The Human Rhinovirus, from University of Wisconsin Virology
Copyright © 2014 by Ralph F. Couey
I hate getting sick. Not only is it uncomfortable, it's a confounded nuisance, intruding on every aspect of the life I am trying to live. Another annoying aspect is the impact of age. It seems the older I get, the longer it takes to recover. This one started as an incipient cough acquired during our stay in Las Vegas. Gradually, other symptoms began to pile up, including the usual suspects of sinus trouble, a fever that comes and goes, fatigue, dizziness, green goo in my lungs, and a general fog that rolls into the brain, much like the similar clouds that fill San Francisco Bay, which slows my intellect, makes simple things hard to do, and turns me into something of a vegetable. If it were possible to admire the rhinovirus, I would have to tip my hat begrudgingly for it's persistence. I've been carrying this thing for a week now and it shows no signs of being aware that it has manifestly worn out its welcome.
This condition, of course, renders operation of a motorcycle too dangerous to attempt, and the constant fatigue makes any kind of exercise impossible. I hiked six miles last Tuesday at Manassas Battlefield on an exquisitely hot day and haven't hiked or ran a step since. Worst of all, I lost an entire week of work, cutting deeply into my jealously guarded storehouse of sick leave. I tried to go in one day, but after a few hours of listening to my hacking cough, I was politely told by one of my colleagues to go home. I understood. With the multiple scares of various types of flu, we have been told that if we're sick, stay home. Don't infect the rest of the office.
To make matters worse, the weather around here has been spectacular. Days that, on other occasions, would have seen me carving twisties in the West Virginia mountains, or tramping the Appalachian trail were spent, supine and miserable, inside. My outside activities have been limited to short walks with our aged dog, and a few hours spent sitting on the back deck with book in hand. But with my impaired cognition, I've had to read and re-read multiple pages to get any value out of the text, so even that small enjoyment has been taken away.
I haven't yet called the doctor. Why? Well, I'm a guy. A particularly stubborn representative of that species. But if this goes on much longer, I may have to bite the bullet and get an appointment.
I just turned 59 last week, and I've been struggling with the incipient feeling that time is running out, and each day I can't do what I am driven to do, both vocationally and recreationally, is a day I know I'll never get back. And in the bank account of time, those funds are dwindling.
Yes, there are people with worse situations. I don't have a terminal disease, financially we're doing okay, and I'm still employed. I'm in one piece, pretty much, and it would seem that I'm not yet slotted to remove myself to that higher dimensional plane. But I get impatient, however self-absorbed that makes me. "Now" is a moment in time that once past, is irretrievable. Tomorrow arrives entirely too fast, and that formerly amorphous indefinable "future" seems way too close, and approaching at a blurring speed. I used to gain some enjoyment out of being ill, viewing it as a sort of "time out" in a busy life. But it's too late in this particular game for time outs, even to take a blow on the sideline.
It's the fourth quarter of my life. And I want to be on the field.