Tuesday, 1 January 2008

99.9 Fahrenheit Degrees, stable now, with rising possibilities…


(With apologies to Suzanne Vega)

I have the flu, and I’m definitely running a fever.

It’s not that I haven’t tried to stay well. I religiously got my flu jab before coming down to Todos Santos. Maybe the bugs here are different to those in snowy climes.

I’m aching, my throat hurts, my eyes are sunken. I’m desperately trying to marshal my defenses to mount a careful counter-attack, aware that the thing that caused severe mortality in the last great Flu Pandemic was overreaction of the immune system. People consumed by the very thing that was meant to protect them. And that’s why the highest death rates were in healthy, fit individuals.

As you can see, I am the prototypical male when I get sick. Try as I may, I can’t work for extended periods, and slink back to bed, burying myself in mountains of wrappings and demanding hot drinks, hot water bottles, while all the time bemoaning my fate.

I try to think of the positive experiences with this sickness. That melting feeling when the heat of a hot water bottle sinks into you, dissolving the shivering and surrounding you in a blissful sweaty miasma.

That I am not interested in food, which must help my weight control. Except chocolate. I crave good chocolate when I’m sick, ever since I was a kid when I learned the formula sickness = consumption of candies (and especially chocolate). Now, if I just could drive to Cabo, and raid the Christmas aisles of Costco for their Belgian chocolate. It’s wishful thinking, unfortunately.

But most of all, the greatest experiences are my dreams. Dreams of such complexity, illogicality and of a haunting quality that can’t be matched (legally), except maybe by initial doses of Effexor or similar anti-depressants.

I am standing on a cobbled sidewalk, beside a crenellated wall, watching the serried rows of silver hatchet fish swim in one direction in the water in the street. I cast to them, aware now that there is no water in the road, but unconcerned. I suddenly realize that the obvious reason I am not catching anything is that I am not using “The Special Bread” as bait. I look behind, and in an alcove, there is an upholstered duck, inscribed with all the secrets of my life. Why is it there, I wonder?

I close my eyes and see swarms of small stick people, washing their clothes and swimming in cascading pools of clay-like mud.

But then there is a pounding in my poor head, just like a hammer, rhythmically striking. Wait a moment, that is a hammer, in reality. A neighbor has decided on this, of all days, to construct a wooden hut.

Wonderful as these experiences are, I long to return to the taken-for-granted and ephemeral state of good health.

I wish my readers a healthier start to the New Year. Feliz Año Nuevo!

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