Tag Archive for sick

Great American Fake

I don’t think I’ll ever eat at Great American Steak again.

We went to the mall looking for a smoothie joint, couldn’t find one, then decided we were hungry for a regular meal after all. One would think sandwiches would be just fine.

One would be wrong.

I last ate at one of these when they were still called Great Steak & Potato. I guess it was too expensive to keep real potatoes around? They have the same sandwiches but ditched the baked potatoes, and now have frozen crinkle-cut fries instead of the fresh-cut fries and peanut oil fryer. Lame. Also, the “All Natural Lemonade?” Not so much. I expected a lemon shakeup but got some concentrate bullshit no better than soda.

My son wanted to eat at the Famous Wok across the court. I told him that’s crap Chinese, not near as good as some of the places we go to. Too much MSG. Thirty seconds later, I watched the guy at Great American Steak sprinkle something on our sandwiches. I’m betting MSG, because while the Wife didn’t get violently ill, she could only stomach half her sandwich. The Rugrats opted for the chicken fingers and were just fine.

And now I’m reminded of why I don’t eat in the mall food courts anymore.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Deck the Halls with Streams of Vomit

Our house looks something like this today:

I don’t know what this bug is, but it’s taking us down one family member at a time. I thought I was going to dodge the bullet until 3:30am last night when I woke up and launched last night’s home-made sliders into the crapper at about 90 miles per hour.

From both ends.

I would have thought last night’s purges left me empty, but when I got out of bed my stomach managed to conjure up something out of somewhere and promptly got rid of it. I think it may have been my spleen. Ah well, at least I can live without it.

I’m not sure how much more this holiday can suck: more snow is following the Icy Doom and Great Arctic Death, the whole family is sick, and the dog died. All that’s left now is for Santa to show up, kick me square in the nuts, fuck my wife, and sic the Krampus on my kids.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to spin up my favorite Christmas carol, Bad Religion’s “Fuck Christmas”.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

My Brain, It Oozes

I sent the Wife to the pharmacy for a sinus rinse last week. They didn’t stock anything like a neti pot, so she came home with a squeeze bottle kit instead. I also got to thinking this guy has the right idea; I don’t have coffee, but there’s a bottle of Jack sitting in the kitchen.

The squeeze bottle says to squeeze gently. Unfortunately, “gently” is a relative term, especially when you’re a big, clumsy, ham-fisted oaf like me. Minutes after an accidental attempt to blow my brains straight out the back of my head, the Wife looked at my eye and asked if I was getting pinkeye again.

“Nope,” said I. “I just blew the snot out through my eyes.”

That went on for some time. There’s nothing like having to clean snot off your contacts before you put them away for the night. I’ve been squeezing more gently since.

* * *

Two days later, my head was still plugged up. The over-the-counter Claritin the doc told me to take wasn’t doing the job, and now I was blowing blood-laced snot all night. I showed the Wife what I feared were chunks of brain.

“Time to try a new sinus rinse,” I said. “Something along the line of 9mm.”

“Do you have a 9mm?” she asked.

“Yep. Sure do.” I told her which one.

“I thought that was bigger?”

“Nope. A .45 would be better, but 9mm will work in a pinch.”

“Oh. Have at it, then.”

Ah, spousal support.

* * *

I felt a bit better Friday and thought maybe I was through the worst of it. Unfortunately, that night I was right back to being sick again. Saturday morning I went to a quick care clinic (my own doc doesn’t have Saturday office hours) and they confirmed I had sinusitis, aka a sinus infection. The nurse handed me a sheet telling me all about the care and feeding of my brand new infection, and she circled one item in particular: rinse or irrigate your nasal passages frequently to clear the sinuses.

I laughed and asked her if 9mm would work.

“Don’t you think that might be a bit… permanent, Mr. Oliveri?”

At least this gunk would be out of my head.

* * *

I went to karate after the quick care visit. It’s review this week, and I want my next stripe, so I planned to at least sit and watch and let the Midget get on the mat for his review. I felt excited about being there, though, and my head had cleared some while driving, so I thought I’d make a go of it.

I put on my gi, and for a minute I felt like Superman putting on his cape. Tying on that belt after a full week of nothing but sick laziness felt like connecting to a live wire. I was so ready for this!

Then we did 20 slow push-ups (hold for a moment at the top and bottom) during warm-up. If the gi made me Superman, the mat became my kryptonite and it took all my strength to not just go flat and take a nap.

At least I remembered my kata and was able to review my self defenses. My nose didn’t run, but I sweated as if I’d just run a marathon.

I made it home before collapsing. I napped on and off, and episodes 5-7 of Deadwood made it all better.

