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    Wednesday, July 23, 2008

    My Puke Story

    Recently I visited the home of a very sweet and fun lady who is also chronically ill. She was having a bad day and worried that she might throw up in front of me. I told her not to sweat it because I have one of the best, meaning most embarrassing, puke stories ever.

    And so, without further ado, my puke story. Because humiliation--much like stupidity and misery--is meant to be shared.

    Last summer, we hosted an incredible young man for a week. He was here for the same (now annual) young writers’ retreat that I blogged about a few weeks ago. The night Jacob arrived, I started feeling a little icky. The next morning I woke up with tonsils so swollen I could barely talk or eat. Strep! I have an extensive history with Strep, so I’m pretty good at recognizing it.

    I went in to see the nurse who actually recoiled when she saw my Strep bugs growing in the doohickey they use to test the skin they’ve scraped off your throat with the barf stick. (Aren’t you impressed with my knowledge of medical terms?) I got a shot. You know where. And then the nurse practitioner offered to give me a prescription for a narcotic pain-killer. I did the Rambo-Mom thing and told him, “No. I’ll be fine.” But it sounded like, “Nn, Ul b fund.” He asked if it felt like I was swallowing nails. I nodded.

    So I came home with a safe little syrup that only had half the power of Vicadin. I took the smallest recommended dose, one teaspoon, and lay down on the couch. Nothing. No relief. No wooziness.

    Fast forward four hours. I’d promised my friend, Dianna, who organized the writing event, that I would participate in a special critique night with the teens. I didn’t want to let her down, so I took a teaspoon and a half of the narcotic, choked down some soup, and got in the van with my mom driving, and Jacob, our Southern gentleman house guest, riding in the back seat.

    By the time we arrived at our host’s home, I was dizzy, nauseated, and shaking. I managed to get downstairs to the quiet basement, where I proceeded to hallucinate every time I closed my eyes for the next three or so hours. The odd thing was, I knew I was hallucinating, so it wasn’t scary, just mildly entertaining. I missed the entire meeting, but when it was time to go home, I was starting to feel better.

    I got back in the van, ready to be home and in bed, but as we drove, my cold sweats returned and my stomach roiled. By the time Mom pulled the van into the driveway, it was clear I’d have to run for it. In retrospect, I should have just found a dark corner of the yard or maybe headed for the pond. (Wouldn’t that have made DH happy?)

    I scrambled up the steps, hand clamped over my mouth, but the bathroom was just too far away. You know how when you put your finger over the garden hose, it creates pressure and the water comes out with the force of a fire hydrant? It’s the same with barf. I managed to spray the walls from my foyer, down the hall, and into the bathroom. Yuk!

    When I emerged from the bathroom, I found my mother and our house guest, cleaning the walls. I was mortified! I’d met this guy all of a day ago, and here he was scrubbing vomit from my walls. I feebly protested Jacob’s assistance, and he said in his adorable, Southern drawl, “Aw, this is nothing ma’am. Last week I learned how to artificially inseminate cows.” Later my mom told me they had to get out a step stool because neither of them could reach as high as my missile-launcher-mouth could.

    You may ask why I would willingly share this with everybody. The answer is that moments like these, while miserable at the time, are meant to keep us humble and maybe ease another’s discomfort later on. Otherwise, those embarrassing moments are useless, and who wants to endure humiliation like that for nothing?


    Megan DiMaria said...


    And that's all I can say on this subject.


    A prisoner of hope,

    D. Gudger said...

    E - you are SO funny! I LOVE it! Don't have a barf story of my own cuz I don't barf. Think opposite.

    However, the girl sitting next to me during the 7th grade honor society induction ceremony turned green and barfed and barfed all over the gym floor. A slew of us bolted away, but then the barfing became contagious and other people started barfing. Once that was over, my friend Kim set her hair on fire while lighting a candle at the same induction ceremony. Burning hair and barf. Ew.

    But yours is funnier, cuz it happened to YOU!

    MangyCat said...

    I actually laughed out loud several times while reading this--and I'd already heard the story! But I tell you, if you had to pick the stranger to throw up in front of, Jacob would be the one. (Yes, I ended a phrase with a preposition.)

