Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Chinese Flu

It came quickly and unannounced. A few people in the group were already sick, but those cases seemed typical of travel, which mine may have been too. It started with aches and pains, sore muscles in my neck and lower back, until I was bed bound, literally. To add insult to injury, I inadvertently weened myself from caffeine -I just didn't have it in me to go down to the store, and besides the only thing to easily supplement coffee are these knock-off frappucino things. 

I got sick on Sunday night. Wednesday was a complete wash because I slept through it. The only thing I managed to do was ride my bike to base in the morning. I debated whether I should walk instead because the world seemed unstable. I skyped my Mom (registered nurse) for health advice, and she diagnosed my condition as the flu. Whew! A lot of strange ideas go through your head when you're sick in a foreign country, especially when you're lying in bed in a strange taxi-cab apartment for hours on end. I found myself asking questions like: what is the avian bird flu exactly? How do you know when your fever is beyond a manageable temperature? At what point do people decide to go to the hospital when they're sick? Where is all this water going? Is this headache from the caffeine?

Thursday things began looking up -I could feel slight improvement. I began eating again (wednesday was just a banana) and went out a few times to get stuff from the grocery store. Sleeping is now sweat-lodge like, but I resist uncovering myself because I remember seeing a special on the discovery channel about how the body naturally develops a fever when fighting a virus or something, because the higher temperature creates a hostile environment, making it easier to kill the foreign operators. Now when I wake up soaked in sweat, I just think, die you mofo's! And I ride it out. 

The flu has continued to sweep through the rest of the group. At least 13 0r 14 out of the 23-person lot is sick. On many levels this fascinating, for one thing it is amazing how a disease can infiltrate a group of people. Then there are those who are still healthy. They are the ones who would survive if this was something more than the flu, unscathed. Damn you! 

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