* * *

Today I’m finally starting to feel better. I got a good night’s sleep last night, with no coughing fits or facefuls of snot to wake me up. The antibiotics appear to be doing their job, and I’ve got more of my energy back. There’s still some bloody goop in the snot, but the vice around my eyes is gone and it’s the first time in a week I woke up with a normal temperature.

It’s about freakin’ time, because I’ve got way too much to do.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

The Pros and Cons of Illness

Between flu, pneumonia, and now some kind of killer, sinus-assaulting virus, this winter has just plain sucked for me. It all started with a fever on Saturday, progressed to sinus headaches, and now is a combination of both, complete with the occasional fat blob of ugly, brown-green snot streaked with red. This has given me plenty of time to weigh the pros and cons of being sick.

Pro: Another day off work.

Con: Too frickin’ worn out or lightheaded to get any work done at home, either.

Sadly, the latter includes writing. The fever just kills my concentration, so my planned three days of writing became three days of vegging out in front of the tube. Which brings us to the next set:

Pro: I’ve been able to eliminate a lot of old programs from the DVR

Con: Boredom.

Yes, I cried like a baby at the fade-out to the Rescue Me season finale, and I’m glad to have finally burned through the second half of Damages. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was better than I expected, and The Brothers Grimm was worse than I expected. There’s only so much TV I can watch in a stretch, though, and I far exceeded that limit and got bored. Boredom in creative types leads to:

Pro: Learning about things like nasal irrigation.

Con: Actually trying things like nasal irrigation.

Oh yes. I tried it. The Wife was thrilled to see me using her fine China creamer to do it, too. This created its own subset of pro and con, so I’ll indent them:

Pro: It actually works.

Con: Salt water across a nose you’ve rubbed raw over the weekend burns.

I’m thinking less salt next time. Or maybe something besides coarse kosher salt… But hey, it did work. Flushed loose all kinds of nasties. Gross.

Pro: Being home for the arrival of the iMac.

Con: Being too damn fuzz-brained to set it up.

Yeah, the iMac’s here. Big, sleek, white box. Unfortunately I never had the time to set up the office for it, and I’m still too worn out to do anything about it tonight. Heck, I can hardly stay focused on this simple blog post.

In the end, the cons have it.

I hate being sick.

My nose smells salty.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Wheezy No More

Feeling much better now. Karate class went well yesterday, and at the moment I’m taking a break from a last-ditch workout in hopes of hitting this month’s weight goal tomorrow morning. The burn and wheeze is gone from my chest, and while I’m feeling a bit winded after the first half hour tonight, I’m not sure I’m any more winded than usual.

Now that I’ve gotten over my pneumonia, I found out my aunt has developed it. She’s not in the best of health as is, so they’ve got her hooked up to oxygen in an intensive care unit. We’re told she’s responding to treatment, but it’s a strong demonstration of the difference good health in general can make when an illness hits. I feel fortunate that I’ve managed to get off my ass and do something about my own health this year.

Tomorrow’s a big and busy day. Time to finish this workout and then get some rest.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

They Call Me Wheezy

The worst of my pneumonia passed in time for the holidays, but I’m still feeling its effects in my lungs.

I’m going to have to ask the doc why. The megadose of antibiotics made short work of the fever, and I’m on a ten-day course of the stuff (last pill tomorrow). The bacteria should be good and dead by now, so I can’t imagine my lungs are still filling up with muck.

For that matter, I thought I’d be coughing up a lot of muck but it hasn’t happened. Twice I got a little strand of something reminiscent of lo mein noodle, but no great blobs of red or pink goo one might otherwise associate with a lung problem.

Instead I’ve got some kind of bronchial irritation. Maybe it’s due to the coughing last week, maybe not. Maybe a bunch of the alveoli in my lungs croaked from the bacteria and/or flood of mucus. All I know for sure is I cough if I take too deep a breath and I get winded fairly easily.

And that’s not exactly conducive to a karate workout.

I returned to class on Saturday. We worked some wazas, specifically on a speed form. Do enough of them and you get a good cardio workout. Or, in my case, you start hacking and wheezing between drills. I kept up, but one of my classmates thought I was going to pass out. My technique was a mess, too. One week between classes and I felt like a rookie again. My body remembered, but I kept overthinking things and ran into trouble.

Tonight was only marginally better. I ran my katas last night and that still wore me out. I felt a lot better about my techniques, though, and that continued to tonight. Unfortunately I still got good and tired running wazas again, and I had to resist the urge to beg off the mat for a drink of water. My three sparring matches went a little better, if only because my opponents and I score points quick and never go the full two minutes.

