and good blogger that I am. Anyway, I’m glad to be alive.

49 thoughts on “Angina Monologues: Thoughts You Think when You’re Sick

        1. You do? Then it’s good on you! I’d love to love tea, it often smells pleasantly, but the taste is something I can’t bear 😦 Though I’ve tried many different kinds and flavours. I’m a pure and true coffee addict 🙂

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          1. That’s how I am with coffee! Love the smell, hate the taste. Unless, of course, I’ve added a ridiculous amount of chocolate and cream and sugar. But at that point, it’s not really coffee anymore, is it? 😀

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          2. Yeah – add enough chocolate syrup to a mug of coffee (or hot chocolate mix if there’s no chocolate syrup handy) and it’s wonderful. I don’t know how it would be with tea, but then again, I’m not sure I want to try chocolate wine, either.

            Now I want chocolate. 😀

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          3. Oh, a chocolate syrup, I see! It never occurred to me to put this in coffee — but I take it black, so I guess I wouldn’t like it too much. I do love chocolate though and I eat huge amounts of it — so let’s go eat chocolate 😉 !

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          4. If there is, I’ve never seen it. Dove makes a great milk chocolate, though, and for straight chocolate, it’s probably my favorite (right next to Lindor milk chocolate truffles). I tried Nutella once, and I’m still not sure what I think of it. Guess that means I need to try it again… 😀

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          5. I did some chocolate research and I’m starting to suspect that your Dove is very much like my Milka. Here Dove is the name of cosmetics only, and Lindor doesn’t strike a familiar note either 😦 However, the chocolate research made me want to eat lots of chocolate. Lots of it… Nutella is thought too sweet by many, but considering that you take your coffee with chocolate, I’d have thought you’d like it 😉

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          6. Lindt, perhaps? I’m always confused on which is the correct name for those truffles.

            And I think you’re right about Dove – I know it’s similar to Dairy Milk. Mmm, chocolate… 😀

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          7. Oh yes, Lindt, this I know! It’s rather luxury chocolate here. I think we must stop talking about chocolate now — I know I brought it up but now I must go get a piece any time you mention it! 🙂

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          8. I’ve indulged in quite a bit of it this week, too. It didn’t help that I got home from work Wednesday night and found fresh chocolate chip cookies waiting for me. 🙂

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          9. It was a team effort! Seymour had the day off work Wednesday, so he and Miss Tadpole whipped them up. He’d been eager to try out a couple of new cookie recipes he’d stumbled across, and the one they tried came out really well. 🙂

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          10. They are pretty awesome. Today they’ve kept me hopping all around my kitchen – we fixed sweet corn, fried potatoes, and hamburgers for dinner, followed by strawberry rhubarb pie (from scratch, because I didn’t have a pre-made pie crust), brownies (from a box, because we didn’t have enough flour), and Rice Krispie bars. I love having a kitchen full of goodies, but the problem is that I have no willpower! 😀

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          11. Mm, it’s mouth-watering! Our dinner today was chicken and rice and my favourite Milka chocolate 🙂 Also, willpower, what is that? I’m sure I don’t have it! 😉

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  1. So glad you are feeling better. I have so been there and so has my husband. Except when he is sick..well..what is about men and being babies when they are sick. Great story!!

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    1. Yep, I guess we all have a similar experience of being sick. Don’t even start on sick husbands, it’s the most awful thing that can happen to a woman! Mine is so unbearable when he’s unwell. He probably expects me to cuddle up with him and die out of solidarity…

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  2. Glad to hear you are on the mend. So funny though – great post (sorry, hope you meant to be drole!! You made me chuckle as inter marital relations like this are very familiar to me!) I’m intrigued by silvo what-sit – is it booze?

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    1. I’m glad that my suffering made you chuckle 😉 In retrospect, I must have looked hilarious and I begin to understand why hubby wouldn’t look at me but with mad laughter. But wait, is my marriage normal? I thought we were both acting comparatively weird!

      Slivovitz is an excellent plum brandy, home-produced where I live. Highly recommend! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slivovitz

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  3. You make dying from the flu sound hilarious. I can envisage all that you went through. I hope you are feeling much better now. How lucky to have a good husband to minister to your every need :). You may have been sick but your imagination was rife… thanks for a great read, sorry you had to go through all that for the sake of a story!

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    1. Thanks a lot for reading and approving 🙂 Well, I thought that when I had to be sick like this, the least I could do was to try turn it into a funny post. I’m delighted that I survived my ordeal, seriously I felt like I’d never recover again. Hubby’s constant mirth over my situation wasn’t helping either! He was a great nurse for sure, but I admit that I was optimistically expecting that he’d as least do the dishes too… Men…

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  4. I’m glad you’re feeling better. It reminded me of the time I woke up gagging. My throat was so infected that I felt I was choking on my Uvula. I remember going to the doctor’s. He didn’t seem too alarmed that my Uvula was practically sitting on my tongue and constantly choking me. I was on the brink of death, and his apparent apathy was just plain rude! Perhaps House M.D. might have had a better opinion 😉

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    1. Doctors! I didn’t even go to see one this time. I’ve had similar experience — they tend to look like I’m bothering them and inventing diseases. I wouldn’t have House M.D. either though, he’d probably diagnose me with a terminal disease 😉

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  5. You’ve gone through quite a few things with this illness.
    When I’m ill – which is quite rare – I am like a dead guy who only feels sleepy,weak and occasionally hungry!
    And in the fourth paragraph,did you mean vows instead of wows? Just asking.. 😉

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    1. Ha! Of course, vows instead of wows. I should’ve known better and you’re a better editor than me 🙂

      I can vividly imagine you like dead when you’re ill — that must be the organism’s defence mechanism… Hope you’re not ill too often!

      Here’s to health! 🍸

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  6. Crickey oh my you don’t write and then you write a novel on being sick it must have been bad! Was this recent? I hope your fully better now. You did make me laugh. But now I feel sick!!! 😀

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    1. Hehe, yes, it’s true, I’m starting to write plotless novels! Today it’s exactly a week and a day since I started to be sick like that — but now I’m practically healthy again, but for some cough. That’s fine though. I hope your reading my sick post didn’t make you sick too much!!

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  7. The title itself was so eye-catching and funny! Very fun read, but I got really worried about your health as I was reading through. I just kept thinking, “Ok, now she’s gonna go to the doctor.” And I read some of the other comments too, and am very glad to know you’re all ok now.

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    1. The title is of course a nerdy allusion to Vagina Monologues :-p You’re so sweet to be worried about my health! Well, this will sound odd, but I was too sick to see a doctor. You see, I live in a village, the doc is in the town, I’d have to go there by train and I really didn’t feel like it. Much to my delight, I’m now completely well again, yay 😀

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