La Nausée dans le Métro



Nausea makes me feel gentle, compassionate toward everyone sitting with me. Slows me down. Makes it so I can't read on the L. I have to look. I feel sorry for people. The man with the bump in his nose with his head down. Somber. I feel open to others: the two boys with freckles and tan hair and baggy tan shorts in the two seats that hug the wall, their mother catty-cornered. The older one's (maybe 10?) eyes open, alert, waiting and watching for Grand. Finally, they're there and leave for the excitement that awaits them there.

Nausea can be subtle. You pay attention to yourself. Is it gone? Where is it? What was the matter again? What did I feel? It comes back when you're unaware. There it is again. Pressing against the soft palate, the nape. Back again, inside the head, between the nape and the palate. Alighting as softly as a moth. Now somewhere down the throat.

I had La Nausée Monday night (threw up--not so subtle) and the next day. Tuesday morning I went to the drugstore to pick up Effexor, which had been waiting there for me for a few days. I'd kept meaning to pick it up. Monday night I was going to, but then there was the chance to see Metropolis at the Music Box, in all its restored silent-movie science-fiction proto-Nazi benevolent-dictator-propagandistic Deco-Expressionist-melodramatic glory.

It ended at 11, after the pharmacy closed. At the CVS Tuesday morning, N, one of the few techs who has stayed there for years, was speaking casually in Spanish to a couple. When they left she got my Effexor and I said I had una pregunta por la farmacia--, happy that I remembered the word for question, since it's a cognate in French, which is usually the primary second-language that pops into my head. N corrected me: La farmacéutica, and I kept repeating it after her to capture all the syllables. I told la farmacéutica (in English) that I had felt nauseated, and that I'd run out of Effexor for a couple of days, and I was thinking the two were connected. Yes, she said, that's a symptom. Withdrawal.

I took the two big red capsules of Effexor with the water I'd brought (or brung, as we used to say in my Texas childhood) with me, and wanted to feel better immediately. I didn't. It took about 12 more hours to be entirely free of the nausea.

The stupidest illnesses are those that we can control. Nausea caused by sloth.

{Breugel the Elder, The Seven Deadly Sins]

5 comments:

Susan Messer said...

I really like this, Sandi. A completely fresh look at nausea.

Cancer Bitch said...

Thanks, Susan. Hope I don't go thru it again soon, though.

jessicahandler@comcast.net said...

I hope you don't go through it again, also. Nausea is the cruelest thing, most desperate thing.

Susan Messer said...

Agreed, Sandi. I didn't mean that I wanted you to feel nauseous again. Just that as a writer you certainly know what to do with it.

Northwestern MA/MFA said...

The moral of this story is to hide a few pills from yourself, so that when you run out, you won't really be out.