When I got home from my trip Monday afternoon I very quickly succumbed to some sort of sickness I must have picked up on one of the many planes or trains or subways I've been on in the past few weeks - the kind of sickness I feel I'd never otherwise get except for the travel, spending a lot of time in small spaces with the multitudes, observing humanity, including sharing their germs, compounded by my body being not quite up to fighting strength due to a rather hectic schedule. This is the kind of sickness I feel people only get in sitcoms, a kind of vague mishmash of symptoms, including fever, sore throat, coughing, headache, chills, nausea and aches - the kind of thing you see some actor playing out on screen and say, "It's never really like that when you get sick." Except for having the flu, which I've been lucky enough to avoid since childhood, my sick spells are usually more pointed, more specific. A head cold. Food poisoning. A sinus infection. Not everything all at once.
Because I realize that this is a clear signal my body is sending me to just sit still for a few days (and because I can't really do otherwise without falling over) I've done a completely decent job of staying home sick the past couple of days. Watching movies in bed, sleeping a lot, drinking lots of fluids, barely moving. Trying to let myself heal. Trying to stay upbeat, which is rather difficult.
Around 4 am this morning, for instance, I woke up with a piercing pain in my right ear, the demons clogging my system having decided to take up residence there for a while, I suppose, resulting in an earache that lasted for several hours. An earache, for Christ's sake! I never even suffered earaches as a youngster, as so many children do, but I now understand why they cry like that, those poor kids - the pain - and the next time I see a child plagued by ear infections I'm going to go right out and by him or her a pony.
Because I am sick, and therefore a total pain in the ass, I sort of passively woke up J - who has been an absolute angel - by kicking my legs about in bed and moaning quietly and proclaiming that my fever was back and not only that but I had an earache and also I was dying. He turned over and told me that everything was going to be alright, that I had to "fight this with a positive attitude," before he drifted back to sleep.
I lay there in bed a few moments, contemplating throwing another tantrum, this time with wildly flailing limbs and proclamations about how "this just isn't fair!" but I realized that, actually, it is fair. I've had an amazing time of it lately, seeing friends and and family and traveling, and if the payment is nothing more than sitting around the house watching movies and daytime television for a few days while being alternately very hot then very cold and sometimes not being able to hear out of my right ear, well, I can handle that. And I can even try, as J suggested, to handle it with a somewhat positive attitude, or at least stop the moaning. Ok, at least stop the moaning in the middle of the night. There's no need to stifle my complaints, to try and be all that positive in the middle of the day, really, when there's no one around to hear me.