Well, having returned from my descent into the underworld, I suppose I've brought back two pieces of information for the new year.
1. Stomach flu kicks you in the ass worse than you remember, and this wasn't even the worse case I've ever had.
2. Living through a dark night reminds you how good good can feel.
(All right three pieces of information)
3. Caffeine withdrawal is a bitch.
I hovered one day on that threshold where you start thinking, you know if that good night was willing, going gentle into it wouldn't be so bad.
Thursday I was feeling a little better and bland food started to pick me up again, then the queen mother of headaches pierced my brain like a spear. (When you self-diagnose on the web, the stomach flu literature says whateever the f you do stay the hell away from caffeine! it is ithe devil's brew.)
"I haven't had coffee in three days, the withdrawl should be finished," I muttered to Christine.
"Yeah, right," she laughed. She doesn't have the best bedside manner.
I went through a period roughly like Clint Eastwood's fever dream experiences in Unforgiven or Conan's near death experience in the first movie (you know wrapped in a blanket with ghostly spirits looming all around, am I remembering that scene right or is that just what happened to me?).
Then I woke up feeling marginally stable Friday morning.
And wow, risking a half-cup of coffee was like a dose of elixir. I felt like a chorus of "Let the Sunshine In."
I think Charles in his earlier comment below was right, maybe it's good to start the year with a downer. It certainly makes clear what "up" looks like and that you often take feeling OK for granted.
For a while, I may remember that.