I Feel Like A New Man

Yesterday might have been one of the most awful days ever, at least if we're measuring the quality of a day in terms of how one feels physically, because yesterday I felt as though a steam roller had scooped me up and run me over. Twice. 

After I went to bed at 9:41pm as promised---which really turned out to be more like 10:41pm, after various procrastinating and teeth-cleaning and face-washing and such---I woke up THREE TIMES before finally sitting up in bed at 1am, wide awake and in so much pain that I actually started crying. Crying! I know! It was from frustration, see. Every single muscle in my body ached---even muscles I didn't know I had; thank you, gym, for those---and I couldn't. Get back. To sleep. Even though I'd had approximately thirty minutes sleep in the last 48 hours---about seventeen of them  scrunched up in an economy class seat on a jumbo jet---my body just wouldn't co-operate. It just wouldn't! All it did was lie there and ache and hurt and make me toss and turn for two hours while my mind raced----MUST SLEEP CAN'T SLEEP WHY DO ALL MY BONES HURT---before giving up and moving to the living room sofa, where I made myself a little bed from blankets and cushions and tried to sleep there.

I'm not sure why it worked but it did, and I drifted off, only to wake up at 6:15am feeling like death warmed up. (A friend of mine never understood that expression, by the way: she'd say "why is it death warmed up? Shouldn't it be death cooled down?" But really, death cooled down makes no sense, does it, because when things are warmed up, you think of them as being all pallid and lukewarm and gross and half-hearted, and that is really exactly how I was feeling.)

Here are two embarrassing things about yesterday: first of all, I couldn't face the effort of having a shower. Seriously, the act of STANDING UP flummoxed me, and so I just ran a bath, lowered my aching 198-year-old body into it, and at some point turned the shower on overhead to wash the shampoo from my hair. Then I had to lie on the bed for twenty minutes, recovering. There was a lot of whimpering as I got ready for work, and I'm not entirely proud of the outfit I chose, which was a) made of sweatsuit material, b) dirty, and c) entirely unprofessional. Luckily, this being San Francisco, not a whole lot of people noticed.

The other embarrassing thing? It's pretty embarrassing. Sean and I normally walk the 25 minutes to work, but yesterday I made him hail us a cab because the act of walking? Made me so exhausted that I wanted to lie down on the pavement and sob. And if that isn't enough, I TOOK A CAB HOME AS WELL. I never take cabs! I walk or take the bus, but when I left my office building and saw one idling in front of me and thought "hmm, I could be home and in my bed in seven minutes if I pay ten bucks, or I could be home and in my bed in twenty five for free," the extravagant part of my brain said "eh, screw it, some people go to Starbucks every day and you always drink your coffee at home. Good job, you! Now go hail that cab."

All this to say, of course, that last night I slept from 10:30pm to 6:30am, and now I am feeling like an entirely new person. Whereas my diet yesterday was centered exclusively around Gatorade, ginger ale, and delicately nibbled Triscuits---did I mention I was the victim of some, uh, gastrointestinal distress? Actually, perhaps the polite thing to do would be not to mention it---today I am all WEDNESDAY? IS IT WEDNESDAY? THAT MEANS IT'S BAGEL WEDNESDAY! I SHOULD GET TO THE OFFICE EARLY TO GET A HEADSTART ON THE VEGGIE CREAM CHEESE.

I still feel pretty weak and slightly achy, which is odd, because normally I am a pro at handling jetlag, but I think this particular case of jetlag was, like, jetlag on steroids or something, and was perhaps my body's way of saying "hey, you? You need to stop dragging me to Chicago and Charleston and Florida and Singapore in a ridiculously short time frame, you hear? You're no spring chicken, you know. I could make you pay." (In which case, my body is going to be pissed that we're headed to Berlin at 6am on Sunday, but eh, what can you do.)

Anyway, I'm going to take it easy for the next few days---particularly Thursday; my mother has a theory that Thursday is always the day the jetlag rears its ugly head (again), no matter what day you arrived---and perhaps even think about, hmm, I don't know, unpacking. For now I'm just glad that I'm relatively human-feeling again, and also that I've got my appetite back. Those bags of English candy I brought back aren't going to eat themselves, you know.

