I don’t get sick very often, this is true. I am very lucky in that respect. I did note that in the years I was going back to school, I was a lot more likely to get a cold or whatever, but even that just lasted a day or two. And I’m not in school right now. But these last three weeks are, as far as I can remember, the sickest I have ever been in my life. If that isn’t something I should document here on my website, I don’t know what is. So here are the gross details:
Phase One: February 26 to March 4
This was the point when I just felt like it was the usual kind of sickness that comes up every year or two. I had a cough, but I was just going to tough it out until it was over, as I usually do. Although I did note that I had a very sore back, which was making it hard to sleep, but for all I knew, I had pulled a muscle. I couldn’t even be sure the sore back was connected to the cough. There was, I admit, one night while, after making a delivery for work, I drove back to my apartment because I thought I might vomit. I didn’t vomit, though, so I figured it was probably okay. I mean, I had my flu shot. How bad could this be?
Saturday March 4
This was the night when the pain got to be too much even for my patented “ignore it until it goes away” technique. There was a sharp, stabbing pain with any inhalation deep enough to actually fill my lungs, and when I inhaled for a cough, it could cause me to fall over. I not only decided to take the night off of work, but actually went to the hospital for the first time that didn’t involve blood or broken bits in at least fifteen years. I am the sort who hates to burden a hospital with my presence (aka, who feels guilty when a hospital has to do its purpose for me), but I still went in, my pain was that bad. They took me in, did the x-rays, examined me with the various things they have. They gave me pills. In the end I don’t remember exactly what they said I had (there was some pneumonia in there and some other stuff), but the phrase “chest is full of viruses” was part of it. They recommended a kind of anti-inflammatory medicine for me to pick up. I was in and out in under five hours, which seemed good from my understanding of hospital wait times. I admit that getting to the pharmacy to pick up the pills wasn’t fun, but I did it and got home. (As a side-note that I am not about to give its own post, during the Phase One week I witnessed a car accident and while I was in the waiting room this night, a police officer came to take my statement. Made the time go more quickly. I recommend this when you plan hospital visits.)
End of Phase One: March 5
On Sunday the 5th, I just took it easy. I didn’t go into work, and I just lay in bed, in pain, unable to sleep. I was mildly confident that my pills would fix me up, if I could just get some sleep, which is how I usually deal with sickness. But sleep is not coming. I can not stay down for more than an hour at a time, and each session of sleep is full of strange dreams. In one of my dreams I was some sort of starfish-like blob that was part of a hivemind. In another I was a rhino-like animal that was being mutated with some kind of biological modifications and moving in a convoy with other similar animals to some strange goal. If I were told that I was dreaming the viruses’ dreams, I would believe it. It was all very strange and very tiring.
Monday March 6
At about four in the morning I awoke with extreme pain, the worst yet. I considered calling for an ambulance, it was so bad, but instead I made it to the bathroom, where I would be spending a lot of time in the coming days. At this point I began keeping notes on my phone of what was happening. I guess I wanted to be sure that if I died, my last hours would be described. I spend a lot of Monday in the bathroom.
Tuesday March 7
Tuesday is a similar day to Monday (in fact, with the lack of sleep it was essentially the same day) with lots of pain and lots of sitting on the bathroom floor. At one point I did sleep for an hour or so and have a dream in which I had a HUD display on my vision that gave me details about my health. I was disappointed to learn this was not true when I woke up. This is, for the record, the day I start spitting down the drain almost more often than I swallow my own saliva, in the hopes that I will be getting some of the infection out of me every time. Who knows if it helped any.
Wednesday March 8
Wednesday started off in the same way, but at about 9:40 in the morning, something good happened: I vomitted! A reading of my various illnesses catalogued on this site will reveal that I don’t generally consider it good to vomit, but I do consider the vomit here to have been a turning point toward getting better. And, as always, I have marked the date so I will be able to calculate how long my next vomitless streak is. Anyway, having puked, I feel a little better. My notes say that I am starting to find it more possible to lay comfortably in bed. Also this afternoon I go to the grocery store to get some supplies, though I note that the trip leaves me sweating and out of breath. I also noted that four times on Wednesday my body tried to sneeze, but at the sudden inhalation, my lungs felt the great pain and panicked and I was unable to sneeze. Four times.
Phase Three Begins: Thursday March 9 to Saturday March 11
By Thursday the pain in my back was basically gone. The pain in my lung was better, but still present. I could not breathe deeply, but I was definitely improved. I was essentially over the worst of it. But it was still bad. I still could not sleep for any amount of time. And my lungs were still problematic. You know when you suddenly become aware of your breathing and you have to consciously control it for a while until you can forget it and it goes back on the unconscious controls. By this point, I was realizing that I felt like I had been on conscious control of my lungs for a week. It was exhausting. Also during this phase I began trying to cleanse my lungs by initiating deep coughing fits in the hopes that it will bring up what is in my lungs. I do this until I am slumped on the floor, aching in muscles I didn’t even know were involved with coughing. At no point does this ever work, but it feels like the only thing to do, so I keep trying.
