The battle was on the bodily front, principally. Shortly after awaking, I was ‘smitten’ (a good biblical word) by sudden nausea, followed swiftly by intense stomach and intestinal pain and profuse sweating. I’d not experienced the like since contracting a bout of giardiasis (a type of food poisoning) in the Far East many years ago. Today’s episode lasted several hours before receding. My innards felt as though they’d been gutted and rubbed with salt, and my back was painful, which suggests that the kidneys had taken a beating. I knew something was up in the middle of the night, when it became increasingly difficult to pass water.
The culprit, by a process of exclusion, is likely to have been the half bottle of tonic water that I drank in the evening. I don’t drink it often, and usually only on social occasions as an alcohol substitute. (My body doesn’t tolerate the substance.) I strongly suspect that I’ve developed a moderate allergy to quinine. Acute reactions can be fatal, apparently. The kidneys and livers shut down. So, I’ve much for which to be grateful.
But here’s the more interesting bit. The last time that I’d drunk tonic water was the day before the ‘attack’ which landed me in hospital on Good Friday. Then, I’d indulged a far smaller quantity. Nausea and stomach and intestinal discomfort followed – but nothing like as debilitating as that experienced on Sunday. The interval between imbibing and reaction was the same too: one day. I can’t but think that this isn’t a coincidence. (Coincidences are a feature of my life, presently.)
My hypothesis may also explain the elevated blood pressure, which can occur when the body is fighting off an allergic reaction. The chest pains, which had emanated from the breast plate and radiated across the ribs, could have been caused, therefore, by costochondritis. (This is an inflammation of the joints that attach the ribs to the breastplate.) This possibility had been mooted in my hospital examination. I’ve experienced the condition several times before, as part of the general ME condition, when dealing with food intolerances. My diagnosis may be wide of the mark, but the evidence seems pretty compelling.
Indications for my the only other explanation, namely that the KGB had poisoned me, simply didn’t stack up.