I never get sick. Ever. I don’t get colds or the flu. I’ve never had a broken bone and I’ve never been in a car accident, and until just recently, when I had Fester evicted from my back, I’d never even had stitches. And this is good because my mind has had plenty of ailments from the day I was born. To me this is an even trade-off.
I am quick to scoff at health warnings in that way the untouched can be arrogant and take the good fortune of health for granted. The year was 2009. The warning was regarding the H1N1 flu strain. The people most likely to come down with this wicked strain are the quite healthy youngish men who do not normally get sick. I furrowed my brow at the warning and thought, “I’m not a baby. I won’t get this thing because my body simply won’t allow it.” I have tiger blood and my organs are made of airplane back box material. Even my pee can eat through porcelain–thus the stainless steel prison-style toilet at home. My blood, if rubbed on the eyes of the blind, can make them see again, and if my tears are collected during a full moon they can cure leprosy. My eyelashes are ground up and sold in China for vast sums as a cure for baldness and impotence. So a flu strain was hardly cause for me to cower. If this flu comes near me, I will turn it over my knee, spank it, and send it to bed with no supper.
I did consider getting the vaccine, though. I was curious about whether a needle could penetrate my skin. But I never got the chance. I work in a group home and part of my shift is an overnight sleep shift. I awoke at work about 4 a.m. My body was wide awake and on high alert. I didn’t feel sick but I knew something was wrong. I could sense it. I had a buzzing feeling all over. Even my hair felt strange. I got up and made coffee, did a bit of paperwork and then got the guys up and finished my shift. I took the bus home. It was a cloudy day with low-hanging clouds that make the world feel a little claustrophobic, and a light rain had begun to fall.
Just a few blocks from home the fever started to hit me and my throat felt weird. And then the bus broke down. I had never had this happen before, but I was grateful I was a short distance from home. I walked gingerly as my body felt increasingly strange. I now recognize that I was getting sick, but I had almost no point of reference for such a thing so I just kept asking myself, “What in the fuckity fuck is going on?” I made it into the apartment and was in pretty bad shape by then. I wasn’t sure what to do so I waited to see what would happen next. And so began over a week of intense illness that had me weeping and scared. Really scared.
Part 2 coming soon.