HOLLYWOOD—I tell this to people all the time so I have no trouble being a bit frank with my audience. I rarely get ill or sick or whatever you want to call it. However, when I get sick, I get terribly ill and it’s the worst feeling in the world. I was literally coiled up in bed for nearly 3 days this past week suffering from a painful norovirus aka stomach flu. The level of pain is something I can’t describe. My stomach felt like it was in knots for days, the pain excruciating, the nausea left me reeling. I mean every time I belched I got the feeling I would puke in epic ways, and that did happen.

However, I was more frustrated with the realization that it was likely some fast-food that I ate that led to me getting utterly ill. I was so livid at the result that I honestly have sworn off fast-food and I plan to honor that commitment. I mean you never truly know who is preparing the food you eat and rather they are following all the codes and guidelines set-up by the Health Department to ensure people don’t get ill from food being improperly prepared.

I found myself in the restroom for hours and hours on end praying and hoping whatever virus found its way into my body would just dissipate. Well, it did not happen, and whenever it comes to a cold, the only thing that remedies the situation for me in most cases is Alka Seltzer. Please don’t ask me why, but Alka Seltzer seems to always hit the spot. First and foremost, whenever I get ill the last thing I ever want to do is eat. I know it’s probably the first thing I should do, as you need something in your body to absorb the medicine that I have just taken.

However, I was afraid to eat anything out of fear that I would throw it right back up. I attempted to listen to the advice of my parents and try to eat something, nothing heavy, but something that I think my body would at least keep down: oatmeal. All seemed well, but the one caveat was that sensation in my throat that I could vomit at any moment did not go away. I hate that feeling; I mean I utterly hate that feeling. Well, about 2-3 hours later that oatmeal wanted out of my body and I was in utter pain as I vomited that breakfast staple into the toilet.

It is not often that I throw up, but when I do its painful and I absolutely hate it. On a scale of 1-10, it was about a 20. However, I am glad I did that as it seemed to alleviate a bit of nausea that was physically making me immobile. I tried a cup of hot tea with ginger, nope, could barely take a sip without nearly vomiting. I tried to eat a bowl of soup, but I couldn’t, it took nearly 10 hours after first waking at 7 a.m., before I begin to feel what I thought was symptoms of relief. Yeah, that was just deception at play. My body was I assume overwhelmed with the constant trips to the bathroom, and the agonizing pain returned at night. I tossed and turned for hours in the bed, just hoping, crossing my fingers for a bit of relief. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any.

As a result, I was forced to go to the doctor to get a check-up. Was I surprised with the outcome, not really, but as it turns out, it was exactly what I thought it was: the stomach flu/norovirus. And the doctor said it was something that would have to run its course. I just had to be patient and allow the virus to leave my body. Well that is a relief (I’m being sarcastic people). I mean I had to miss work, but in all honesty I think it might have been God telling me that my body needed to rest. It needed a moment to recuperate and to take a bit of stress off myself. Stress is indeed a factor that leads to many people becoming ill, and my stress level has been higher than normal in recent years. I allow pressure from work to weigh on my psyche which as a result leads to my immune system taking a beating.

Being ill these past few days have taught me that I have to TAKE BETTER CARE OF MYSELF. I cannot continue to put work ahead of my own personal needs. If things are not done, so be it, they’ll still be there when I return to work, and I just have to let it be. I have to let things be, I can’t be superman and it’s a lesson for my job to appreciate the staff and team player they have because at any given moment I could be gone or out of commission for several days or a few weeks because I was too ill to work. We all get ill, but I’ve learned several things: it happens to the best of us, you can’t work non-stop, work can wait and your health trumps anything else.