Christmas days away, vacation to California the day after. This is no time for a cold. Or the flu. Or whatever horrible parasite has jury-rigged my body. I start early, turning up the room temperature to 73°. I make myself an Airborne smoothie, and mix a double-strength pitcher of frozen orange juice. If I weren’t already filled to my pores with sodium, I’d have some kind of soup.
I felt fine until I stopped at some damnable all-night taco joint just after five in the morning, and made the mistake of ordering Mexi-fries. What I got was a pound of grease-drenched tater tots in a carton, that I continued to gnaw like a cow with her cud. I was doomed from that moment on.
The full weight of it didn’t hit me until I arrived at the mall a half hour from home. I had finally found something for my dad, something seasonal and decorative and probably not worth what it cost, but something he’d enjoy nonetheless. I was riding the escalator up when vertigo hit me, and I started to sway. I told myself to lean forward, because the fall and the collateral damage would be less. Strangely, despite swaying when I walk, the drive home was easy.
I brewed a pot of tea, and fill a liter water bottle as fast as it takes me to have to pee from the last one. I’m wearing layers, including a sweat suit. I put my heating pad at the center of my back, and take a weaponized Vitamin C capsule with a pill of Echinacea and Golden Rod. I bought some Cold-Eeze, which I thought to be a concentrated as hell lozenge of Vitamin C. Instead, it’s Zinc Gluconate Glycine, which is supposed to cut severity 42% and duration by 3 to 4 days. Also, it says not to take any citrus within a half hour. I figure it must have some Vitamin C in it that isn't listed. VC has a halflife of a half an hour, and any more than 2 grams is likely to cause diarrhea, but my nose is running and my head throbs, so I throw in a sugar free Vitamin C cough drop with 60 mg. I eat a can of pears, 2.5 mg of Vitamin C, carrots, with 6 mg and a bit of sand in that last one, and washed it all down with another Airborne. On the label I notice Airborne contains a whole gram of Vitamin C, or as it informs me, 1670%. I belch quietly, and for a moment I think I can feel Vitamin C sloshing against the backs of my eyeballs.
While I stare at the box the room spins, and I realize that patients are rarely in the proper state of mind to self-medicate. I’m fairly certain you can’t kill yourself with Vitamin C, but if it’s possible I’m on my way to it. And by God, I'm not bugs' Greyhound; if it's them or me, I bet I can survive VC toxicity better than they can.