February 03, 2002

In Sickness and In Health

I'm probably jinxing myself by writing this, but I realized last week that I have thus far survived the winter without getting even remotely ill. *A-Choo!* *A-Choo!* *Cough, cough!*

As unusual as it may seem, this winter I have yet to suffer a cold, flu, pneumonia, or even really bad gas. Okay, I may have been reaching on that last one.

Still, whereas I haven't had so much as a lousy sniffle, vast numbers of my friends, family and co-workers have all been dropping faster than Enron stock in December. Again I may be reaching; nothing could drop faster than Enron stock in December, except possibly the career of Tom Green.

Now, I am by no means complaining about my apparently robust constitution. Obviously, I'd rather be healthy than suffer the alternative. Even so, a nice little bout with a weak cold would at least give me something to complain about, and I do so enjoy complaining about things. It would also be nice to have a legitimate excuse to miss work, rather than the annoying ritual of showing up on time every day.

I didn't always enjoy such an invincible immune system. I remember way back to my early elementary school days, when I had to stay home from school because I was suffering from what my parents called the flu, but what I called "forcefully vomiting, followed by convulsive chills and borderline delirium."

I also remember one time when my temperature had soared to just below "evaporation," when my parents poured rubbing alcohol on me to try to bring my temperature down. I don't know how solid that medical thinking was, but I do know that a body racked with chills does not respond favorably to the freezing touch of rubbing alcohol. My writhing screams, I believe, easily surpassed Linda Blair's performance in The Exorcist.

During my college years, it was quite common for me to endure regular bouts of tonsillitis. In retrospect, my health probably suffered substantially during that time due to long weekends of, um, studying, and drinking, um, Fruitopia.

For those without tonsillitis, I should explain that, when visited by my old friend tonsillitis, my tonsils became inflamed, white and pussy, and, try as I might, it was almost impossible to swallow without experiencing pain akin to ingesting a flaming charcoal briquette. Oh, and my mother was always quick to add that my breath smelled like I had taken to eating vast amounts of decaying things.

So, I would drag myself to the local hospital, where I believed doctors played rock, paper scissors to decide who the unlucky soul would be who had to peer into my mouth and whiff the foulness emanating from the back of my throat. I would then be prescribed penicillin, and a few days later I would be fine, until three weeks later when the tonsillitis returned. Tonsillitis has a funny sense of humor like that.

My final battle with tonsillitis took place during the summer of 1997. I remember the year fondly, because that was the year my tonsillitis teamed up with a young upstart illness called Mono. The reason it's called Mono is because you only want to get it once. The ancient Egyptians, I believe, called Mono "ralthofablumacus," which, loosely translated, means "You'd rather be mummified."

No, seriously, Mono still retains its crown as the number one most rotten illness I've ever had the displeasure of suffering. Mono is also called the "Kissing Disease," and I made several silent vows to place a flaming bag of dog poo on the doorstep of the young women whom I knew dealt me the awful bug.

I actually don't remember much about my experience with Mono, except that I probably sweat off 80 pounds of water weight and dreamt visions so bizarre most of the narcotic trips taken by hippies in the 60s likely seem tame by comparison. I also vaguely remember a regular ritual of filling the bath tub with water as hot as it could get each time my body became unbearably chilled. I would then soak until my skin looked like tomato paste. I did that about every four hours. The only good thing I can say about Mono is that I haven't had tonsillitis since.

In retrospect, I guess being perpetually healthy isn't such a bad thing, and I suppose I could always fake an illness should I desire a day off. Still, I really would like something to complain about, like those despicable Enron executives, and that horrible Tom Green. Those guys make me sick. *A-Choo!* A-Choo!* *Cough, cough!*

Posted by Ryan at February 3, 2002 02:03 PM | TrackBack
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