Beware of Helicobacter

I’ve been sick for a month with gastritis that won’t go away. And as my mother the nurse pointed out when I visited her the other day, gastritis doesn’t explain all of my symptoms.

Hm. So I played around on the internet for awhile googling my other symptoms along with gastritis. And sure enough, there’s a very common ailment that fits every symptom I’ve got, up to and including feeling weak, foggy, sad and listless for an entire month. Gastritis can be a symptom of something else that can go wrong with your stomach — a helicobacter pylori infection.

I thought I was just having a bad month. But it looks like I might have an ulcer.

I’ve started napping almost every day, needing rest constantly, always feeling down… A horrid pervasive malaise has snuck up on me. Summer frequently makes me sad because I have my favorite thing, learning, snatched from me, and because I so easily become isolated if I don’t remember trot myself out for a little socialization. It’s not like I’ve felt ragingly ill, or completely outside of my usual behavior. I’ve just been foggy and sad with no taste for exercise, no taste for leaving the house. I have little appetite for food or, frankly, for much of life.

And as this happens to me every now and then, I didn’t pay much mind. But what’s unusual is how long I have been this way. A day or two is how long my sad spells last — not a month! But sink into the valley and stay there long enough, before you know it you’ve forgotten what life was like on the ridgetops. The valley quickly becomes all you know.

In the past month, I think I’ve had one day of really feeling good. The other days — horrible days really, now that I think about it — have been hideous tepid days, neither good nor bad, flowing past like a great long nothingness. It’s been like watching TV for a month, only to notice one day — after an entire month — that your TV has only been showing you static. It’s like realizing that you’ve eaten nothing for the last month but saltines, and you are just now noticing. The last month has really been one big nothing. I did my work. I knit a sock. I lay in bed. I lay on the couch. That has been my month.

I go to the doctor next week.

Meanwhile, you know what else has been bothering me? My last paper I wrote for my poli sci class. I finished it, mysteriously losing my enthusiasm for a fascinating assignment about one of the most interesting nonfiction books I have ever read (totally unlike me), turned it in and got an A in the class. But, even after the class ended I couldn’t quit thinking about the book. I’d only been assigned a few chapters of it to read for class, so I decided to reread the whole thing.

And of course I encountered dozens of passages and points that I could have used to make my paper what I had envisioned. DAMMIT. But you know… I could still rewrite my paper. I could. I could rewrite it.

The way that writing often manifests in my life is as a desire, a very strong one, to gather and organize and collate data in the form of a written document. Unlike other kinds of writers, I don’t make shit up. I gather up shit that was already in existence and make sense out of it. It doesn’t feel so much like a calling as it feels like just doing something that is so completely me that doing it is absolutely second nature. When I see good information that I think could be summarized and arranged and laid out in some useful new way… It’s hard for me to leave it alone. It’s like leaving out a pan of brownies.

The information from that damn de Soto book swirls in my mind like autumn leaves in the wind, making unending leaf devils. Because it wants to be organized. Knowing I could make sense of that dance, that dance of delicious information, and doing nothing, it bothers me a bit. You see, I know if I rewrite my paper I will force myself to articulate the ideas of the book that I find most interesting and most important, and then they will stay with me. I will befriend the information in the book that way; it will not leave me so readily as it might otherwise.

[You know,when you have a blog, truly you can unwittingly reveal your strangeness to the world. But we are all strange, whether or not we have a ready way to reveal it.]

Ah goodness, my mind wants to work but my body wants a nice nap. I am reminded of Stephen Fry saying that his body didn’t want to exercise, it wanted to lie on something soft and have nicotine and caffeine poured into it.

I actually hope I’ve got an ulcer. That means I might be myself again sometime soon.

4 responses to “Beware of Helicobacter

  1. I hope you feel better soon!!!

    Michelle

  2. Thank you! This is quite terrible, being sick for a MONTH and taking a month to figure out that you’ve been sick for a month… BLEH.

  3. Helicobacter? You and me both, love! I too have been trundling between bed and bathroom the last few weeks :-(
    Licorice helps, the polysaccharides coat the raw bits and stop the pain, as well as reducing the sickness.

    But yes, get thee to the doctors! The plus side of this little nasty is that it isn’t a robust species and if you can take antibiotics, it should be gone in no time :-)

  4. LOL, OMG so that’s where you’ve been! Great stomachs think alike.

    Will get some licorice ASAP.

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