Memories of Flu. A Sad Beginning to a Worse End.
The only benefit of illness is the social acceptation of complaint, we who have little in our lives from day to could wish for nothing greater than a head cold, stomach virus, or if you’re to be so lucky, a feverish flu with little gore to ruin the glory of your battlefield story’s aftermath.
I was blessed with such a gift, and my solemn two days rest to fight my “head cold” with hot orange, lemon, ginger, and garlic tea (laden with expensive connivence store whiskey in the later hours) turned to a ninety-nine degree fever. Oh for joy! I thought. Now I have warrant for maternal sympathy. I messaged my mother on the internet and forewarned the fall of her most favorite and fair daughter. To my disappointment I was instead given the title of “drama queen.” FINE mother! I will not again tell you when I am suffering an illness! Mind you, reader, with so very little complaint. But mother nature was in fact on my side, yet again, granting me with an even higher temperature! 103.5! Now I could really get some sympathies! Messages rolled in noting my disappearance from society, to which I simply stated my degree of fever and waited for the traditional Japanese shock and awe– Head for the hills! No! The hospital! You must! Death is coming to lay it’s icy grip on your throat! — or something to that extent but in worse English.
But I, being cast of stone and iron, would not be moved. Content to suffer alone in my misery (much as usual) I created a fortress of tissues to rest upon and a pool of sweat in which to swim. The chills vibrating through my motionless body were that akin to the shiver from a gentle lover’s tickle…only painful, and unwanted, and mostly just awful.
For this I had my hot bath(s) where unwillingly I became a character of my own novel. Lavender hair pulled up in a chopstick from the kitchen sink, shivering in a tub densely filled with steaming water, peeling clementines and drinking tea laced with hot pepper. A reality show could not have fantasized a more distressing figure to mock. But it is I alone who knows what happened in that tub, with those rubber ducks. When was the last time you played in the tub when it wasn’t with someone else’s genitals? That’s what I ask of you, reader. And may I suggest, instead of your usual bath salts, a good sailboat or rubber duck. Imagination must never grow moldy.
Now, in my better state, I am surprised to find how such pain can transform into triumph! where are the cheering crowds applauding my survival? Why am I alone in Cafe Veloce with my diarrhea coffee trying to discretely blow my nose in a meter’s worth of used soggy toilet paper? I have won! Where is my victory reward? Hive five? Hug? I have lost hundreds of dollars in sick days and so many vitamins from lack of sunlight. My ass is smaller and my heart is heavier. I am lonely and weak and tired and New York City has never seemed quite so appealing.