It's like that idea in chaos theory that one butterfly flapping its wings could eventually have a far-reaching ripple effect on subsequent historic events, like causing a typhoon on the other side of the world.
Only for me, it wasn't a butterfly beating its wings.
It was the hiccups.
Back on April 1st, I stopped at Wendy's after teaching my evening WR 122 class and picked up a quarter pounder, fries, and a Diet Pepsi.
The meal gave me the hiccups.
I didn't think much of it. The hiccups lasted about twenty-five minutes, but subsided.
The next morning I taught my 8:00 and then my 10:00 classes.
I was feeling a little funky, slightly fatigued, lacking focus. I released my 10:00 students early, unable to sustain a class for an hour and fifty minutes.
Soon after the students left, the hiccups returned. I hiccupped all through a conversation with Cheri, editor of the college's literary magazine, Denali. cnversation.
The hiccups intensified while I had coffee with Karen, a Facebook friend.
I arrived home. The hiccups were three hours old. I ate spoonfuls of peanut butter, swallowed sugar, drank several glasses of water, held my breath, drank squirts of RealLemon from the plastic lemon, and tried other hiccup remedies I learned online.
The hiccups were six hours old at 5:30.
I put the one sure cure into action: I made myself vomit.
The hiccups left.
They came back.
I made myself vomit.
They came back.
The hiccup and vomit, leaving and returning cycle lasted all through Thursday night, all day and night Friday, and finally ended Saturday when Debbie brought home a homeopathic remedy.
The hiccups and throwing up had ravaged me.
I was a wreck.
My voice was nearly shot. I had a terrible cough. I was exhausted.
Pneumonia had settled into my lungs, in multiple places.
I've never understood if the developing pneumonia caused the hiccups or if the hiccups and vomiting caused the pneumonia, or both.
Whatever the case, it was early April and I was about to be ill for the next 75-80 days.
It all started, like the beating of a butterflies wings eventually leading to a typhoon, with single hiccup.