I woke up sick on Friday, well not sick, I woke up ok. There was just enough battery on my laptop to watch an episode of a series so I did that and since there was still no electricity I went back to bed. Then I woke up sick.
It’s been a while since I was sick but not so long that I can’t immediately recognise the symptoms I will then proceed to ignore. There was a pain at the back of my throat. The left side actually. It got worse, much, much worse when I swallowed. And then I realised I needed to swallow a lot. I took my first swallow as soon as I woke up, I don’t know if this is something I normally do but it was something I did that day and it hurt. It hurt so bad that I had a need to swallow again. Then I did. then I was thirsty and I wanted to drink some water and I took it in my mouth and realised I needed to swallow not just once but numerous times I forced it down (the first gulp), I forced it down (the second gulp), I forced it down (the third gulp) and I decided that no thirst in the world was enough to warrant a fourth one.
My head was aching in a dull, faraway kind of way. It felt like I had been standing in the sun for way too long and all I needed was a shade except it had been hours and hours since I was in the sun. The shivers shook me and I felt cold, no actually I felt that I was cold what I did feel was hot. I put my hand to my forehead and it burned. Then I began thinking that this was probably a horrible diagnostic tool. If my blood was hot then I would be hot all over, there’s no way I would have a fever in my head but not in my hand.
There was still no electricity so I went back to sleep.
My brother came over with some of his friends and an offer of alcohol which I turned down. I sat with them though and for a while I didn’t feel so bad, it was a really fun conversation, I asked:
“Where’s your I-phone?”
“It got spoilt”
“Eh, what happened to it?”
“There’s a button I press all the time and it got stuck”
It took a couple of minutes and an intervention to realise just how much of a fool I had been taken for. I ate and went to sleep thinking I would feel better in the morning, thing is I did not.
In the morning the fever was full blown. My teeth chattering and sweat pooling everywhere as I tossed and turned. I got up at around midday and had a meal of bread and tea. Then I went back to bed and had another bout of sleep. By this time I was compelling my body to sleep because I felt horrible, the sleep didn’t feel much better but it felt better and that’s always something. I kept having what I refer to as text dreams though there is probably a more technical name for them out there. These are those kind of dreams where the hardware or software that goes into dream making isn’t advanced enough to make images so the images come to my mind as thoughts, when I slip a little bit into the dream I can see one image but its dark and far away and as soon as I concentrate on it I can’t see it anymore. I’m not completely immersed in the dream world because I’m not fully asleep but the things I’m thinking don’t have the texture of real thoughts. They are usually fantastical or illogical and they just run and run with no pause. It’s like narrating a dream to yourself. For example I dreamed or thought that I was a nuclear scientist. I can’t remember what I wanted to figure out but I knew that I didn’t have enough expertise for it however I also felt that it didn’t matter since…. I’m not sure things went a little dark there.
I woke up and I wasn’t hungry but I forced myself to eat. I know that sickness has this habit of making itself become bigger. You have no appetite and you feel too weak to eat anything so you don’t eat and since your body can’t digest anything you get weaker and weaker and then you feel like eating even less and the cycle continues. I got up at 6 and had a meal of bread and tea because that’s all there was. In between sleep I had been able to read, while eating I had been able to watch TV and these were all the things I could do.
All my cravings were gone. I hadn’t had a hard-on all day, not wanted a smoke, not felt like a drink, not been hungry. All the things that made me feel alive by active participation were gone. My life had become one long stretch of passivity. I wanted to sleep and so I lay in bed and slept. I could read so I lay in bed and read. I could watch TV so I slumped in front of my laptop and watched. Nothing that could be called living my life was happening and maybe this was the worst thing.
Maybe the worst thing was not being able to feel warm, getting in bed and shivering between duvets and then feeling that stench of sweat that tells you you have a fever. Maybe the worst thing was the swallow that I had been doing all day. I had no idea how much I swallow spit before right then. I kept on swallowing and swallowing and swallowing. No idea why this compulsion was so present in me. Maybe those were worse. But no, the absolute worst thing was getting in bed on Friday evening all feverish and asking God in a serious tone to let me into heaven if I should die before I wake.
I kicked my ass off to the pharmacy and got some antibiotics. I had told the guy that I needed meds and then he began working on his calculator as I listed my symptoms. I told him that I did not have nearly the amount he seemed to be working at. In fact all I had was 10% of it. He told me he could work with that and gave me only the important drugs. It seems he knew what he was doing because I feel all better now. Also who knew you could negotiate in a pharmacy, was he just going to saddle me with thousands of shillings worth of drugs he knew I didn’t need? Who keeps such things in check? Though as the provider of my medicine I am far too grateful to the man to question what he was doing.
Here’s hoping there’s another few years before I get sick again.