July 18, 2011

On Sickness

It didn't take long last week for me to lose my voice. It was probably Tuesday when I started getting hoarse. It never really left, not to the point where I had to whisper and gesticulate everything, but I was noticeably lacking in the vocal faculties.

One thing I was able to squeak out was when I told Theresa that this meant I'd probably get sick. Theresa rightly argued that it wasn't the lack of voice that would get me sick, but stress - it was stress that made me lose my voice, and it was stress that would probably get me sick.

That, and germs.

Kids bring germs. We probably ought to have biohazard suits. Even then - who knows what kind of crazy bugs they're bringing with them. We take whatever precautions we can, to stop colds, flu, lice outbreaks, what-have-ya. But stuff gets through.

By the time Thursday came, I had the runny nose, and that lasted through Friday into Saturday. Congestion. Cough. All that.

Let me amateur-psychoanalyze this thing out for you. When a full-blown cold takes my body over, I eventually start to lose my mental and emotional balance. To a certain extent, the spiritual balance too.

I think that when you're sick, and your body has begun to divert energy from your brain to fight the illness, the first thing to go is humility. When you are visibly sick, everyone suddenly thinks they're a doctor and you've lost all sense. And it gets really, really annoying.

Now, I'm a grown man. I've had many, many, many colds that have done many awful things to me. I've also dealt with more than my fair share of allergies. In fact, I spent the better part of my Junior year of high school with a box of kleenexes in my backpack.

So I know how to medicate myself. The last thing I want is everyone giving me medical advice. Actually, the last thing I want is everyone telling me how horrible I look while I'm trying to look decidedly non-horrible. And this always, always happens when I stagger out of my house, usually with most of a bottle Dayquil in my system, mustering composure, propping up my eyelids, trying not to look like a zombie as I wander out for food or some such basic need. Not an easy thing to do clutching a roll of TP.

I especially don't like medical advice from teenagers. You are 15. I know Vitamin C is good for me. Don't tell me to go to bed.

On Saturday morning, I emerged for the debriefing meeting for the week. There was going to be pizza after the meeting. After weeks of rice and beans and chicken, I wasn't about to let some stupid old cold keep me from delicious pizza. And then there started a long succession of people telling me how horrible I looked while dispensing unproven medical advice.

I've already been sick a day and a half. I'm coming out of it. Already took my Airborne. I have more DayQuil in me than I should.



Of course, I was more diplomatic than that. At least I think I was.

I went to the meeting. I got my pizza. And I was miserable. I became, I think, a very unpleasant person. Any humility had long since departed. Anything I'd put into the schedule that wasn't well received, I took personally. My patience was gone, I really just wanted to be out of there. I definitely couldn't handle listening to anyone speak Spanish. "Just tell me what they said and let's move on." Jokes were no longer funny - there went the sense of humor. I can't say what all else disappeared.

We piled in the van and drove back from the Laundromat and Domino's. I don't remember saying anything, just thinking that the pizza wasn't good enough to warrant me being out of bed right then. It was Domino's, after all. So when we got back, I handed off the keys and walked away from them all before anyone could tell me what to do. It was my way of saying, "I know. You were right. Shut up. I'm going to bed."

No comments: