Monday, July 07, 2008

Sick

I can't remember the last time I was really sick. I mean, not just so sick that I didn't want to work, but so sick that I couldn't work. It's not like I have a physically demanding job; mentally, I need to concentrate intensely, but physically, all I do is sit at a desk. So I've always been able to work, if necessary, even if I was sick.

But not this time. I couldn't manage more than about half an hour in front of my computer before I had to go back to bed and sleep for two or three hours. I had to bail out on a job I'd already accepted. There was just no way I could put together 10 or 12 hours of concentrated work, so I told the client, "I'm sorry, you'll have to find someone else to do this one." That was the first time I've given back a job in my 17 years of freelancing.

And I was sick enough to go see a doctor for the first time since I lost my health insurance (in 1999 or 2000, I think). Fortunately, the medicine he gave me worked pretty much as expected, and I was much, much better after two or three days of the five-day course of antibiotics. I guess I'm more or less well now (although I do still have a bit of a cough, and I tire easily). If I had insurance -- or if I lived in a civilized country, i.e., one with universal health care -- I suppose I'd go back for a follow up, but I'm already out about $400 for the job I gave up, $150 for the doctor visit, and $35 for the meds, so I can't really afford another $150 to make sure I'm all right. I just have to guess that I probably am.

Anyway, a couple of observations:

American Psycho is not a good book to read while you're very sick. It gave me a nightmare. I dreamed I got in a knife fight with Judge Holden -- just me and him and a couple of big butcher knives. On second thought, though, it wasn't actually a nightmare per se. I won the fight, barely -- I killed the MF -- and it was very exhilarating. Despite my many wounds, I felt triumphant as hell when he finally went down, so in that sense it was actually a good dream (and maybe that says something about me), but physically I was in no condition for that kind of excitement. I woke up panting for breath, dehydrated, with a fever of 103.

Another thing is, Vicodin did weird things to my dreams. (Judge Holden was just a fever dream or something, because that one came before I was on the Vikes.) First, it made my dreams really vivid and real. That's happened to me a few times before, but never a bunch of times in a few days. I also had lucid dreams several times. But way stranger things kept happening too. Like, I'd be having a dream, and then I'd wake up and look around, and then I'd close my eyes and I'd be back in the same dream again. Or I'd have a dream and wake up, and then I'd close my eyes and I could see kind of afterimages from the dream in front of my eyes. It was actually pretty cool. I like Vikes! But fortunately (I guess), the doctor only gave me enough for five days, so there's no chance of me overindulging.

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