One of the things I did on Wednesday, besides bicycling around in pouring rain to get my new contacts, was get my flu shot. The first time I did that seven years ago it left me feeling vaguely nauseated for a weekend, but I've had no trouble with it since. This time- ay caramba.
I've never been as sick in my (recollected) life. Even the nastiest stomach flu leaves your head relatively operational. This time there were all those things I've read about but never had, because I don't usually run fevers even when sick. But the deep-bone chills, the oddly superficial-feeling flushes, the unmoving aches, the not asleep but not awake confusion when you drift off, the-- I don't know what they are, fever dreams or semi-hallucinations or what, but I can live without them happily. This was a voice or maybe two having an indistinct low discussion just out of the range of my hearing, about some cipher code involving letters and numbers and small pictures, and the sheet full of the letters and numbers was there too in front of my eyes; and they wouldn't stop. Any attempt to think of anything else, or nothing at all, turned into those voices in another room, like a radio, talk-talk-talking away. I can't describe the soul-killing weariness of it. There's no word for the way the world looks in certain stages of sick, the low-grade grey horror and soul-sickness and nothing of it, but I know it exists.
I couldn't get comfortable in bed- pillows too high or too low, beanbag warmers never in the right place, and I had to keep turning from side to side because my neck and shoulders were frozen rigid, but when I tried to turn all the warmers shifted and disappeared among pillows and sheets and the duvet got clumped about my legs and dragged at them and the futon's inert weight made me feel as if I was trying to turn about in quicksand. Finally I took the warm duvet and the beanbag pillow and went into the side bedroom, threw all the clothes and stuff onto the floor, and curled up on the bed there with its blessed springs letting me thrash about as much as I pleased.
I must have gone through a litre or so of water through the night and had to keep getting up to pee, which involved some odd turnings between my darkened room and my disoriented half-awake self. Woke with my back aching- the usual effect of sleeping on the side-room mattress- and four pounds lighter. So go me, I suppose.