Monday, March 19, 2007

Madame Influenza Makes Me Her Bitch

OXFORD, Ohio (ZP) -- I can't remember last Wednesday.

Or much of Thursday, for that matter.

Friday? Kinda fuzzy - and not in a good way.

* * * *

It began last Monday. I was sitting in a local coffee shop, and I started to feel funny.

It started with a strange, sudden sensation, a burning sensation, just inside my left nostril. I'd noticed the dry cough earlier in the afternoon; I'd written that off as nothing more than dust from cleaning my desk at work. I was tired, downright physically exhausted.

At first, I thought I was just getting another cold. I can handle colds.

And then I remembered what the sensation meant.

For fuck's sake. I think I'm getting the goddamned flu.

I never get the goddamned flu...

* * * *

I spent most of last week bedridden, feverish, coughing and shivering, courtesy of Madame Influenza.

It's been years since I've been so ill that I couldn't get out of bed, more than 10 years since I last ran a fever above 103 F, 15 years since I last ran a temperature that high for more than a day.

I was teetering between hallucination and slight incoherence for 72 hours straight, with nothing more than acetaminophen / ibuprofen cocktails, cranberry juice, and ice cold yogurt to keep me sane.

At some point my brain went completely haywire - unable to focus or concentrate on anything. For three days, phantoms of long-forgotten memories blended with bits of movies and fragments of books.

My second grade teacher appeared out of the haze, then morphed into that creepy rabbit from Donnie Darko. I flashed back to being 15 and shooting myself in the foot with a nail gun, only in this fevered version I'd shot off my entire foot and flesh-eating zombies, a la George Romero, gnawed on the stump.

I felt seasick and dizzy as passages from Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" played over and over again inside my head. Trust me. There is no worse poem for one to have stuck in a fevered brain than the Rime of the goddamned Ancient Mariner. (HTML version courtesy of the Samuel Taylor Coleridge Archive, Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia.)

At one point, my poor sick brain chose to obsess over the mathematical perfection of the Fibonacci Sequence, for some reason...

And I'd swear that Johnny Ramone rose from the grave just long enough to accuse me of being a communist-- and to make out with the mirage of a psycho ex that I haven't seen in years...

That's all I remember. Three days' worth of life gone, never to return.

I'm not even sure which day was which, actually.

* * * *

Thank goodness I have a decent enough immune system and that I'm in relatively good health most of the time.

The obscure math and literature I can handle. The obscure bits of film imagery melding with memories I can handle. But I don't think I could stomach watching one of my dead guitar heroes making out with T___ again.

Watching it in Fevervision, in vivid widescreen Technicolor, almost made me vomit.

She really did kiss like a bulldog sucks on a porkchop.

* * * *

By the time the fever and the visions had subsided, I started to realize that, well, you know, the whole thing could've (possibly) been avoided with just one trip to the doctor for a flu shot.

Not that I'd actually get one, but I could've gotten one.

Saturday, I celebrated St. Patrick's Day by shaving for the first time in a week, getting dressed, and leaving my apartment for the first time in four days.

The sun was shining, the air crisp and untainted by Madame Influenza. I went grocery shopping, replenished my supply of over-the-counter meds, and bought cigarettes.

And then I returned to my tiny apartment, crawled back into bed, and went to sleep.

In bed by six on a Saturday night. The sun was still shining as I let the nighttime flu medicine carry me away to Sleepyland.

* * * *

It's been one whole week since Madame Influenza decided that she wanted to dance.

We're still dancin', but I'm the one filling out the dance card. I should be back to full strength in the next few days.

I guess I was due for a good reminder that, well, it's the smallest of things in the world, things like viruses and bacteria, protons and neutrons, that truly control the universe.

And those small things, those microscopic titans, can make all of Mankind their bitch whenever they want.

- # # # -


KFigment said...

10 years and you forgot the magic cure. 4 vitamin C, 2 NyQuil tablets, 4 asprin, all washed down with a cup of nice warm theraflu. Now you shake your head in disgust but who was out of bed the next day?

The ZenFo Pro said...

Oh...I didn't forget that, chica...

Just no desire to, lol, die. Good gawd that was awful, almost as bad as that shitty aromatherapy crap.

Lmao! Next day?!? Do you mean "next day" as in "after being in a coma for 48 hours" next day?


zydeco fish said...

I hope you get back to full strength soon. It's amazing what happens to one's brain when the flu strikes.

Woeful said...

Yep, there has been some serious shit going around this year... I didn't get it but I've seen it, and I don't want any part of it.

Welcome back Zenfo Pro!

xboxgirl said...

