A mistake

Resisting the temptation to eat fat is a lot easier if you have to go through the outskirts of purgatory each time you do it.  That has been the case with me since Easter 2005. But human nature is not that easily erased…

To err is human. But this error is likely to cost me, unless there is a divine intervention or some such.

It is a fairly long time since I have had a bad attack of fat poisoning. And so, distracted by an online game, I grabbed a serving of ice cream and ate it relatively short time after I had eaten noodles.  (Both of them typical gaming food, since they require little preparation.)

Now, either of these meals alone should not contain enough fat to trigger a poisoning. Together?  As I said, without divine intervention I am going to be horrifyingly sick. I did not die in the first weeks after I got this illness and before I found out what triggered it, so I don’t expect this to kill me either. But it will most likely feel like it.

The fat poisoning is a mysterious illness. I have had the same set of symptoms occasionally through my adult life, increasing in frequency, but it only became a regular feature after the horror Easter of 2005, when some kind of virus seems to have hit my liver. The doctor thought it was a virus at least, and the involvement of the liver we deduced from the utter lack of bile for more than a week.  After this, even normal amounts of fat will trigger an attack.

The only thing I know of that can reduce the severity of the attack is heat. It seems to begin with my body temperature falling, for some unknown reason, below a point where my brain thermostat realizes that I am in trouble, and it sets off a panic sequence.  I start feeling cold as if I were out in a snowstorm, and shiver and shake violently.  My muscles are at this point already so tense that I cannot heat myself by working out, only by the uncontrolled shivering. Worse than my skeletal musculature is that my internal muscles also go into overdrive. Queasiness ensues as my stomach starts contracting. The peristaltic motion of the intestines is replaced by spasms. These may cause extremely strong bowel movements, or conversely send material from the lower intestines upward, messing up the gut flora for days to come.

The most inexplicable effects are on the brain, or mind. Panic usually ensues (although a few times I have been spared this). It is a physical fear, an automatic reaction that is hard to contain. I suppose it is not entirely irrational when you get a sudden illness, but even though I have been through it many times, I just can’t squash it, just barely contain it. Part of the problem is that my IQ seems to be about halved. I am not sure what the cause of that is, but it happens toward the end of the attack. I am unable to concentrate, if I write I cannot spell normally or write coherently for more than a few words. Basically I go from genius to mentally challenged. The final step of the attack is a sleepiness that cannot be resisted. Even if I sit in a chair, I will fall into deep dreamless sleep. So far I have woke up every time and the attack was over.  I can only hope that I will wake up this time too.

If I knew when it came, I would try to warm up and exercise before it starts, thereby raising my core temperature.  But it depends on the speed of my digestion, probably, for it can be anything from one day to a bit over two days.  I cannot exercise for 24 hours. So that escape hatch is closed. And in the winter, even supplying enough external heat to mitigate the attack will be hard.

So, divine intervention remains an option. A prayer would be nice. I can’t think of anything else that will save me from at least a taste of purgatory.