Health & Wellbeing > one plus one

one plus one

By GREG MAFFETT
Published: June 2, 2010

Yes that equals 2. I just realized I was closing in on two years in my new house. It's another 5 or 6 weeks I think until I'm here two years. And today there is no doubt in my mind that I won't make it another two weeks. Third time will be the charm. H1 plus N1 will zero me out, erase me. I'm sinking fast, I can assure you.

I tried the power of positive thinking when this showed up. ' Allergies' I said when I went into spasms of sneezing that caused passing mothers to swaddle their children to their breasts. But it was spring and I could sell the allergy idea with the best of them for three or four days.

I pretended that the swollen glands the size of walnuts were "Probably always that way-I just didn't remember". But as of last night there was no hiding.

The Russian Flu nearly killed me in college. That was the sickest I'd ever been. Were it not for the codeine to suppress the cough, I do think I'd have absolutely not recovered. The symptoms alone were that bad. But I bounced back and you know, lived another 30 years.

This is the big one, Elizabeth.

Sure I dodged the Berlin Flu 18 months ago. That one turned into the worst case of bronchitis I'd ever had. It never turned into pneumonia, like this one surely will. But it tried as best it could to plant me. I ended up losing two weeks of vacation while trying to figure out what the local remedies might do. Ok so there is two weeks of those lost two years. Really? I've been here this long? Yes the year working from home and the year teaching. That's two. And it's the teaching that I figured would get me. 30 airline flights a year with who knows how many viral seatmates. Then 500 or 600 students bringing bugs from all over the world, pressing them on final exams and cheerfully handing them to me so I can suicide out.

Hour by hour parts of my body are tossing in the towel. It's much like my Mom and how she is these days. She used to be a full time Mom, but now she is a part-timer. She goes on a mini-break as the Brits say. She can't really speak much English on those days. Has trouble getting her breath. So when I call her and I realize she is on holiday I quickly end the call and wait for her to get back from vacation.

But for me, things seems to be going out for good. First it was the right side of my lower back. It has frozen up solid. Can't move it at all. No idea why a flu would hit there. Then it took my left knee. I'm calling them both rigor mortis and leaving it at that.

It is always inconvenient for me to get sick, so you can imagine how massively inconvenient this dieing is. I barely got through my yoga before work today. And then on my run over lunch, I really was a ghost. I thought about cutting the run short, but well I wasn't dead at this point. If I were, I might actually still be alive. A little common sense would have helped. But I didn't use any.

Coming back from my run there was no doubt I initiated the death march of bronchitis that would then turn into pneumonia and kill me. A few hours later I could feel the fever start to rise. My head started to wobble from side to side. Couldn't hold it up. My extremities, those barely animate objects that never hold any heat, told the tale when pressed to my forehead .

No need to get a thermometer. I was burning up, well over 110 degrees I was certain. I licked my index finger and stuck it in my ear, thinking that might cool things down cranially. The patient was unresponsive.

There was no point staying at work. In fact I was sure that within the hour I'd be unable to drive myself home. I wobbled down the sidewalk looking like I just finished a thermos full of scotch vice earl grey tea. I ran a couple red lights coming home. That is one of the upsides of imminent demise. The points on your drivers license don't follow you to the next life.

I figured I needed some aspirin to get the fever down. Of course I had none. So I shuffled off to the grocery store. It's only two blocks away and usually no problem. But today I'd lost a step while trying to cut across University Ave in the middle of the block. I did hear the horn. When I leveled out about 15 feet in the air I saw The Mercedes that hit me was a baby puke shade of mustard. He passed below me in slow motion before I landed head first against the windshield of a black BMW that was tailgating him. I slid off the driver side into oncoming traffic where three or four pick up trucks ran over my head. I could see the head shop up the street with the pictures of Bob Marley in the front window. It wasn't a terrible way to die.

Now that I'm dead, I can say that not much has changed. Yes, I do feel like I've been run over by 5 or 6 cars and I expect I'll feel that way for all eternity. But it's not so bad. I know for a fact that I'll never sleep again. That gives me loads of time to write. So I should be able to crank out a number of dispatches from the other side, at least for a for another year. Or two.

Any Comments?


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