The long and the short of it is pneumonia sucks. If you’re at all active, stay away from buffet lines and salad bars this winter. And if you’re sick, stay the hell home!

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Rockin' Pneumonia

Until this week, I thought only old guys got pneumonia. They go to the hospital, get cut on a bit, then develop pneumonia while their frail, whithered bodies are trying to recover.

Then I got it myself at the buffet line.

I was supposed to eat at a steakhouse Saturday night, so I opted for a lunch of soup, salad and fish off the buffet at a restaurant not far from here. In trying to make a healthy choice, I ran afoul of some miserable bastard who not only couldn’t be bothered to keep his sick ass home, he had to go to a restaurant and put his germ-ridden hands all over someone else’s food.

“But Mike,” you might be thinking, “maybe they didn’t know they had it.”

Trust me, you know you’re sick when this gets a grip on you. The aches and chills started Monday morning, and by Monday night the thermometer hit 101.9 degrees (that’s Fahrenheit, of course) but I was so cold my teeth were chattering out the Morse code version of the short story I should have been working on.

Tuesday morning brought on 102.9 and I felt like I hadn’t had anything to drink for a week. I got out of bed and swore the Wife left a window open, so I threw a sweatshirt on over my t-shirt and crawled to the computer. Ten minutes later I ran shivering to bed and piled another blanket on top of the sheet, blanket, and comforter already there.

Like I said, you know you’re frickin’ sick, and if you have half a brain in your head you know you don’t go out and about when this stuff gets its hands on you, much less go around touching food someone else is going to eat. If there is any justice at all on this miserable planet, the guy who carried it to the restaurant coughed up a lung, choked on it, and died.

When I hit 103.6 I realized it probably wasn’t a good choice to catch up on the last five issues of Fall of Cthulhu. Talk about strange fever dreams…

That night? Diarrhea. Yeah. It really weirded me out, too, until I realized the greenish hue probably came from the knock-off NyQuil I’d been sucking down like maple syrup. I thought if I mixed in some cherry cough syrup I could at least be festively sick, but the Wife disagreed. She also refused to assist in any way, shape or form with my mad experiments and stashed away all the kids’ cough medicines.

I threw in the towel on Wednesday and went to the doctor. The local guy’s name is Dr. Stoecker, and I thought maybe it was a good omen that it’s pronounced “Stoker.” I filled out a half-inch thick stack of paperwork, then waited. And waited some more. Then I was escorted to a room where the nurse took my vitals and asked to wait for the doctor. So I waited.

And waited some more.

While I was waiting I got a phone call. This particular individual’s assigned ringtone is the bagpipe portion of “Amazing Grace” as played by the Dropkick Murphys. I honestly thought I was at my own funeral for the first ten seconds, and a minute later I was still giggling like an idiot when the doctor walked in. This is what I get for deciding it would be a good idea to hold off on the ibuprofen so the doctor could get an accurate picture of my symptoms. In a more lucid moment later that day, I realized this is like refusing a tourniquet for a severed arm so the doctor can find the arteries.

Dumbass.

The doc prescribed some heavy-duty prescription cough syrup and set me up for some chest x-rays. I was rather disappointed to discover the cough syrup was clear. Later, during the x-rays, I refrained from making Bruce Banner jokes. The nurse wrangling the nuclear isotopes was rather hot, see, so I thought of two things:

  1. Any nerdy comic book references from a chubby dude sweating steadily and radiating his excessive fever heat to a distance of five feet will probably have come off as significantly less than clever.
  2. Hot young nurses aren’t within the comic book demographic, so the joke would have been lost on her and will probably have come off as significantly less than clever.

Lose-lose situations mean keep your mouth shut. While I’m sure it would have been a great story to tell had I ripped off my shirt and screamed “Hulk smash!” in the middle of the radiology department, I’m sure mace would not have contributed in any positive way to my pneumonia.

That night I looked at the side effects for my two new drugs. In the left hand, diarrhea. In the right, constipation. Safe! Then I read a later section in the pamphlet that came with the antibiotic, a section labeled PRECAUTIONS:

General: Quinolones may cause central nervous system (CNS) events, including: nervousness, agitation, insomnia, anxiety, nightmares, or paranoia.

And I have seven more doses to go.

This Christmas is going to rock!

I’ll give the antibiotic credit, though — it knocked the fever out yesterday. By that evening I was ready to eat again, and today I was back at work. Not that it did a lot of good; we had early dismissal today and the two-week winter break starts Monday. I guess I just have to wait at home for the nightmares and paranoia to kick in.

I asked the Wife if she noticed any anxiety or agitation in me yet.

“Oh, yeah,” she said. “It started about eleven years ago.”

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.