Halfway through family night last Friday, I hit the ground. The tile in the kitchen is cool and hard, two thing that are remarkably comforting when you're overwhelmed with nausea. David's been in the shower for forever, it seems, so Erich brings me a pillow and a bowl to throw up in. I've already prepared all the fixings of my world famous paleo pizza, but since I can't get off the ground to assemble it I try and tell Erich what to do.
Erich tells me he's an adult and he's made a pizza before. I tell him he needs to listen to me because I have to explain my patented multi-stage cheese-as-glue-for-toppings assembly process. He ignores me. David comes out of the shower, sees me on the ground, and turns on his heel to run me a bath.
It's sweet, but I think he just wants me to get out of the kitchen. As the water fills up the tub, I watch as he ignores the rolling pin and starts hammering out the dough with the heal of his palm. I say, "what's your friggin problem with kitchen utensils? Why can't you just use them?"
I am banished to the bathroom. I stew inside my bath. Then I throw up, and immediately I'm hungry for pizza. I have to eat it on the ground, with my back against the wall. "Do you want to come sit with me?" Asks Dave. I say, "No." The austerity of the floor feels good. I don't bother to explain that.
Erich has been on the West Coast for a few weeks, and we are ecstatic to have him back home with us. He crushed his medical boards, and David passed his national real estate exam, so I suggested a family night to celebrate all their accomplishments. We would have pizza and then go out to see Swiss Army Man at the movie theater.
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Things start to get worse after dinner. I lie down on the porch floor. The dog hovers her big, curious face over mine, then wanders off to find someone less pitiful to scratch her. I'm too nauseated to speak, which is something that you completely forget about when you're not nauseated, and then when you are, it's tough to explain, because that would require words.
Dave is mad that I've exploded the kitchen making the pizza and then he has to clean it up because I'm suddenly too sick. After a year of this, you might be angry, too.
Before bed, I debate swallowing another four more Coartem tablets. I can't stand the thought of feeling this way for a minute longer, but I have to take them. I swallow them and head to my bedroom inside a little cloud of misery.
Dave has set up some blankets on the floor for me to sleep on, and dropped some peppermint oil into the diffuser, which helps. Erich sticks his head in the room and says, suddenly jovial, "This felt like a real family night!"
And then we laugh, and laugh, and laugh. Erich sits down next to David on the bed above me, I swallow my sleep cocktail and drift away, holding David's hand, feeling very cozy and skinny.
Everybody that I know is getting pregnant. I knew this would happen, but there's no preparing for it. Nothing kills my mood like a cute little announcement, always precious, sometimes coy, always involving a pun. Two bags of ice and an ultrasound: Ice, Ice Baby!!!! Two pairs of grown-up shoes flanking a tiny little pair of baby moccasins. You know what I'm talking about.
Of course I'm thrilled for my friends. I'm not a monster. But it isn't easy. Each announcement reduces me to a child at an amusement park, the one who is still too short to get on the roller coaster and already a little sick from chewing an enormous wad of cotton candy. Why do they get to have what they want? Why is it so easy for them? So instantaneous! Where is their struggle? These are the sorts of enlightened questions I pose to a God that I do not believe in. Why not me?
The answer is the same, every time. Delivered from the puppet mouth of a Monty Python-esque God in the clouds - beard, robes, staff, booming voice: Because you want it too badly. That's why.
My doctor, I'll call her June because she looks like a June, has a different answer:
"Because you are currently battling the fight of your life against an insidious bacteria that has been living inside of you for a decade. Because Borrelia is congenital. We see 20 week miscarriages. Stillbirths. It's passed through breast milk. Babies born with Lyme are a tricky situation. Mothers too sick with Lyme to care for their babies is a tricky situation. Every medication you are taking is designed to kill. Because you are halfway there and you need to stay the course. Because I Want It Now is not a good enough reason."
"Shall I go on?" June asks, looking at me directly in the eye, as she always, always does. "Because it's your decision."
If you've been wondering where the most happening place to be is this summer, let me tell you: it's the Asheville Eye Associates Medical Square Park location at 8:15 in the morning. The line was already out the door when I arrived. My appointment was thorough and included three hours of reading charts, poking at dots of light, and having many people in white coats shine bright lights into my pupil. I've never been to an opthamologist in my life. I received an A+, 20/20 vision, and no sign of 'current or previous optic neuritis.' I went home weak with relief and instead of my nice blue eyes, I had two big black circles inside a little ring of white. To celebrate, we drove up to Boone and played flashlight tag, which, looking back on it, was a strange choice.
Woah, girl. You're working so, so hard. It's time for you to just calm down, there. Let's give it a minute.
About twenty minutes later, I emerged from beneath the truck and crawled slowly and sneakily back to my side, where I triumphantly tied the flag to the Christmas tree- victory!- only to discover that the game was long over, we'd lost.
Then, after hearing about my heart beat and air hunger, all signs of a persistent Babesia infection, she put me on one more round of Lyme Biofilm and Babesia Protocol Part B. This time I won't have to take the Coartem, because they made me too ill, but it's still one more month of Mepron, that $3,000 bottle of poison. You know what I wish I could do with that 3,000 dollars? Furnish a nursery and buy one of those stellar celebrity strollers that plug into your telephone. But there I go again, pitching a fit at the carnival. I must have eaten too much candy.