Sunday March 12
On Sunday, I got a call from the doctor I had seen a week earlier. They had reviewed my x-rays from my visit and decided to check up on me, and to give me a prescription for anti-biotics. I start taking these pills immediately thinking this time I am for sure going to get better.
The Rest of Phase Three
And so that’s how it was for the second week. I wasn’t in pain anymore, so in my mind I should be better and able to walk around and do things, but nope. I was still dizzy and short of breath. I still went into coughing fits that never seemed to clear my lungs. It wasn’t until Saturday the 18th that I was well enough that I could work (I missed eight shifts in total, and am therefore broker even than usual). Even now I am not at 100%. My prescription has run out, but I went to the pharmacist and was recommended some gross syrup medicine that will hopefully help me chase away the remains of the cough.
Anyway, as I am sure I have already said, this is the most sick I have ever been. I feel like other people probably deal with this sort of thing more often and I am a weakling for buckling under so thoroughly, but I couldn’t help it. This has also been my least productive month in years. Keeping in mind that all the posts that have gone up in this time were scheduled months ago, so this post is the first real writing I have done since February. Even reading was too much for me for most of the month. But I am back on track. Now let’s hope I never ever get sick again.
The Residents of the Siich
On a planet called Siich, there is a species of small flying creatures that refer to themselves, in their language, as “The Residents of Siich”. They are not particularly inventive at naming things (Siich is essentially their word for “the World”). They are born in clumps of eggs belonging to a community, with no attention paid to parentage, and each individual is assigned a task at birth and named for it. This task is all they are trained for, and all they care about.
All three of today’s examples come from the same community on Siich, but there is not a drastic amount of difference between this community and others.
The Alarmer is a young Resident. It’s job is to patrol the community’s territory and, if anything is amiss, to raise the alarm about it. Appropriate for that task, the Alarmer is a workaholic who forgoes its own well-being in the name of better serving the community. For the moment, this is fine, as the Alarmer is full of youthful energy, but what will happen when it ages and grows weaker and cannot continue to push its body to the limits?
The Robber is the community’s professional thief. It go into other territory owned by other communities and steals their resources, be it food or livestock or materials. The Robber is not stealthy, though, or it would be the Burglar. The Robber will confront and threaten its targets unless it gets what it wants. With no reason to question the ethics of what it does, the Robber goes about the work with glee.
The Interpreter is a representative of the more peaceful contact between communities. Learning the languages of other communities, the Interpreter translates messages received and to be sent in the interests of trade or diplomacy. As a result of this job, the Interpreter is more understanding of other cultures than most Residents. The Interpreters in most communities are often the Residents that are most desirous of creating a lasting peace on the planet.
A Fact About The Residents of the Siith: The Residents can not take off from a standing position and need to climb to a branch or a cliff and jump off to begin flying.
Planet Horhut is, to put it mildly, not a great place. It is ruled by a dense bureaucracy that has no concern for the ecological well-being of the planet’s biosphere. The pollution is terrible and life for the lower tiers of the societal hierarchy is a maddening trial.
Rather than slithering like a snake, Horhutans move by flexing their scales in a wave pattern that conveys them along. When not moving, they position themselves in an upright manner that lets them stand about as tall as humans. They have a large sense organ on the top of their heads, which is based on seeing magnetic waves. They have two arms that have claws that they can lock onto whatever they are holding.
Little Choy once insulted a Horhutan.
Naynik is a Horhutans of a reasonably high social tier, not super rich, but also not forced to dwell in squalor the way most of the populace is. Still, it isn’t a great life. There are so many rules that one must follow or lose face that Naynik is constantly stressed out and worried about making a misstep.
Veadivo is employed at an information office, inputting data incessantly into the government’s databases. As is desired by the government, this job has destroyed any traces of interesting personality in Veadivo and co-workers.
Irxadan dreams of a better world. Why must we toil endlessly in meaningless tasks? As far as Irxadan can tell, the only reason it is done is to tire the Horhutans and prevent them from meaningful tasks. Irxadan would love for this to change, but can’t think of any way to change it, and anyway, is too busy working in a factory that makes whips that rich Horhutans can use to hurt poor ones.
A Fact About Horhutans: There was a time when Horhutans created space probes with the intention to explore their galaxy. After doing that for a while, they got bored of it. The government did not find anything interesting quickly enough to justify spending resources, so they not only cancelled the program but went so far as to remove evidence that it had ever existed, because they didn’t want to admit that they’d made a mistake. The probes they made were actually very well designed, however, and may still be out there collecting information that nobody on Horhut is going to gather.