Can't find aup file. My recording is split in 1000 files!

So yesterday I recorded for 43 minutes just talking and I was going to use it for a video I made.
I was very happy with how it turned out, and when I was done I was very tired and I just saved the file without exporting it.
The next day, I could not open the project, there seemed to be no .aup file anywhere on my computer; the only thing I found
was short .au files.
The only way for me to save this, it seems, is by sitting in hours and trying to puzzle these 1000 4-second recordings
in the right order, so I thought I’d ask for help. Because it really feels like I’ve done nothing wrong and there must be a way to solve this…
Right?.. RIGHT?

You’re not supposed to be inside the _DATA folder. If you do anything to the order or naming of any of those files the show may never come together again. The AUP file is a text file with the instructions of what to do with all those little snippets inside the _DATA folder, and no, they’re not all sound files.

What’s the possibility you stopped the computer or closed Audacity before it was done saving the work? The AUP file is written last and if it’s wholesale missing, it means the end of the show may be missing, too.

How close are you to running out of drive space?