Thanks to Alex Grey (http://alexgrey.com)

16

There is something mysterious and confusing about illness.  Life takes on a different reality when the body has to contend with an invading virus or bacterium.  My consciousness through fever is changed.  I become remote from the world.  My body feels as if it is in a different plane, not quite here, not quite somewhere else, and not quite wanting to be inhabited.  My brain loses its ability to focus in the normal way, diverted from its intended directions by pain, cold sweats, and that wonderful French condition: malaise: illness, accompanied by dissatisfaction, discontent.  A perfect condition for mid-November.

Illness of any kind makes me withdraw, go within, and deal with the demons that the state of being ill brings to the front of consciousness.  The sun came up this morning and the cat sat on my head, waiting for breakfast.  My only focus was on how long I could stay curled up on my bed heater, under my down blankets, buried in warmth and not being.  If I am warm and asleep I can escape into dreams and not experience the joint pain that pokes insistently at my fingers and elbows and shoulders and knees and feet.  I can escape the congestion that makes me just slightly hypoxic and fuzzes reality into nothing but the warmth of the bed heater.

I can levitate in the bed there, the body in the throes of the virus is not really subject to the rules of physics in this universe.  The rules are made by the virus and its universe.  Not quite influenza, not quite an upper respiratory irritation, just pain and congestion.  This virus likes being suffocated, likes to fight for breath.  Panting makes it hot and happy.  I sent it into the depth of my cells to languish and fight for its life when I went outside to continue cutting down the hayfield that my late garden has become and continue getting it ready for winter.

The virus makes my vision abhor the brightness of the afternoon sun and the beauty inherent in the light angles the late-day-sun makes in November.  The virus hates the feeling of warmth against my skin and clothes and makes me sweat unbearably.  I blink painful salty sweat out of my already streaming eyes.   It is some kind of nightmare; it is also me, my persona, saying to the virus:  “I AM! Take that! Go back where you came from!”  The virus responds by putting needles and knives my joints and my belly, sending me back my refuge on the bed heater.

Cats up the ante with the heat by joining me and making an uncomfortable sandwich of heat on heat.  Sweat pools around me.  Brain says:  “You’ve gotta change these sheets.”  “F*** off, Brain.  I’m busy being ill.”  Cat butts my nose and an electrical charge runs up between my eyes and into the center of my brain.  Fireworks behind my eyes.  Don’t mess with the virus until it’s run its course and is finished its life cycle.

All illness is a kind of delirium.  A loss of control of thoughts and actions – an ecstasy of pain, and shivering, and confusion.  Who am I?  Where am I?  A point of light on the universal grid intersecting with the point of light of some alien virus.   I wish I could stay here forever; I wish it were over NOW.  How strange illness is.  My body and brain are both aliens, being from other times, places and senses.  I float above my body – my mind swathed in the down blankets on the bed heater, while my fingers, friendly with pain, tap away on the keyboard.

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