(My memory of this night is spotty, but I’ll try to describe it as best I can)

I probably slept for an hour, at most. It took that long for my body to climb the hill for the roller coaster ride that would be the next 24 hours.

When I awoke, I discovered that nausea had come to sit by my bedside. Time to run to the bathroom!

I painfully discovered something they don’t tell you often. Excessive caffeine is a laxative. For those of you not in the know, I will tell you that there is nothing that will humble you as fast as crapping your pants while you vomit. =/

After cleaning myself up and changing shorts, I decided maybe I shouldn’t be quite that far from the toilet for the time being. I sat on my porcelain throne while waiting for the next wave to hit. It didn’t take long. I grabbed the trash can and heaved into it.

I must have sat there for a good 30 minutes, alternating expelling into the toilet and into the trash can. Finally I felt well enough to depart from my little kingdom to head back to bed.

I wasn’t able to fall asleep, and soon enough my stomach started to rumble. I ran to the bathroom where I emptied my stomach into the sink. Thankfully the diarrhea had stopped. I cleaned up again and headed back to my bedroom.

Around 6pm I also started having uncontrollable twitches. Some of them were pretty violent. I’ve never been prone to seizures, but that’s the only term I can find to describe them. They were violent enough to me to completely strip my fitted sheet and mattress pad off the bed. For most of the night I tried to sleep on a bare mattress. Tried to sleep is the key term.

Obviously I didn’t time every time I vomited, but it felt like I would be heaving about every 20-30 minutes. For almost the entire night. It didn’t matter how much I threw up, my body kept finding more liquid to expel. Around 10pm (12 hours after taking my death drink), my brain started to click into gear that, between the earlier diarrhea and this upchucking , I was rapidly losing liquids. I then decided that after every time I vomited I would cup my hand and take handfuls of water from the tap.

It’s also around that time that I developed a new symptom, thick brown streaks started appearing in my vomit. Now, I’m not a doctor, but I know a little of anatomy. The fact that it was brown concerned me. If it was red, I could have just said it was in my throat. However, brown or black usually indicates digested or partially digested blood. I’ve since learned that I had developed Mallory-Weiss syndrome.

Around 2am, after an especially violent retching, became overheated and tried to sleep on the cool tile of the bathroom. It didn’t work. I still twitched and couldn’t fall asleep. I figured if I was going to be awake, I might as well be in my bed.

Around this time I started abandoning the handfuls of water for a glass which I could get more liquid into. Cold water with ice was wonderfully refreshing.

Around 4am the twitching finally stopped. I tried to fall asleep, but was still unable to. Around 6am the vomiting also ceased. I viewed this as a blessing. Maybe I was over the worst of it?

I slowly watched the darkness ebb from my window. I decided that I would wait until 8am to get up, trying to save my strength. The morning couldn’t come fast enough. Gradually it became lighter outside, and still I waited for the clock to strike 8am.

Finally the appointed hour arrived. I got up, and then collapsed back into bed. All my strength had left me. I figured I’d try again in 30 minutes. The scene was repeated at 8:30, then 9am.

Eventually I willed myself out of bed to feed the cats. There was no reason for them to suffer for my stupidity.

Feeding the cats was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do. For someone who’s totally spent, even popping the top to a can of cat food is a challenge. Couple that with having to then bend down to place the bowl on the floor? My head was already swimming, and I almost crashed into the cabinet during that maneuver.

While I sat and watched the cats eat, I considered maybe 9-1-1 might be in order, but I was still too brave. I realized I hadn’t had anything to eat in over 24 hours. Along with all the vomiting, I figured my electrolytes had to be out of whack. I stumbled to the pantry, looking for something simple, like chicken noodle soup. Nothing. Lots of creamy soups, but I knew that dairy was the last thing I needed in my state.

I eventually chose a stack of crackers, figuring they were gentle enough and the salt would do me good. I put one in my mouth and started to chew. It’s then that I realized I wasn’t producing any saliva. This was bad. Taking a drink of water was enough to soften the cracker to get it down. It still hurt like a bitch going down though.

I picked up the phone and started to dial. 9-1…. no, I could get through this. I just needed to be gentle. My body could recover. I hung up and went to the bathroom.

I don’t remember what happened there. I lost about half an hour, I just remember the next time I was aware of anything, the clock read shortly before 10am.

Ok, this wasn’t good. Did I just pass out??? It was this event that just put the cap on the entire episode. I knew I wasn’t going to get any better by myself.

I stumbled to the kitchen, trying to get to the phone in time.

Next Post: Stephen reaches out for help.