As I was heading home from work last Tuesday evening, a wave of dizziness hit me so hard that I clutched the wall of a building for support.
When I recovered, I looked around surreptitiously, terribly embarrassed. Had anybody seen me do that? I sincerely hoped not. I didn’t want anyone to think I was drunk.
And then I felt it. I can’t really describe it, but it’s the feeling I’ve come to recognize as my temperature going up... and up... and up.
I wonder what the thermometer’s going to tell me when I get home, I thought to myself.
What it told me was 102.1 degrees Fahrenheit.
I emailed in sick to work and went straight to bed, hoping that a night and a day of solid rest would do the trick.
No such luck.
My doctor doesn’t have office hours on Wednesdays. So by late Wednesday afternoon, when I realized I needed medical attention, my dear friend and neighbor, N., went with me to the local branch of Terem, the emergency clinic.
The waiting room was empty when we arrived. I barely had time to get settled in my seat when I was called for the intake process.
After various tests, including a whole blood count, and an examination by one of the physicians on duty, I was given my diagnosis: viral infection. The treatment: painkillers to keep the fever down.
N. and I went to the nearby pharmacy, where I bought the meds. Then we went home, and I went to bed... but not to sleep.
Weird images kept popping through my head. A recent project kept popping up on a screen in my mind. Words and headings and HTML code jumbled in front of my eyes as I tried to sort them out, then watched helplessly as the job grew exponentially. Under other circumstances, it might have been amusing, even entertaining. Here, it was just more stress... and true sleep never came that night.
I got some sleep the next day and tried to eat. I say “tried” because I realized that my body just didn’t want food. In fact, the thought of food made my gorge rise just a little. But I forced myself to eat and drink, knowing that if I didn’t, I would just get worse.
And get worse I did. By the next evening – Thursday – N. and I were back at Terem, where I got an infusion of fluids.
Back home a few hours later, I had another sleepless night.
In the morning, I finally read the information sheet that came with the pain meds I had been given... and the list of possible side effects was ghastly. And guess what – they included “vision or hearing disturbances; seeing/hearing strange things.”
Friday was a little better. N. picked up some oranges and lemons for me so that I could make homemade drinks to keep up my electrolytes. (Recipes on request.) I made a few, got them down and felt much better.
On Shabbat, I drank much more than I ate. And I rested. Boy, did I rest. My friend L. came to visit me, and N. and I spent time together, too. At one point, I asked N. if I could sample some of her cola (in a separate glass, of course!). I hardly ever drink cola – but this time, when I did, my foggy brain seemed to clear. Coincidence or caffeine?
Then she offered me a small ice-cream pop. I hardly ever eat ice-cream pops, even though I am fond of them, but this time I decided to say yes. It was delicious.
So my body was starting to accept food without a struggle, and my brain was clearing – both good signs.
So what’s going on now? I still have a fever, but it’s much lower than it was, and I feel better than I’ve felt in days.
Here’s hoping for continued improvement.
But I’m still curious: what on earth is this bug?
And when is it finally going to go away?