(PS: About the title, which seems to be so esoteric that it needs explanation: when I was back in London two years ago for the first time in forever, my friends held a Welcome Back To London party for me, which was the kind of party that went on until 4 or 5am---the best kind, I think you'll agree---and when we all woke up a few hours later, we felt like....well, I think you can imagine what we felt like. One by one, we all roused ourselves to get up and start the day, and when my friend Huston (hi, Huston!) came downstairs after having a shower, he said (in his Irish accent, which makes it that much better) "I just had a shower. I feel like a new man!" For some reason this stuck in my brain, and now Sean and I say this all the time---"I feel like a new man!"---when we're feeling better after feeling crappy, and although it makes a lot more sense when Sean says it, I have to say that my Irish accent is definitely a lot more convincing.)

Jun 04, 2008

I would be willing to endure pain if it meant I could visit Chicago, Charleston, Florida, Singapore, and FRICKING BERLIN in less than thirty days. Lucky!

Jun 04, 2008

As a seasoned jetlag champion, do you have any advice for those of us who aren't traveling to a new continent every couple of days? I got back from Hong Kong a week ago (fifteen hour time difference! I know what you mean!) and I still can't make it through the day without a colossal nap around 5pm. Everyone keeps telling me to force myself to stay awake, but I just can't seem to do it. Any super secret jetlag tips?
-Sleepless in Seattle

Jun 04, 2008

We have Donut Wednesdays. :( I'd much rather have Bagel Wednesdays.

I'm glad you're feeling better but I have to say I'm more than a little jealous re: the Berlin trip. Hope you take many great photos so I can live vicariously thru them.

And P.S. I'm wondering why I never thought to turn on the shower to wash the shampoo out of my hair while bathing. *perplexed*

She Likes Purple
Jun 04, 2008

Lord, all your traveling makes me tired. I mean, it's exciting and fun, also, but all your traveling has totally earned you the right to a vacation.

Jun 04, 2008

We always say "death warmed over" although I am pretty sure that doesn't make any more sense than "up"...it all leads to the same conclusion of icky clammy awkwardness. Also, we have popcorn Wednesdays and it is awesome. I plan trainings around NOT having to miss Wednesdays in the office.

Jun 04, 2008

It's always Thursday! My grandmother says that as well!
Hope that you're feeling a bit better!
(That's quite a lot of exclamation points)

Jun 04, 2008

We say "death warmed over" too. My mom used to have the most uplifting habit of telling me "God, you look like death warmed over." Thanks Mom!

Sounds like a nightmare, and you are absolutely entitled to take a cab in your condition. Remember, in So Cal people refuse to walk anywhere; they'll drive from one section of a shopping center parking lot to another if they're going to two stores. Compared to that, a cab is small potatoes.

Glad you're mostly recovered.

Jun 04, 2008

Nope, my worst day was Tuesday. When my contact lenses fogged over for no reason and I screamed and cried at my poor boyfriend, who had the nerve to get sick with campylobacter as our plane took off from Delhi three days earlier, leaving me to suffer through the jet lag on my own while he got to nap in a feverish sweat for the entire week.

By Thursday, I was pretty chipper.

Jun 04, 2008

Jet lag is really horrid. I went to NYC for a few days in high school and I was tired the WHOLE TRIP. Yuck.

By the way, I'm going to SF in August for my anniversary and I think it would be awesome if you did a post about what to do/see/eat for people coming to visit, since you both live there and like to travel.

Jen Jensen
Jun 04, 2008

It really sounds more like you've had some wonderful viral infection rather than jetlag. Call me crazy but "MUST SLEEP CAN'T SLEEP WHY DO ALL MY BONES HURT" just screams "massive immune response" to me...

@Diggs...one word: Ambien.

Jun 04, 2008

I think I might have spoken too soon. Now I feel like all my limbs are encased in concrete. Also, it took me three tries to spell "encased."

Jun 04, 2008

Wait a second...you guys get VEGGIE cream cheese on bagel day???! All we get are little tubs of generic cream cheese.

Jun 04, 2008

I've been there and I know exactly how it feels - and I also think taking a cab in extreme circumstances (such as exhaustion) is totally fine. Rest up!

