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jdavidb (1361)

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J. David Blackstone has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering and nine years of experience at a wireless telecommunications company, where he learned Perl and never looked back. J. David has an advantage in that he works really hard, he has a passion for writing good software, and he knows many of the world's best Perl programmers.

Journal of jdavidb (1361)

Tuesday March 14, 2006
07:03 AM

Weirdest. Night. Ever.

[ #28984 ]

On the plus side, I got to watch four episodes of classic Star Trek tonight.

It's 5:23 A.M. in my time zone as I begin this entry, although I've been setting my watch to UTC for some time, now.

I've been sick since late afternoon Saturday. Whenever I get sick, things typically follow the same course: a small tickling in my throat warns me about what is going to happen, then a few hours later I endure 24 hours of nasal drainage, then all of that dries up and I start having asthma problems that may persist from three days to two weeks.

Sunday night Sarah went to stay with her parents in her hometown, in order to babysit our nephew on Monday. Being alone and sick, I took a Benedryl and went to bed at 9, which is atypically early for us. I woke up at 5:45, feeling a lot better, and headed to work at 7.

During the day I hacked and coughed and blew my nose a lot as I transitioned to the asthma problems.

When I got home this afternoon, I spoke to Sarah on the phone, and we agreed that it was late enough it would be pointless for her to head home, as her trip would be unnecesarily lengthened due to rush hour, and then she would be driving after dark. She's supposed to come home tomorrow morning. Err, this morning.

By early evening, my coughing was getting stronger. I decided I needed to use the breathing machine I keep around for emergencies. Though I've got pretty severe asthma (I was once hospitalized), and though I get sick about twice a year (lately more frequently) with respiratory symptoms that inevitably devolve into lingering asthmatic problems, I haven't used this machine since Christmas 2004, and before that I had not used it for about four years. In fact, I barely use any asthma medication at all any more, other than for emergencies and in the days after an illness.

I started cleaning and soaking the various parts, and about that time my dad called. He was pretty concerned when he heard I was going to use the machine. He was even more concerned when he learned that I was alone since Sarah was gone. This kind of medication can be pretty serious; on July 4, 1995, a friend of mine in high school died when asthma medication caused her to basically have a heart attack. That said, I take so little medication nowadays that I don't think I was in any particular danger.

But Dad is a worrier. :) To reassure him, I promised him I'd stop halfway through the dose and rest (allowing my heartrate to return to normal), and that I'd call him when I was done. In fact, I stopped after only about a third of the dose, took only a couple more puffs after resting, and then called him to let him know I was still alive. And I was breathing much better, which was just what I needed.

It was getting on toward nine; I called Sarah and went to bed, talking to her on the phone for awhile until I finally decided I was tired enough to go to sleep. I was a bit fitful, but slowly drifted off into blissful slumber ...

About an hour later, I awoke with a monstrous fear as somebody began loudly banging on my bedroom window. Then I heard my father shout my name several times.

I had no clue what was going on. Clearly my house was on fire, but somehow my father was there to rescue me. Or we'd suffered a nuclear attack, or some other collapse of civilization, and my father was there to let me know the United States of America no longer existed, and we needed to flee to the catacombs. Or a relative had died. It probably didn't help that as I had fallen asleep I'd thought about how I would handle an intruder in our home, if such ever happened some day and I had to defend my wife (which would mostly consist of me trying to get her out of the same window I was now staring at in fear).

I shouted at my dad, said, "What?" several times, then realized that if the house was on fire I needed to get out, so I ran to the front door and onto my lighted porch wearing nothing but my briefs, to discover my father coming back around from the side of the house to meet me.

Did I mention Dad is a worrier?

Turns out Dad tried to call (around 10 or so, I guess?) and I didn't hear the phone since I was a) in the bedroom, which currently doesn't have a phone plugged in, and b) asleep. So Dad concluded the obvious, that I had passed out or worse from the asthma medication which had clearly not killed me an hour earlier when I spoke to him before, and rushed over intent on hopefully saving my life. Or at least breaking into my house to reclaim my dead body. After all, surely I was more likely to be dead than just asleep or something, having gone to bed early in a futile attempt to get well.

Pretty noble, all in all, but Dad is a worrier. :)

I staggered back into the house, as Dad explained himself, and I slowly got a grip on reality. And then I collapsed in my entryway. My heart was racing, I was still almost in a delirious dream state, and I suddenly became aware that whether due to the illness, or due to the medication, or due to the adrenaline that had been dumped into my system, what little I'd eaten that evening did not want to stay down.

Of course, I was too sick to explain myself to my dad, so I wordlessly ran to the bathroom. Where I proceeded to vomit, all the while shouting at my dad that I was okay, and could he please just give me a minute and quit trying to talk to me and ask questions?

After throwing up, I felt a whole lot better. Maybe even better than I did after the asthma medication. In the meantime, my dad was wandering through my darkened house, trying to help by finding me a soda, and discovering there weren't any in my fridge. Thanks, Dad.

So any how, now I was conscious, and we exchanged notes, and Dad agreed I was okay, and moreover not dead, and he apologized for waking me up and scaring me, and I said it was all right and thanked him for being that concerned for me, even though it was extreme overkill. Then Dad went home.

And I discovered I could not get back to sleep. I tossed and turned for awhile, then tried to sleep on the couch, then decided I needed some television and Internet surfing to wind down, then realized I was still wide awake. Apparently I got a really good shock to my system, or else I got an even better night's sleep than I thought on Sunday night.

I put in a tape of classic Star Trek episodes (Sarah recorded all of them several years ago when they were first broadcast on the Sci-fi channel), and before I knew it I had watched all four. And I was still wide awake. I had been sleepier during work on Monday.

I amused myself by reading about Star Trek online for a while, then finally turned out the lights and tried to go to sleep at 5.

After 10 minutes, I realized it was still just completely hopeless.

So here I am, watching the fifth Star Trek of the night, getting ready to call my boss and let him know I am definitely not going to be able to work tomorrow (err today) (although as I said I'm probably more alert now than I was yesterday at work, so maybe I should anyway), and blogging about the whole thing just to show how pathetic it is. (And it's so pathetic I'm even using the word "blogging.") Sarah comes home in a few hours.


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  • I was out all last week because of the flu. That is the one thing I hate getting because it gives me that all over ache. At least this time, the throwing up happened first and so my stomach settled.
  • See, this is why it's a great thing to live 6 hours from one's parents. ;)

    Seriously, it's no wonder you couldn't sleep after that. And at that point, you aren't going to take any sort of sleeping aid, so... Ugh. ...on the bright side, thanks for reminding me that I need to plug in the phone upstairs...

    -DA []

    • See, this is why it's a great thing to live 6 hours from one's parents. ;)

      Up till now, I'd always cited our promixity as an advantage. :)

      Sarah lives two hours from her parents. She's also a worrier like my father, but after last night I'd peg her as a little more rational. But before the incident I was happy to be telling her on the phone, "Don't worry. My dad's real close, he knows I'm on this medication, and if I had a problem, he could get here a lot quicker than you could."

      J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers