Love in the Time of Nausea

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Here’s my only good Valentine’s Day story.

I met my husband during my freshman year of college. (He was a senior. Scandal!) For our first Valentine’s Day together, we decided to go out for dinner in the North End, which is Boston’s equivalent of Little Italy. Since I can basically be placed in front of a trough of Italian food and not stop eating until someone tears me away, and since I also did not care if my new boyfriend of three months saw me in such a state because hey, better get the ugly stuff out of the way early–I was excited.

I was also, however, battling a sore throat at the time. Not that I was about to let a little strep get in between me and my chicken parm, but it hurt enough that I decided to go to the infirmary to get some meds. This was my first mistake.

I’m allergic to penicillin, which means that the doctors who are unfortunate enough to have me as a patient are forced to get creative if they ever want me to leave their office. This leads to prescriptions that are often handed off with a “Well, let’s, uh…see how this works!” Luckily, I handle most drugs pretty well, but every once in a while I get one that decides to go all Pat Sajak on me and play a round of Wheel of Side Effects. (WHEEL! OF! SIDE EFFECTS!) This leads to such fun encounters as the one involving a panicked me, a strange toad-skin-like rash, and a flummoxed, horrified doctor saying, “Okay…you wait right here and don’t touch anything. I need to go check the book.” But that’s another story for another time.

(Side note, though: what book did she consult? The Unabridged Encyclopedia Of Horrible Skin Rashes? The Big Book of Illustrated Plagues?)

So I got some meds from the infirmary, ignoring the suspicious fact that they were in a stapled-shut paper envelope, and there were like fifty of them. (Maybe what I thought was the infirmary was in fact some sketchy kid’s dorm room?) I took the prescribed dosage and went about my day.

Cut to that evening. I had become quite, quite nauseated. But then again…was I? You ever get that feeling where you’re pretty sure you’re about ten seconds away from throwing up…but then again, it might just be that you’re starving? I couldn’t tell. But with a potential metric ton of mozzarella danging over my head, I decided to be starving, and off to the North End we went. This was my second mistake.

As expected, I ate everything the restaurant had to offer. (I think Will enjoyed himself too, but I did not take much notice of him. The meatballs alone required my undivided attention.) Happy, full, and no longer feeling barfy, we left the restaurant and walked to the car.

We got in the car.

We drove about ten feet.

I said something that must have sounded enough like “Pull over” to actually get Will to pull over.

I opened the car door.

And as fluffy snow drifted all around us and happy couples walked arm-in-arm down the sidewalk, happy in their Valentine’s Day bliss, I puked up every bit of that delicious Italian dinner into the gutter.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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