    Jake said...

    Such fun and crazy memories from my first time at your home! Your story is making me think about the first Moot. I remember feeling so bad for you, after spending the whole evening so sick downstairs at the critique group. No worries! I felt like one of the family from that point onward.

    Evangeline Denmark said...

    Ladies and Gentelman, the above comment is from the real Jacob, who has become something of a legend in our house. We tried to adopt him, but had to settle for simply praying that one day our boys would be a little like him--though I don't see how they're going to pick up that accent here in Colorado. Maybe if I ship them to my aunt and uncle in Georgia, they'll come back saying 'Yes Ma'am' and willing to clean up vomit. I'd be the most blessed mom on earth if Monkey and Chunkey turned out half as good as Jacob!

    cathikin said...

    Aww. I fell bad for you, but I still had to laugh. Blessings on Jacob and your mom for cleaning up. You were certainly not in condition to do it yourself.

    harriet.bullock75 said...

    I`m only 18 and i remember when i was in year 7 at secondry school. I was feeling really i`ll in the morning of a big school trip and cause it cost £10 i had to go. So anyway i got in the car and was fine. When i got out the car all my friends were asking if i was ok and i just said no. 30-45 mins after we got in the coach and started off now in was a 45 min journey and i get travel sick so about 20 mins in i had started to doze off cause i felt so ill ( i leaned on my bffs shoulder) I started to feel really really ill so i sat up as soon as i did that i just knew i was going to throw up. i just covered my mouth and held it in for about 5 seconds. Then suddenly it just sprayed out of my mouth all over my friends purple felt boots. I was mortified!!!! The teahcher was sick phobic too! luckily i wasnt teased by my friends though i just got sympothy. but then i had to wait 45 - 1hr for my dad to come and then another 45- 1hr to get back home!! You can imagine what that was like...

    Evangeline Denmark said...

    Oh Harriet, I feel so sorry for you. What an awful experience. I'm so glad your friends were cool about it. Doesn't it help to know it's happened to other people? That's why I firmly believe in sharing humiliation. =)

    All of the above said...

    Hi, I'm only twelve but I'm highly familiar with streptococcal pharyngitis (strep) and can pinpoint the symptoms fast. I've never vomited from strep but (TMI) dime sized pus lumps (as I call them) can make you fee like you're suffocating. 104 degree fever? Hallucinations guaranteed. Looking back, being scared to death of the shadows and footprints on an orange juice commercial is pretty funny. But at the time my adrenalin was pumping and a
    I curled under a blanket. Daring not to sleep because the reoccurring nightmare I always get with strep would be sure to follow. At some point in every case of strep I was rushed to the ER. Barely clinging to consciousness, let alone my life. I faintly remember having quips lodged down my throat. I never gagged. They always called me a pro though I felt like a wilted flower. They'd come back after the rapid strep test wide eyed and flustered. How could a pint sized person carry such a gnarly virus? A stabbing vaccine and some turd-diameter horse pills later I'd recovered. When will the torture end?

    Lori Hallenbeck said...

    My junior year of high school, I woke up one morning feeling queasy and shaky. I threw up a little water in the toilet after gagging. My mother not only insisted I go to school, but that I eat breakfast. On the bus to school, I sat with my twin sister and the boy I was dating. My stomach got steadily worse and I told my sister I had thrown up a little at hoe and felt like I was going to do it again, but she's my twin and could tell how sick I was. We got to school and it all came rushing out. I threw up a huge amount of orange juice mixed with chunks of scrambled egg and sausage in the courtyard in front of the entire school, my boyfriend and my sister, thoughIve vomited in front of her before. Bless her and my boyfriend who made sure I got to the nurse's office where I was handed a bowl. At least three other kids came into the office while the rest of my breakfast and a lot of bile splattered into that bowl. Since mysistdr and I are identical, the nurse wasn't sure which was which and called my mother to tell her one of her gains was in her office vomiting profusely. She came and got me and I threw up all the home. The next night, my sister started throwing up, so my poor mother was emptying two buckets for the next 3 or 4 days. Lost 5 pounds though, because for that whole week I pretty much threw up whatever I put in my mouth.