Fever Dreams - 04.19.99

I've luckily always been one of those people who rarely gets sick. I haven't thrown up since my sophomore year of college (and that was self-induced), and the only day of school I missed in high-school was due to a case of the contagious chicken-pox.

When I was in college, I skipped one or two classes during my four years, and they were all due to sleep deprivation and not sickness. Sure, I got the occasional nagging sore throat or cough, but nothing that really dehabilitated me to the point where I needed to stay in bed and not go through with my normal routines.

Last week, though, I had the fortune of having good reason to call in and use the first real honest-to-goodness sick day of my working career.

The day before it happened, I could tell that some sort of sickness was coming on, but I figured that it would probably just be a sore throat or something (I had experienced a sore throat about 2 weeks previously, and I thought that it might be making a comeback). Determined to thwart its progress, I started downing as much liquid as I could possibly muster at work, without having to interrupt my schedule too much with bathroom breaks.

By the end of the day, I wasn't really feeling too badly, but the sore throat was definitely in full effect, and my head was starting to feel a bit congested. Like an idiot, I went right home and went out biking in the cold without a hat on. To add to fuel, I ended up staying way past the time when I wanted to turn in, and when I finally did lay down to sleep, my head was completely clogged up.

In the middle of the night is when the fun really began. I bolted upright in bed as if my alarm had gone off, but when I looked at my clock it said 3:30am. As soon as my eyes had focused on the small red numbers, my head began to spin and I flopped down into the bed once again. I laid there for awhile and went back to sleep.

When I woke up again about 30 minutes later, the clothes that I had worn to bed and the sheets in my general vicinity were all completely soaked with sweat. I touched my forehead and it was hotter than I ever had remembered feeling it. Then I went back to sleep again.

While I was sleeping, I had a nightmare in which I was sitting at my computer. I was trying to copy files by dragging them and dropping them into their respective places (in Windows 95), but the windows were constantly resizing and just as I had moved one place, they would resize to where my cursor wasn't. The dream continued on like this for it's entirety, sometimes warping and distorting as if I were looking at it through a wave filter. It was based in reality, but for some reason it scared me because of it's crazy hallucinatory qualities (perhaps it was all part of a devious Microsoft mind control plan).

When I woke up again about 30 minutes later, my body had somehow dropped in temperature and I was freezing. The wet sheets and clothes were cold against my body and I thrashed around to get some dry parts. Then I fell asleep again.

This cycle continued until about 6:45 in the morning when my alarm went off and I jumped out of bed to hit snooze. As soon as I had done so, my head was reeling and I again fell into bed. In the 9 minutes that my alarm was silent and letting me snooze, I opened my eyes and tried to get a bearing on just how bad I felt.

Not only was I dehydrated from sweating so much and tired from not having slept the night before, but I was feeling delirious every time that I stood up. I decided that I would eat some breakfast and then decide whether I should go to work or not.

I stumbled around my apartment and ate my Nutty Nuggets (generic version of Grape Nuts), then put things away and fell back into bed again. There was no way in hell that I was going to make it in. It was weird, but even though I had about 8 paid vacation days built up, and even though I had never taken a sick day, I felt bad calling in to take one.

After getting off the phone, I went back to bed and slept until about noon. When I woke up, I went in anyway. After 30 minutes, though, I almost passed-out and had to come home.