When a reformed control freak gets the flu…

Hi, My name is Erin, and I am a reformed control freak. I gave up my control freak ways about five years ago when I realized that it was giving me acne, stress chewing habits, and retail therapy addiction. So I gave up trying to control my family situation, my work life (even though I was a manager even then), and my quest for the perfect personal life. I also quit it because Saddam Hussein was a control freak not only did he not have too many friends… but being hanged seems like a pretty shitty way to go if you ask me.

And while I gave up most of my control freak ways, there is one area that I did not: and that is my personal health (because it is the one thing I can micro-manage and no one will hate me for it). Most people assume that I eat well, exercise, drink less booze (than I feel I am entitled to), and get adequate sleep because I want to look good. But truthfully, I know that if I maintain all those things in balance, I will not get sick. Because I HATE BEING SICK. Because my body does horrible things that I can’t control.

But of course, the holidays at work stressed me out… and I lost balance… and I got the flu. And therefore lost control of my body and its functions.

HELLO MENTAL BREAKDOWN.

So when I get sick… I am possibly the worst human being on the planet (although not intentionally). Because I think I am going to die. Not like in a hypochondriac type of way, but a… I have never been so miserable in my life type of way (except for every third year when I sick). Let me set the scene for you:

*It is Dec. 26th, the day after Christmas, which in the retail world is one of the days when I have to be 100% on my game. I have been getting sick since Christmas Eve… with a nasty cough, and a fever that started on Christmas Day. I already feel horrible because my family came all the way from California to see me and I spent all of Christmas day in bed… therefore making them sleep on the sofa and air mattress. And even though I have all the flu symptoms, I go to work anyway, because I am the captain of my store… and they probably need me! I can barely stand up, and am a delirious excuse for a human. Then I have to run to the bathroom and throw up in a public bathroom of a mall on the busiest day of the year. No one will come in to cover the end of my shift… so I have to call my second in command to come back in so I don’t throw up all over the store. Oh, and it is her birthday. So she has to work a double ON HER BIRTHDAY, the busiest shopping day of the year because today, I am the Captain of nothing… but my own vomit. I feel like the worst person ever (Val… I am still eternally grateful for what you did for me).

Ralph was going to go to the movies with my mom and sister, but instead, he drops them off at the movies and picks me up halfway through my shift. Although he probably doesn’t recognize the crying, shaking, feverish, weird smelling, achy, irrational, monster that gets in the car. But he knows me well, and just steers the car toward home. I make it about a block away from the mall before I start crying like a three year old who has just had their toy taken away from them.

So I spend most of my time crying/screaming on the car ride home because I feel like death. Keep in mind I am crying/wailing about my symptoms to a doctor, like he has never seen this before:

“I let my team down by not being there for them. I threw up in the public bathroom at the mall,  so I probably now have an STD on my face. And when I left the bathroom stall everyone looked at me like I was bulimic. I just threw up everywhere and for some reason I felt compelled to tell the ten people standing at the row of bathroom sinks that I have the flu so they don’t think I have bulimia! What is wrong with me!!!!”

Ralph remains quiet, knowing that the irrational beast is not done yelling:

“I feel like I have been drowning in my own phlegm at night, and I haven’t been able to breathe out of my nose for like a week!”

Of course, in all my selfishness, I don’t realize that I am screaming this at someone who has a deviated septum and hasn’t been able to breathe out of his nose for approximately 20 years. Also, I won’t go into the mechanics of making out with someone who can only take three breaths through their nose before they go into oxygen debt… but it is kind of like making out with someone who is drowning…. except you are the water.

“And I feel awful because Val has to work 12 hours on her birthday. And now you don’t get to see Les Miserables with my mom and sister (he of course… would rather take my sickness over seeing what is arguably one of the most depressing musicals EVER with my mom and sister crying). His night was doomed from the start… crying involved with either choice.

So we get home, and take my temperature to find it has risen to 102 degrees, and of course I am freezing because of the chills and insist on taking a boiling bath. So Ralph perches himself on the toilet seat next to the tub and chats with the angry monster that is still whining while in the tub. And then one of the grossest things in my life happened.

While Ralph and I are chatting, I suddenly have a coughing fit… and I know that I am going to hurl again. So I tell Ralph to move… but he insists upon an exit line and says… “Oh, well I guess I shall vacate the premises”… which was the two seconds I needed to get out of the tub and over to the toilet… and because of his need for humor in a shit situation… I didn’t make it.

So I puked… in the bathtub… while I was sitting in it. So gross. Also, vomiting naked is a strange event. I don’t think that I have ever done that before.

I immediately got out and finished the job where I supposed to. In the toilet. Cleaned the tub. And took a shower.

And Ralph saw it all.

Let’s just take a moment to observe the grossness/hilarity that occurred. Ok… that’s enough time.

Many important things were learned from this whole ordeal:

*Sickness sucks, but it isn’t always my fault.

*Bargaining with God to not throw up doesn’t work. It will happen at the least convenient time possible. You might be naked and in the bath. I think I prefer throwing up in an alley.

*If you get the flu, don’t go to work. It will go down in history as the year Erin threw up all over Val’s birthday.

*An exit line is not necessary when someone with the flu tells you to move out of the way. Just fucking move. The faster the better. For your sake.

*Dealing with vomit always makes me think about holding off on having children. Because children throw up all the time (I read all the Facebook posts from my friends who are moms), not every three years like me.

*No matter how old I get… I will be a pain in the ass when I am sick.

*Thank God doctors are desensitized to vomit. Or thank you Ralph for loving me enough to get over it… but still tease me about it.

And after two weeks, I finally think I am 100% better. I can run again, manage to function off less than ten hours of sleep, and have regained my desire to eat. And the real lesson I learned this year is this:

Get the damn flu shot.