The Christmas of 2010 can officially go in my record book as my personal worst Christmas ever. My present for Christmas was a case of food poisoning that I can either blame on a couple of slices of pizza (eaten around 5PM) or a bowl of cereal with milk (eaten around 10:30PM) on December 23rd. All I know is that around 2AM on Christmas Eve I was in misery. I spent the night rushing to the restroom 2-3 times an hour with an alternating mix of powerful intestinal cramps, painful gas, nausea, and bloating. At first I thought it was a case of lactose intolerance.
I have been known to have the occasional bout of lactose intolerance when I've gone without dairy products for an extended period of time. I wrote my college senior honors thesis on lactose intolerance so I'm pretty familiar with it from a scholarly and personal level. In analyzing my own case, however, I quickly realized that what I was dealing with was no case of lactose intolerance. I was starting to run a fever with chills and convulsions. I knew that I was in for at least one full day of misery.
I managed to finally fall asleep around 6AM. My wife awoke at 7:30 and informed me that she needed to go to the store to get some final things for our Christmas Eve luncheon that was scheduled to start in 5.5 hours and be attended by 40 people. Yep, we had 40 people coming to our house in a matter of hours. Fortunately we had already done all the prep work in the days before so there wasn't much left but to be sociable.
I fell back asleep and awoke about 45 minutes later feeling worse than before. My wife and son were still gone to the store and probably wouldn't be back for another 45 minutes so I figured I could at least get a shower and get dressed.
As soon as I powered my way out of bed I knew something was wrong. I had broken out into a cold sweat. I walked around the bed heading to the master bathroom and I knew in an instant and with total certainty that I was going to faint. I've probably only fainted about 3 times in my life but I knew this was going to be the next one. Master Computer going into emergency standby mode, all subsystems adjust and comply. Standby in 3, 2, 1, ..............
Even as my brain dealt with the certainty of imminent loss of consciousness, I was not afraid but analytical of my circumstances. I knew that if I fainted where I stood there was a very high probability that I would strike my head on something sharp and immovable and my circumstances would be worsened to a great degree. I knew that I was too far from my phone to get to it before fainting. I knew that I did not want to faint onto the floor, carpeted though it may be, because an uncontrolled fall could easily prove quite painful. I knew I needed to get back to the bed with all haste. I willed myself to turn and took a couple of giant steps toward the bed. As soon as my leg hit the edge of the bed I knew I had enough inertia to carry me onto the bed. I was unconscious before I landed on the bed.
When my wife got home she roused me and took my temperature. My fever was 102.8. She got me some 800mg horsepills of ibuprofen and a half-gallon of ice water. I spent the rest of the day in bed, totally lethargic and still dealing with powerful cramping and bloating, and sweating like the only virgin at the annual virgin sacrifice. Our 40 guests filed in to give their greetings but I was unconscious of most of the time. I could only eat crackers and drink water for the next 2 days. The farthest I strayed from bed was to the restroom and back. I was out of the loop for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, thus making it my worst Christmas ever.