I received terrible news bright and early last week. Pain in my chest rolled in like an eviction notice to my lungs. Nasal blockage caused my breathing to stilt as I woke myself with a thunderous sneeze that sent both of my sleeping cats launching through the air.
I am, in fact, undeniably sick.
The battle between the inversion, flu and cold season, and my immune system has been on the air for weeks. In the pay-per-view boxing match inside my chest of a two-to-one battle, I had bet all my money on the underdog.
I thought I could pray away any attackers by simply stating over and over again, “I don’t have time to be sick” and “I’m not sick.”
I will admit I have been sick before, but since those dark times, I have grown. I have spent many days training my defenses and having near-sick experiences. For the past year, I have had very few moments of feeling like I am sick, and when I do, they don’t last long.
This time . . . this time is different. My immune system seems to be double-teamed. The inversion knocked the air from me like a gut punch. I’ve found myself surrounded by coughing people, and I’m pretty sure that, in the night, someone has been breathing his or her sickness on my computer keyboard, my phone and every door handle.
I hate being sick for the obvious reasons, such as aches and pains, coughs and, for a student with a full schedule, the time it takes to feel well enough to do anything productive.
Being sick is much like being in a bad relationship. It calls in the middle of the night, causes you pain and headaches, and tries to get with all your friends.
I do not have time for a needy sickness. I can’t spend time being sick, watching movies and slowly nursing it away with NyQuil and orange juice. I can’t be available to leave meetings to have a coughing attack. And I absolutely cannot be available for the sleep lost at night and the sleep gained mid-afternoon next to a heating pad after a long sip of tea. I need to break up with my cold symptoms, and I need to do it fast.
I’m not sure if it is just me, but while I am sick, everything seems to go wrong. The fog in my brain causes me to be stupid and forgetful. This particular cold, soon to be ex-cold, has already taken so much from me. Not too long after it had sick-slapped me awake Thursday morning, I lost my wallet in a half-dazed walk to school. That wallet was kindly turned into the Shepherd Union Building by someone who, I assume, is not battling an illness. My friends seem hesitant to surround themselves with my sniffling company. I turned in a math assignment to my English professor, and this was not just a random homework assignment. I turned in a math assignment instead of the in-class writing assignment we had just completed 10 minutes before passing them in. How does that even happen?
Of all losses, the most severe was a new BlackBerry phone that I sent sailing off my bathroom counter and directly into my toilet while brushing my teeth. I quickly retrieved it and watched its screen flash and finally go dark. I tried to save it by putting it in a pan of rice, a trick I learned from the Internet, but alas, it has not risen.
Somewhere between Saturday’s marathon of “Malcolm in the Middle,” eating cough drops like popcorn and Sunday’s all-day nap, I wrote a very NyQuil-induced letter to my sickness. This letter was made out of a language yet to be documented by scholars, and expletives asking my cold to take a hike. Along with this letter, I may have sent some rather encrypted text messages from a $30 backup phone to some friends, ex-lovers and my parents that still need to be explained.
Although I have lost so much in this abusive relationship with sickness and the humiliation of my immune system being jumped, I still have hope. I have hope that my immune system and I will stand again and learn something from all of this, but maybe that is just the NyQuil talking.