But before I passed out, there was one thing I'd been dying to do since that first hint of sore throat the night before. I found my phone on Cayden's dresser and launched my flashlight app. I opened my mouth as wide as possible and pointed the flashlight down my throat. Just as I expected: the worst case of strep I'd ever seen in my entire life.
I wasn't surprised when my tonsils were so swollen they were touching each other and my tongue. I wasn't surprised my airway was no bigger than a straw opening. I wasn't surprised my hangy ball had no where to dangle, so it rested on top of my right tonsil. I'd seen all of that before. But what got me was the number of white spots decorating those bulging tonsils. I was used to three of four here and there, but BOTH tonsils were covered in white.
"Oh you have to see this!" I said to Cayden, my drooping eyes lit up with excitement. Sometimes I just love grossing people out.
I handed him my phone and opened as wide as I could.
"Umm, I don't even know what I'm looking at," Cayden said, with a look of disgust and curiosity.
"Those are my tonsils," I explained. "Pretty sick, right?"
He visibly shuddered and tossed my phone on his bed.
"So I guess you're not making it up," Cayden said, wrapping me in a hug.
Nestled in the warmth of Cayden's arms, I had a thought. Could strep throat be a sexually transmitted disease? The night before, a certain part of Cayden's anatomy had been in contact with my tonsils. Is there such thing as strep penis?
A quick Google search on Cayden's laptop left us with unanswered questions.
"Well, why don't we just keep an eye on that," I said, patting his crotch on top of his sweat pants. He looked worried.
"So, how long does strep last?" he asked. "I mean, do you think you'll be well enough to go out tomorrow night?"
We had big plans to meet up with all of his friends at a pub the next night. Some of them, I'd met during my first trip to London, when we watched the World Cup together. Others were coworkers I'd heard a lot about, but hadn't yet met. I'd been looking forward to it since I'd booked my flight. I even bought a cute outfit specifically for that night.
But I knew I wouldn't be better. I'd be miserable at the bar. I wouldn't be able to drink. I'm pretty miserable anyway when I'm the super sober one, strep throat or no strep throat. All of his friends would think I'm lame and weird if I sat there at the bar, shaking violently and using hand gestures instead of speaking.
"I'm not sure," I lied. "Let's just see how tomorrow goes."
My painkillers started to die off so I pulled Cayden's sweatshirt over my head and buried myself under the covers.
I wanted to wake up and feel 100 percent. I wanted to spend the day at Portobello Market in Notting Hill and buy that green scarf I'd fallen in love with on my first trip. I wanted to make love to Cayden in the morning, afternoon, and in the middle of the night. I wanted to devour Ben's Cookies. I wanted to put on my new outfit and go to the pub with all of Cayden's friends and be the slightly-buzzed happy girl who talked to everyone and they'd all think, "Aww, she's fun! We approve."
But wishing off strep throat without a strong dose of antibiotics and a painful shot in the butt is like wishing off 100-degree weather in August in Texas. It just isn't going to happen.
I popped two more dissolvable pain killers in my mouth and made a mental note to find a pharmacy in the morning that sold throat spray or some type of heavy narcotic. I spent all night tossing and turning, sweating and freezing, shivering and panting, snoring and whimpering.
Cayden did his best dress and undress me as my temperature changed before he finally fell asleep. Deep sleep. The kind of sleep that bring dreams without sweating. shivering girlfriends. Dreams without painful clubbed feet. Dream that lack complaining. Dreams without possible strep penis.
I was the nightmare.