One of the most frustrating things about getting sick for me is that it’s not a linear process. Ideally, I would feel the bug, get sick for three days, then slowly recover until the point of being OK. It seems like most people go through something like that, but, me? No. I gotta be different, even in this. I feel completely exhausted for a week or two, but not sick per se. It’s like a physical depression. And it’s frustrating as hell. It’s also embarrassing to talk about because I feel like an impostor. I’m not really sick, so I should just suck it up.
It’s similar to my gluten and dairy sensitivities or whatever you want to call them. I’m not allergic to either, not technically, but if I just say I’m sensitive, I’m worried that people won’t take me seriously. A better example is that I get migraine headaches, but I’m wary of calling them that. Why? Because if you say that online, you’ll be deluged with so many people telling you why what you have isn’t a migraine and how they have it so much worse. Yes, I know that’s the nature of the beast. Anonymous people on the internet finding ways to feel superior, but it’s annoying as fuck, even if it isn’t directed at me personally (I never talk about this stuff on forums. I know better).
Here’s how I would describe the way I know I’m getting a migraine: the world starts losing color, and my body starts shutting down. The former is literal, but the latter is figurative. Everything starts getting less bright, and my body feels as if it’s drawing inward. If I take two or three Excedrin Migraine pills in time, I can stave off the worst of it and feel OK in a few hours. I get the aura sometimes, but not all the time.
On the internet, this is not enough. If you can mitigate the pain ahead of time, it’s not a Real Migraine. I’ve read this time and time again, and it’s enough to make me tight-lipped about my own experiences. Never mind that ‘migraine’ is a broad category–hell, you don’t even have to have the headache to have a migraine–if you don’t fall into a proscribed description, then what you have Isn’t A Migraine according to the powers that be. Funnily enough, my BFF’s daughter has the same experience I have, and her doctor says what she’s experiencing is a migraine. If she takes Excedrin Migraine in time, she’s fine in a couple of hours, just like me.
I’m being sarcastic when I say I don’t really have migraines because I know that’s what they are. When it comes to being sick, however, I do feel as if I’m not really and truly sick if I’m not puking my guts out or if I don’t have a temperature of 103. This stems from when I was a kid, those were the only two ways I could stay home from school. I remember holding a thermometer to a lamp once to try to ‘prove’ I was sick, but that didn’t turn out well. The problem was, I never threw up unless I made myself, and I have a base temperature of roughly 97.1, so it never looked as if I had a real temperature.
By the way, I’ve never had a satisfying response from a doctor about whether or not 99.1 would be a temperature for me. I’ve Googled it, but it doesn’t seem to be a point of interest. It makes sense to me that if 103 is a high temperature for someone who is base 98.6, then for me, anything over 101 would be a high temp. And, as a kid, if 101 was a concern for a ‘normal’ child, then 99 should be a concern for me. I can’t seem to find any studies on this, however, so I’ll begrudgingly let it go.
Anyway, after two weeks of exhaustion (during this current iteration of illness), I was hit with three days of what I call the cruds–feverish, sore nose, scabby ears (maybe a sign of sinus issues), and actual sleep. That’s how I can tell I’m sick, by the way; I sleep more than seven hours in one pop. I know I’m getting better once the sleep drops below that again, which is frustrating, but a handy bellwether.
Then, I slowly started getting better. Friday night, I would say I was at 80%. I actually had some energy, and I was optimistic about being on an upward trajectory. Saturday morning, I woke up, and I was wiped out. I was back to Ground Zero, and I felt like horseshit. I couldn’t go to taiji, and by Saturday night, I was hacking up a lung. Today (Sunday), I’m a bit better than last night, but I’m still coughing, and I still feel like warmed up puke.
I don’t have any pithy insights about this. I’m just tired. So fucking tired.