I just helped pay some ibuprofen guy’s wage.

You probably know the feelings.

Severe chills. Headache. Nausea. Burning dry eyes.

Fabrics on the skin like sandpaper rubbing on exposed nerves.

Tendons and joints aching.

Every injury, no matter how slight or insignificant, you've ever had in your lifetime and all areas of weakness and aging in the body brought to the fore. Even the random joint in the big toe announces its presence with a dull knocking.

You feel you've been hit by a bus.

I attribute my aching joints to a jog earlier in the day (even though I jog regularly enough – or as current rainy season permits – not to be so affected).  And I attribute the body chatters to my cold, dark apartment with the chilly wood floors. So I switch on the heat.

Still unable to shake malaise, I bundle up in pajamas, robe and socks and slide beneath the bed covers, ready to sleep … at 7:45 p.m.! 

To day folks, that doesn't sound early; for me, a night owl, that's about seven hours ahead of bedtime … which would put the most of you into bed at 3 or 4 o'clock in the afternoon.

Still freezing, I draw a tub of water hot as I can stand it (pretty darn hot, thanks in part to Japan's steaming onsen and sento) and, on a whim, pull the thermometer out from the health bag.

Well, gosh durn, no wonder I feel lousy! I've got a fever of 102.

When the water turns tepid, I return to bed — at 9 p.m.! — where I stay, fading in and out of sleep, fever and thirst. No, I don't think it's the overhyped, government-created crisis swine flu. Might be a stomach flu. Or an infection in need of antibiotics.

In any case, I ride it out with ibuprofen, for inflammation and fever, and sleep. This afternoon I awaken a good distance from on top of the world but the fever's dropped to below 100. (My body temperature runs around 97, lower than average 98.6, so even 100 indicates I'm not out of the woods.)

So I take another ibuprofen with my morning's lemon-ginger tea, then more in mid-afternoon.

I'm pleased to report that I'm no longer shivering beneath a bundle of blankets. And signs of an appetite are emerging. For one food specifically:

So apparently health is on an upward trend.

 

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