Mon 05 February 2018


You know how I was just complaining about the flu shot and how ridiculous it is? As far as the doctors are concerned, it would only be justice if I came down with some horrible influenza that killed me in some slow and painful manner. But no, instead, I came down with some other weird (probably) viral illness that is not life-threatening at all.

I've been sick like this several times in my life and the worst thing about it is that there is nothing visibly or measurably wrong with me, at least not in a way that I could prove to someone else. The luggage under my eyes is a bit heavier now than usual, but otherwise, I look like myself. I sound maybe a little congested, like I have a very mild cold - maybe a sinus infection, but sinus infections usually don't make me feel like I've sprained every joint in my body. (Of course, I can't prove that my pain is real.) If I get up and exert myself in any way, my muscles scream in protest, I break out into a total body sweat, and I get the queasies until I sit my ass back down and rest again. Still, even though I have a bad taste in my mouth and my stomach doesn't feel quite right, my alimentary canal seems to be pretty well under control - nothing exploding out of either end. My body temperature is completely normal. There is absolutely nothing that would indicate to any observer, casual or otherwise, that I am ill, and yet somehow I know that something is wrong. I feel like I've been run over by a truck.

Of course, there are people dying of the actual flu right now in hospitals everywhere, and I realize my assessment of my own health is rather melodramatic, but I think I feel this compulsion to explain myself, to explain why I'm sprawled out on the sofa instead of running errands or cleaning the bathroom floor. My whole life, I've been working right through illnesses like this, mainly because I knew nobody would believe that I was actually sick. When I was a kid, my parents would just laugh and say, "Nice try!" before sending me out to school, athletic events, music lessons, or whatever, just like normal. Sometimes I'd manage to sneak off to the bathroom to rest there with my head on my lap, crying because I wasn't sure I had the strength to sit upright through another class, but wasn't provably sick enough to get any help. Sigh. I suppose I should be glad that I'm not really sick, that I'm just a lazy malingerer, but sometimes I wish I could trade bodies with people so they could understand. Maybe they'd still think I was a whiny little wuss, but I doubt they'd laugh quite as hard if I asked to lay down for a bit.