My Zombie Parasite Theory

Day four without coffee.

So, this is how the zombie apocalypse starts. I know because I’ve read all of the zombie apocalypse books. I’ve watched the zombie apocalypse movies. I eat foods out of date for precisely this reason. I’ve been training for this most of my life.

My training did not prepare me for this.

It started with someone slicing into my lower back Wednesday morning. Like, out of nowhere, around 10am, I was just walking along doing my job and out of nowhere someone took a big ole knife and cut right into my lower right back. Or maybe no one actually cut into me. But that’s what it felt like. Except that I think they were cutting from the inside. I initially chalked it up to the fact that I’m now 44, and, you know, shit just starts to hurt when you exert yourself too much with things like breathing or having a thought.

But then the chills set in to the point that I had to wrap myself up in my sweater and sit out in my car in the sun with the windows up to try to get warm. It’s a good 85 humid degrees out there these days. So, that seemed … off.

I suspected that whatever was happening inside of me might potentially be contagious, so I thought it best to make my way home and just pass out on the couch. Where I proceeded to sweat through not only my clothes, but also the two pillows and the rather thick microfiber couch cushions. (You know, the ones that are so easy to clean…)

Around 4am, the little knife-wielding zombie parasites had traveled into the rest of my body, with a particularly large group taking up space in my head, to the point that I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to go into work that day on account of my head cracking open from the inside. But I took some Excedrin and that at least made them lower their weapons for a bit. By the time I woke up again at 6, I figured I could at least make it through a 4 hour meeting.

Rolled up into my meeting and my boss immediately walks over and tells me I don’t look good.

Thanks. I don’t feel good. I’m just gonna sit over here away from everybody.

I’ve got some coffee over here if you want some.

Ick. No.

No to coffee? Get out of here. You’re sick. Go home. Go to the doctor.

K. Bye.

So, I went to the doctor. The nurse checking me in looked at me very disapprovingly when she took my temperature. First in my ear. Then orally. I was a little worried she was gonna try for a trifecta, but she seemed content, if not a little miffed, with the 103.7 reading she received on the first two.

What have you done to yourself?

Well, I have a theory…

I didn’t think she was quite ready for my zombie parasite theory, so I opted for flu instead. This felt like the flu. Like, a really ugly case of it with some extra thrown in, but it was very flu-like. Or maybe mono. Damon had mono recently. And parvo. It could be one of those. But probably just the flu. Can you tell me it’s just the flu, please? That’s, what, 24, 48 hours? Max?

Then I hear homegirl out in the hall asking other people if they’d heard of anyone having the flu around here and what should she actually be testing me for. Like, I can’t be the one to kick it off? I can’t be patient zero? Psht. I’m sure as hell not sharing my real theory now.

She swabbed for strep despite my protests that my throat didn’t hurt and if she keeps sticking that thing down my throat I’m gonna throw up all over her. Whatevs. Do your ridiculous little test. I know what’s wrong with me. I just need to know how long it will last. I’ve got a 16 mile mountain race on Saturday.


I tested positive for strep.

But my throat doesn’t even hurt. Isn’t that like a hallmark of strep throat?

Awww, honey. It’s coming.

Oh. Sweet. Ok.

On the bright side, they’re pretty sure I’ve got a kidney stone in there somewhere, too. She’s the one that’s been running around in there with a knife. I’m calling her La La. I can’t wait to meet her in person. We’ve got so much to talk about. We’re just gonna laugh and laugh…

I spent most of the next two days in a sweaty, shaky, evil haze of ick. And every single pet in my home felt the need to cuddle with me.

Except Lobo. He understands boundaries.

I’m not really sure what all went on inside my home during that time. I’m pretty sure I managed to get them all food every morning. But someone felt the need to dig a protein bar out of my running bag, things may have gotten a little dicey at one point. (And look, we all know me. We ALL know that protein bar had to be at least 5 years old. Minimum. No way it was satisfying.)

And I had visitors.

Damon drove to the pharmacy after work to pick up my meds and had the pharmacist walk him around the store to find all of the supplies I might need. Ibuprofen for the aches and fever. Yogurt to eat with the Ibuprofen. Gatorade to keep me hydrated. And, with the same lack of concern for self-preservation his momma has, rolled right up into my biohazard den and set all of my supplies up for me.

Next day, he returned with Chrystal and Harry Potter movies and they cleaned and did the dishes. (I could hear them through the fever fog. Chrystal actually sounds like she probably has strep. She for real sounds sick. But there she was in my filthy home doing my dishes for me. So sweet. … She’s probably the one that gave this to me.)

Rebecca, with her bff intuition, felt my illness and sent that “What’s wrong?” text that was kinda creepy, but also really awesome. And then continued to check up on me.

And my momma, of course, checked on me daily.

By day four, the chills and fever had finally stopped. So I spent the limited energy I had in reserves to wash the piles of clothes I’d spent the last three days sweating through. And I’ve hit that really nice sweet spot where I’m finally hungry, but I still can’t eat. Starving, actually. But the nausea has a nice stronghold and it’s probably going to continue to win.

Every now and then I start to feel human again and think I’m pretty much recovered. And then I sneeze. And that wakes up the zombie parasites to start digging away at my skull again, and sometimes even jostles La La awake again to go on her cutting spree.

I can’t walk, or move really, without exhausting myself. I have the stamina of a 100 year old woman who has chain-smoked her whole life. (I don’t know how she lived to be 100 chain-smoking, but I’m sure she’s out there somewhere. And she’s probably a badass. She probably tells people exactly what she thinks of them and it’s fully accepted because she’s, like, 100. Respect. I want to be her when I grow up. Except without the smoking part. Because that makes me nauseous. As does coffee. And Doritos. And just about everything else that I used to love. I’m in a dark place, y’all.)

I didn’t make the Iron Mountain Trail Race Saturday. I’m fully ok with that. The idea of running makes me nauseous right now. A co-worker texted to check up on me and said he was sorry I was missing invading Canada or whatever I was going to do this weekend (because all of my adventures are akin to invading Canada). I said that running up and down a mountain has no appeal for me right now.

“So, you get normal feelings when you get sick??”

Yeah. This zombie apocalypse parasite takes the adventurer right out of you. I really have to hope she comes back, though. Chicago is only a month away. And 26.2 miles is a long way to walk when you have to stop every few feet and catch your breath.

La La is undecided on whether or not she wants to go.

And I have to figure out how to burn my couch.

4 thoughts on “My Zombie Parasite Theory

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