Down with the sickness


Tyler Murphy

My conscience slowly comes to the surface. My mind more clogged than my nasal passages.

I imagine a struggling quicksand victim whose just manage to pull their head and torso free. Exhausted and out of immediate danger they collapse on solid earth with half their body still submerged in the pit. It’s a similar moment of desperate respite a ship wrecked victim might find after swimming to shore. They excruciatingly crawl onto the beach and then pass out with the shallow tide still brushing up against them.

But instead of sand and water I toss off half a blanket and try not to fall back asleep. The alarm will sound again in about 8 minutes and I have that time to decide if I’m going to get up at all today.

I hate knowing I almost always have too.

The air is cold and stale. All the wonderful functions of the nose have been taken for granted. Being forced to breath through the mouth during a long, restless night has left my lips so chapped the skin feels like it’s cracking open. The sore throat which felt like an open wound the night before is now a choking scab.

An internal diagnostic only underestimates the affliction while I’m lying in bed. The real measure of illness is how we feel when we try to get up for the first time.

I lurch for the shower and the sheer bliss of hot running water. Breakfast is a cherry flavored cough drop and some green tea.

I attracted this pestilence sometime last week and it devoured my weekend with tissues, coughing and sweat pants. But apparently that wasn’t enough and now it’s tormenting me during the work week. The plague, where ever it originated, has swept through the office coworkers faster than the local gossip. Jeff, Melissa, Brian and Jan are among the fallen casualties, that’s nearly a 50 percent infection rate among the newspaper’s workforce in two weeks.

Hearing the chorus of sneezes and coughing fits the Evening Sun has apparently become ground zero for this year’s first seasonal infection. Maybe not.

Making a few phones calls this morning I encountered a number of strange voices answering the lines. They were the same people as usual but speaking in short, low, raspy whispers of death. Obviously we’re not the only ones.

I’ve been both a little scared and impress by the speed at which everyone from my personal and private life seems to have fallen ill within the last few weeks. The sad thing? These are but exhibition matches in the wretched sickness season.

The worst illnesses are the ones that hover between the mild and severe. Teasing your immune system just enough to keep you functional.

I must admit the compassion I’ve received from some has been more than I expected. Thank you Melissa Stagnaro and Joe Angelino for the cold medicine and tea. The joking lack of compassion for my “guppy immune system” has been equally up lifting. So thank you for the laughs Jeff Genung.

Is anyone else out there feeling the sickness?