Camels & Chocolate
Jun 04, 2008

Ugh, ugh, ugh. I'm hurting for you after reading that post. I felt like this last week after Italy, and that was just Italy! However, that was 17 hours of flying in cramped economy with an obese neighbor and FOUR toddlers on my row, missing a whole night of sleep, arrive at midnight, be downstairs by 8am, stay four days, repeat flying experience, return to San Francisco in less than a week. So perhaps that's justified, despite it only being a nine-hour time change. Surprisingly, when I came back from Singapore, I had like half a day of jet lag and that was it (though at the time I was flying biz class on Singapore Air, and OMFG flying is so much better when you fly biz class on SA -- Hello, beds!).

Jun 04, 2008

I travel a lot for work, and on my last trip to Turkey, I found my answer to jet lag: sleeping pills. I stayed up once I got to Istanbul, took one before I went to bed around 9, slept hard, and woke up refreshed. On the way back, I take them the first two nights I'm home. It really helps reset your clock to get 8 hours of sleep. Some people I work with use Tylenol PM, but I just got a generic, non-prescription sleep aid, and it works great.

Jun 04, 2008

Yeah, I used Tylenol PM both nights when I woke up at 1am and couldn't get back to sleep for a few hours; they're the only thing that helped me drift off (and they did help with the pain too.) Problem was that I felt so groggy in the morning. I think you need to be able to have eight hours to sleep, so taking them around 2 or 3am was a bad idea for me. I do sometimes take one on a plane though, if it's a loooooooooong flight. Or I take a Valium, which has the added bonus of making less worried that we're going to crash.

Jun 04, 2008

Like a couple of others, we also say "death warmed over..." and I never understood the expression.

I am sorry you feel like such crapola.

I can somewhat relate, we returned Saturday from a 19-day road trip across the West Coast with an infant, and that is somewhat exhausting as well, although there was only a one-hour time difference so no jet lag to blame.

Although, I really would like to sleep for about three days straight and I haven't been able to summon the energy to do more than feed and dress the child...my jeans are on their third day (gasp!) of wear, although I've done nothing but pad around the house with the baby...at least my shirt is fresh.

Just tell your body you're going to Berlin for a sleep study, maybe you're body won't be pissy then.

Jun 04, 2008

Well I am feeling pretty ick right now so I can't wait until I can feel like a new man. Lol haha.

Jun 05, 2008

I always found the jetlag going from the West Coast back to Europe was the absolute worse... If it is a consolation, though the weather IN berlin is absolutely gorgeous and will make you want to move here permanently! In any case thatS' what happened to me when I visited in June 10 years ago...

Jun 05, 2008

I've only heard death as being "warmed over", too. I've always had the impression that "warmed over" is something that you do to leftovers. Meatloaf warmed over the second time you have it for supper. So "death warmed over" means that you are not only not freshly dead, you're having it for the second time ... it really made sense before I started explaining it.

Jun 05, 2008

Yes, I think it's just a regional thing -- we say "warmed up" for letftovers etc in England, whereas it sounds like you say "warmed over" for the same in America. Thus the same applies to the phrase.

Jun 05, 2008

The tip on Tylenol PM is to take it approx 2 hours before you want to go to sleep so that you go to bed at a normal time and sleep for 6-8 hours. Then when you wake up, you don't have that horrible, groggy feeling. This is how I have learned to conquer my jet lag and it has helped me more than I can tell you.

Glad that you are feeling better even if you are getting back on a flight for Berlin in a few days. I loved Berlin when I was there. The shopping, great food and the history of the city is wonderful.

Jun 05, 2008

I second the Tylenol PM or Benedryl idea. Ugh, jet lag PLUS gastrointestinal distress is truly awful. Happy recovery.

Jun 06, 2008

I have some family friends who must travel as much as you do. Their father was Secret Service for Madeline Albright and used to schedule their vacations with a military precision. Their jetlag conquering techniques (that he developed and gave a nice little acroymn, CARE) are as follows:
Coffee. Activity. Rest. Exercise. When my friend went to pick them up at the airport for a visit she had to bring coffee, have an activity planned (hopefully one involving exercise, like a hike) and give them a chance to rest. Not napping, but quiet time to decompress.

I'd say it works pretty well.