Friday, January 18, 2013

back from the dead.

I just got over the flu A (the "mild" one).  And I would like to state this for the record: Its name does not suffice.  I don't care if "flu" is short for "influenza".  That does it no justice.

To briefly recount my flu experience:
(And if you think I'm exaggerating, I'm NOT!)
     For days I writhed on a futon, not wanting to eat, play video games, write, watch tv, or even have the tv turned on.
     For days my body's surface reached temperatures comparable to ground-zero of an atomic blast in the earth's core (if the earth were being consumed by the sun (and the sun went into super-nova)) and yet I felt like my every pore was being roughly penetrated by fourteen-inch icicles.
     For days I listened to Simon's footsteps, pattering through the house, knowing he could do little more than peer into the darkness of my quarantined office through the barely cracked doorway, gradually forgetting I exist.  When I attempted to say his name - in the rare instances that I opened my mouth to do something besides cough up what felt like knotted lengths of razor wire - I found that my voice had been reduced to the ripping croak of a zombie bullfrog.  Unable to hear my cries, my wife, son and dog soon forgot me.
     I began to waste away.  The palor of my skin lost any semblance of life and became a mottled sheet, wound ruthlessly around my gaunt skeleton.  My sleeve of saltines depleted.  Then went my water.  I prepared to die.
     I'd been living off stale crumbs picked from my grey-streaked beard when a fly landed on my tongue.  With every bit of effort I could muster, I closed my lips.
     Then I swallowed.   
     After that it was only a matter of luring flies to my gaped mouth during the brief windows between seizures of coughing and hacking.  The bedpan had long since been forgotten - I was no longer taking in fluids, therefore... you get the idea - but it served as a breeding ground for the fat, green and purple flies that sustained me.
     My fever subsided, but not without draining all my strength... and some of my sanity.
     Weeks passed and new life came about in that forgotten office.  Springing up from the shadows in the corners or the cracks beneath the window sill came spiders, mice, and creatures far less savory.  Gradually I developed strategies for capturing and devouring them all, which was all the more cunning considering I didn't have even the energy to lift a finger.  By flicking my eyelashes or beard, I would taunt and trick the pests until they were in range then swooop! them into my mouth in a single inhale.
     It occurred to me that I'd been gluttonous before, always stuffing my face until my skin tightened and my bones hid.  I became efficient, taking in only what I needed.  My body learned, shedding weight from fat, muscle, bone and even certain unmentionables.  What I lost in stature, I gained back ten-fold.  I became a machine of survival.  After months of self-pruning, I found I could again lift my arms.  It was several days before I attempted to stand and when I did, I fell.  I realized life on two legs was a thing of the past.  Hunched on all fours, I stalked the office, scouring the shadows for what prey might be caught.  My shriveled feet and hands were silent, my arms and legs as thin as shower curtain rods and bent at odd angles over my streamlined remains.  My ribs had shrunk and transformed to enclose what few functions my body truly needed... namely:  Digestion.
     When I was finally able to turn the office's doorknob, I was met immediately by our dog Jax.  The look in his eyes betrayed his disgust at my new appearance.  Before I realized what I'd done, I'd sunk my teeth into his neck and dragged him back into the office.  I was hungrier than I'd realized!
     I decided it was time to again meet the family.

And that's what the flu was like.

1 comment:

prove your humanity and engage