Campylobacter Jejuni

Just when you’ve got a good thing
It seems to slip away

"Another Park, Another Sunday"
The Doobie Brothers

Actually, it all started on a Sunday.  In the trees not far from Mammoth’s Chair 25.

It’s been a shitty ski season.  As in lack of snow.  We traveled up to Whistler, which has all the white stuff, but it was so wet, enjoyable is not the word I’d use to describe sliding down.

But then it rained in Southern California.  And when it rains in L.A., it snows in the Sierras, prodigiously.  So, days before I was supposed to go to Toronto for Canadian Music Week, Felice and I jaunted up to Mammoth.

It was by far the best skiing of the year.  The kind of soft snow you dream of.  We were challenging the Cornice, making laps on Dave’s, and then we went over to Chair 25.

A year earlier Felice had had a meltdown on its lift line.  But two days earlier, she exorcised the demons, she’d killed it.  So we decided to venture into the vegetation, the trees to the side of the lift.  Oh, they’re not exquisitely tight, and it’s not unbelievably steep, but the snow was a bit sticky, the sun having baked it all morning long.  And we’re taking it section by section.  And about halfway down, I hear a little yelp, not one of agony, not one of despair, but mostly of disappointment.  Felice holds herself to high standards.

I was only thirty or forty feet away, across the slope.  I turned around and climbed up to her, released her left ski, which was behind her.  But Felice couldn’t stand.  She wasn’t in excruciating pain, but she knew something was wrong.

Try getting a toboggan in the trees.  God, I could barely see my phone in the sunlight.  Finally I scooted over into the open slope and flagged a ski patrolman.

Felice is having surgery next Friday.  To repair her torn ACL.

As one does in any medical crisis, I got ahold of Irving Azoff, who told me exactly which doctor Felice should see.  He was right.  I have total confidence.  A full recovery is expected.  But as Felice would say, this really fucked up our plans.

You see we were supposed to go to Vail.  And then Vail again.  And skiing in New Zealand at the end of the summer, after I speak at this conference in Australia.

Of course that all pales in comparison to the injury, the ordeal, the rehab.  Which takes a toll on one’s physicality, emotionality and the underlying relationship.  But we’re trying to manage it.  Sometimes better than others.

Right now Felice is in New York City, tonight is the annual teacher awards Guitar Center sponsors at Carnegie Hall for the foundation she runs.  I was supposed to be there too.  But I’ve been sick.

Actually, I’ve been sick most of the past six weeks.  The antibiotic killed the sinus infection I had, but some head pain remained.  And then last week…I fell off the edge.

In hindsight, I blame the sushi bar, that we went to with Lisa.

No, this has nothing to do with my sinus infection, nothing at all.  But I searched for answers for days, and none showed up until Tuesday morning, in the stool sample.

So Saturday night I’m extra-tired.  But I’ve got to do my April 1st issue.  Got to send it after midnight, and before people get hip to the date.  But I’m suddenly feeling so wasted.  But I write something anyway, which I’m not happy with.  But it’s a once a year gig only.  I let it go.

It’s just that the feedback wasn’t spectacular.  Oh, extremely good, but not over the top.  And that’s when I decided to write another, Sunday afternoon.  Stunningly, all that time later people fell for it.

And after a going away party for Jennifer at Ginny’s apartment, I went to KLSX to do my radio show.  I was curiously tired the last half hour, really tired, noticeably tired.  Then again, I’d had that sinus infection, I figured it was the aftermath.

Now it’s not like I did anything stressful the next three days.  Hell, for forty eight hours I was home doing this kidney urine test (don’t ask).  But when I woke up on Thursday, I was wiped.  And when I walked slowly down the avenue to meet Yahoo’s Ian Rogers for lunch, the world seemed to spin.  And when I returned home, to retrieve my iPod for podcasting at Rhino in Burbank, I felt that I just couldn’t go, just couldn’t make it.

But I went anyway.  That’s my constitution.  I pride myself on my constitution.

Thank god for Tylenol, I was falling apart on the freeway.

And when I finally got home that evening, sitting on the pot, I realized, I was sick.

I had no idea.

The next day I had chills at the shrink.

Then I slept from three to ten, too tired to get up.  Too tired to even watch TV.

I slept in my ski underwear, sweat pants, sweatshirt and fleece.  And I kept having to get up to go to the bathroom, even though I hadn’t eaten anything, even though almost nothing came out.

And it got no better on Saturday.  I had Felice come and pick me up (she can drive, it’s her left leg).

And now I’m getting scared.  You’ve got to die of something.

And Saturday night it gets worse.  I can’t go more than half an hour without venturing to the bathroom.  There’s blood.  I’m afraid of falling asleep for fear of not waking back up.

So Sunday morning I call the doctor.  Who won’t go on record.  You know modern doctors, they’re not like fifties doctors, they won’t give you a reading, they’re afraid of liability!

But I get no better all day.

Finally I decide it’s time for the emergency room.

But when we finally get there, I’m just not bad enough for a five hour ordeal, I figure I can wait until the next day, when my doctor can see me.

And I went first thing Monday morning.  Where I was given every test known to man.  Everything from ultrasound to blood to him sticking his finger up my rear.  Nothing.  They couldn’t find a fucking thing.  Well, on some level that’s good.  That means it’s viral.

And then comes Monday night…

I felt like I’d been on "Survivor".  Eating nothing, drinking to stay hydrated, alive.  But suddenly, I was thrust into "The Exorcist".  No, my head didn’t rotate, but I had night sweats so bad you could take a bath in the puddle that resulted.  I was frightened.  It’s five days in and I’m getting sicker?  Then it happened again.  And again.

I woke up and immediately dialed the doctor.  But, after speaking to the receptionist, I looked at my BlackBerry and I saw there was a phone message.  From him.

Something showed up in the stool sample.  Which had come back a day earlier than scheduled (thank god!)  I had campylobacter jejuni.

It’s like salmonella.  It comes from chickens.  And I ate no uncooked chicken, but it’s so volatile, that if you eat anything prepared on the same surface, you can get it.  And I’m thinking I got it back at the sushi bar.  Not that it matters.  You take the Cipro, and you get better.

Am I back?

Today’s the first day with no diarrhea.  My mind is still fogged.  But I can finally think, music sounds good again.

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