Oh,you poor sweety,I also hope you get back to full strenght soon {and gezzs,I hope the one talking about mixing NyQuil,asprin and a cup of theraflu [and actually recommending someone ingest the stuff all at once] was joking}.... p.s taking 1 or 2 vitamin C's, at the very first hint of a cold or flu, seams to help{though,could be a placebo}.

xboxgirl said...

Oh,you poor sweety,I also hope you get back to full strenght soon {and gezzs,I hope the one talking about mixing NyQuil,asprin and a cup of theraflu [and actually recommending someone ingest the stuff all at once] was joking}.... p.s taking 1 or 2 vitamin C's, at the very first hint of a cold or flu, seams to help{though,could be a placebo}.

The ZenFo Pro said...

Hey, thanks. Yeah, this one's a real bastard. I'm about 90% recovered, but I still can barely make it through a full day at work.

Lol, yep.

Absolutely nightmarish crap. Knock on wood, I hope ya don't.

Hey, thanks, too :) Nope, no joke. That was once the "cure" I was suckered into taking as an 18 year old college freshman. Actually, there was also two Sudafed and I think an Advil involved, as well.

Lol, I did many dumb things at Northern Colorado as a dorm rat - that was one of the mild ones.

(Kfig was one of my sophomore year roommates...lord, she and the others are the reason I could never run for president...the blackmail would be just too damned expensive ;)

Chewie said...

i remember that damn flu and that horrible remedy that kfig gave us.. but then hell we were so sick and out of it we would have taken just about anything to feel better... glas to see you are back on your feet and we need to talk about a certian event in may my good friend

EsotericWombat said...

I dunno. I've always appreciated Coleridge better when I'm in an altered state. That is, after all, how it was all written. Or at least conceived

Anonymous said...

Darn, you would, at the very very least, have been the best looking president that ever lived :)

xboxgirl said...

Whoops, I forgot to put my name in above.

HC said...

I agree with anon. :) Hey are you going to be out tomorrow night? I'm hoping yopu're feelin better too.

Saw you in the library today. Waved but i don't think you saw my spaz ass.

cooper said...

I hope this comment finds you feeling better Jason.

Influenza sucks.

Fluid, fluid, fluid.

The non-alcoholic type.

Critical Darling said...

Maybe it's selfish, but I'm glad I wasn't the only one stuck in my apartment all of St. Pat's weekend. I wrote two papers and must have (re)read 400 pages or so. I started crying at one point out of sheer exhaustion and cabin fever. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is something like 'my thoughts and prayers are with you...' You probably don't care about prayers though because you are a fucking commie.

The ZenFo Pro said...

Lol, yeah...probably would've eaten glass back then to aleve the pain...

Heh, I've only ever been able to understand Coleridge in an altered state...

Lol, sure ;P What about Kennedy? Now he was a hottie...

And hell, I'de probably do Jefferson, given the chance...

I've been taking it easy b/c of the flu thing, but I may see ya around. Lol, waving? Ya could just say hi :)

Hey thanks, chica :) Yup, feeling better, slowly but surely. Now I'm just playing catch-up at work. Missing four days took a toll - and now my boss, the decision-maker, has the flu...

Hey,er...tequila's not a medicine?!? :P

Lol, no not selfish. Glad I'm not the only one, too.

And, hey, chica, I can usually take all the prayers I can get :D

xboxgirl said...

Well,I should hasten to add, you are also way better looking then any of the dead presidents(including Kennedy and Jefferson) :)

Steph said...

You have blog groupies. ;)

Get well soon.

Kimberly said...

Hi. The groupie comment is funny shit. Just wanted to let you know that if you're ever down in Cincinnati I'm always available for a quick fuck. probly shouldn't post this from work but i just thought i'd add that. you really are adorable :-)

The ZenFo Pro said...

Lol, thanks :)

Lol...gracias. Yup, doing much better.

Thanks, um, I guess. Lol, yeah, probably not a good idea... :D

Liz said...

Wow--sorry you went through that. You didn't happen to eat any catfood or dogfood did you? zydeco fish is worried that people may eat the rat poison that the corporate scum let get put into cans of pet food.

Carla said...

i had that earlier. 3 weeks influenza... hallucinating etc. all the negativities came to attack me. awful. :P

hope you're better now. :)

The ZenFo Pro said...

Lol, no worries, chica. Better now. But lord, when I get sick, I get sick. I tried explaining to folks that working in a college setting is akin to working in Sub-Saharan Africa - college students carry more diseases than your average student population or Ugandan village.

Lol, I quit eating dog food months ago :)

Oh lord...nasty, isn't it? It's finally starting to burn itself out here, though there are still several people at work sick with it.