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August 08, 2002: Residual

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When I flew out to Ohio on Friday, I landed feeling rather queasy, and with the faint rumblings of a headache. All symptoms faded away shortly after I was once again on solid ground and not bumping around in turbulence thousands of feet into the air. But the pressure in my head was only a sign of what was to come. By Sunday night my throat was raw and it hurt to swallow. Monday morning we rode our bikes to the little convenience store outside the gates and I bought some cold medication and begged the store clerk for water so I could take two pills right then. Monday was pretty miserable, with occasional spats of clear-headedness, followed by me impatiently counting the hours until I could take more medication. Take no more often than every six hours? Hah! I was over the daily limit by the time I finally crawled, hacking and sneezing, into bed that night, but I didn't care.

Tuesday was a bit better, which was marked by the fact that I was able to actually last the full six hours between doses. Wednesday morning I woke up actually able to breathe and tentatively thought that it was finally over. But then we boarded the plane and it took off and I knew that the worst was far from over.

Flying when sick is miserable enough as it is. Flying when sick with a sinus cold is hellish. By the time we landed in Chicago, my stomach was roiling, and the layover was simply not enough time for things to calm down. When we boarded the plane in Chicago to begin the last four hours of our journey I knew with dread certainty what was bound to happen.

By the time we landed I had thrown up twice, and there were stabbing pains behind one eye from the pressure in my sinuses. The second time came up on me suddenly as we were coming in to land, and once I realized that it was inevitable I dashed down the aisle and ignored the hasty yelps of the flight attendants (because they'd already done the 'fasten seatbelts and prepare for landing' speech) as I leaped into the tiny bathroom without a moment to spare. I threw up a third time, hanging my head out the window of the car on the drive home as poor Richard tried to make it to someplace where I could toss what was left of my cookies with a bit more dignity. By that time it had been over nine hours since I'd eaten (or drunk) anything and I knew that dehydration was probably setting in and making things worse.

I knew once we got home and I was no longer moving and jostling things around that I would be okay, and sure enough, after collapsing into bed (and leaving Richard to lug the heavy suitcases inside) for a few hours of sniveling, my stomach and my head finally decided that they'd tortured me enough. And of course by this morning only the barest hint of sniffles remained, and only a bit of residual queasiness lurks, popping up at random times throughout the day just to taunt me.

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