I’ve been at fives and sixes on the Bristol Stool Chart for the last five days. Down to one meal a day. Five hours of sleep a night. Work schedule unchanged. Any water I consume is immediately turned against me. It either crawls back up my esophagus, bloats my stomach, or rushes straight to the floodgate of my anus. My body isn’t absorbing any of it. Serious signs of dehydration. Weakness. Dizziness. Fatigue. My boss asks if she can get me something to eat to give me strength. I tell her no as I have no appetite. She gives me a slice of toasted bread with nothing on it. No jam. No butter. Just. Toasted. Bread. I eat it anyway and it mixes with all the water sloshing around in my stomach, making me intensely bloated. I curse the heavens.
I’m going in and out of the bathroom about three times a day at work. This is normal, but in the past I went in frequently because it was a refuge from the rest of the academy. Cleaner, too. I’d lock myself in the stall and just put my head against the wall. That’s when I wasn’t even sick. Now I’m squirting a fallow, macerated stew during each visit. One of my coworkers (all of whom are female) comes in and bangs on the stall door. I make no reply. This is the men’s restroom. She’s too lazy to walk to the other side of the academy to use the women’s restroom. She’s also too ashamed to streak the porcelain with her solid twos and threes in the women’s room because the other coworkers would hold her in low esteem. So she pinches loaves in the men’s room. But it’s my domain now. The next hour I return and the toilet is clogged with a massive turd the size of a sweet potato. I look at it with a curious mixture of envy and disgust. I couldn’t clog a coffee straw if I tried.
Yesterday I had to teach a few classes from a chair. Couldn’t stand. Vertigo and sweaty fever chills. They say you should seek medical attention if these conditions last more than two days, but I want to see how long I can last before I go to the hospital and realize that my boss in fact never paid for my health insurance. At that point I’ll have to pay in full and out of pocket. I learned that lesson during a visit to the dentist a while back. My boss prefers to do everything under the table. She sends in “The Ajumma,” a private nurse who will come to your apartment and ask you questions impatiently in a rugged Jeolla-do accent before giving you shots in the ass. My boss never ceases to tell me that “The Ajumma” is ex-pen-shee-vuh, so I should take it as a luxury.
During each visit, “The Ajumma” makes me a really nifty IV out of a coat hanger, but during the most recent visit she missed my vein, causing my hand to swell like a balloon. Then my boss showed up with a syringe full of something and injected it into the glass bottle leading directly to my veins. My boss is not a licensed nurse. I was too weak to even say in a fading wail, “Noooooooo!” Immediately after that, the line stopped dripping, so “The Ajumma” had to come back and fix whatever my boss had fucked up. My boss made up for it by giving me a massive pot of a certain homemade food that my body was too weak to digest at the time. I was shivering in bed for two days after eating that stuff. That’s my last memory of “The Ajumma,” so this time when my boss asked me if I wanted her to visit, I said no.
The pharmacy is very hit and miss. The first medicine did absolutely nothing. The second would only plug me up for a few hours until I became painfully bloated. And it only worked between the hours of 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. I don’t know why. Nothing but the runs the other twenty hours. I went in for something different today and the man gave me the first one again. I refused it and asked for something new. Waiting for that to take effect now.