Thursday. 6:00 am. Four hours to the prelim, and I'm hunched over the toilet, throwing up the entire contents of my stomach. Funny thing about throwing up: it's an oral diary of the last few meals. The baked potato for dinner. The orange juice for breakfast.
I stumble back to bed after tossing my favorite pants in the dryer. The boyfriend says, "Are you okay?" Not really. I don't think I can do this today. But I can't stand the idea of postponing it either.
I say, "I think I have food poisoning or something." He says, "Maybe it's just nerves."
I've never had a problem with nerves, but I conceded. I slept right up to 9:30 am, and the boyfriend drove me to school and dropped me off at the front door.
I don't remember much about the prelim. I spoke for 40 minutes. My advisor spoke for 15. One committee member asked two questions. Another made a comment. Another said nothing at all.
The boyfriend was in the audience, along with two of my research group members. The boyfriend says he couldn't tell at all during the prelim that I was sick; my acting performance made it hard for him to understand why I napped lethargically the rest of the day. Between naps, I took trips to the bathroom, surfed the internet, concluded I had stomach flu, and worked on my research proposal due that night for a post-doc position.
He went to the store and bought me juice. He took care of the dog. He remade the bed while I half-slept in it.
Saturday. 6:00 am. The boyfriend is hunched over the toilet. Poor guy.