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Photo by Rex Pickar on Unsplash

An Existential Flu Crisis

My First ailment on US soil; a feverish reminder of what matters.

This had to be Malaria. I needed no second opinion, not even my medical doctor wife to verify my hypothesis. Every time I got these slew of symptoms, I’d simply get to a pharmacy, order a range of medicine, pay, get back to my room in Buea, Cameroon, and shut myself down for the next week, knowing I’d be in pain, sweating, unable to eat anything and feel like bird’s poop for the next few days. The first 48 hours after taking the meds would be hell.

But this was months ago. There are no Malaria carriers in Colorado, USA. This, my wife says, is the flu — it’s a virus.

And it sucks!

The night the Flu came, I thought it was a headache. I usually have a few after days of stretching myself mentally and physically. Especially since we got a pet recently.

During those long nights, there are no dreams. I don’t even know when it’s day or night. My eyes can’t stand light so I only know the day has ended because my wife is back from her rotation.

I can hear my heartbeat echo from my pillow, as though it’s about to separate itself from me.

Everything is louder, especially the silence. With my naturally heightened hearing, each hum, speech, click, vibration, even laughter from someone else or worse, my own lungs, sends waves of pain splattering through my cochlea.

Hours tick like seconds. I can’t remember what it feels to have the energy needed to climb stairs or brush teeth. I only do the latter with much coaxing. I only leave my bed because my ability to be polite is at its lowest and I can’t explain myself without being unnecessarily rude. I don’t have that many words left that cause little vibration.

‘You should get a shower, it’ll do you good’

No.

‘Do you want me to make you something to eat?’

No.

‘Are you feeling better than yesterday?’

No.

‘Please get out of bed, you need to see the sun or just be active. Even for a few minutes.’

No.

‘Do you love me?’

‘What?’

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Photo by Dmitry Ratushny on Unsplash

I hate being sick. Before I turned 14, I had already undergone 2 major surgeries, one when I was just 5 years old. I got used to pain early on and grew a general disdain for all things related to hospitals. It’s as though karma wants to make sure I never forget this. How?

I married a doctor.

The Flu cannot be compared to surgery, can it?

Why then do I always get these memories when I’m out cold?

I think I become my true self when I get sick. I’m weak. Tired. Annoying. Annoyed. Lackluster. Lackadaisical. And I use very few words.

I also can’t eat anything that’s remotely sweet.

I tend to find out in real time how useless I’d be if I didn’t have family and friends.

I mean…we all know this. And we all try to be there when someone needs us in the hospital. But it’s always when I’m the one who needs help that I really appreciate the people in my life as well as the gift of good health.

I don’t drink (well, if we have to count my first two American beers and add the glass of wine on New Year, then yeah, I drink 😂), I don’t smoke, I don’t really work that hard (not to my own standards anyway), and I could do much more in the physical exercise department.

I’m not going to suddenly adopt new health habits because the flu got me quivering like a bald chicken, no. That will be too many props to the bird.

I’m not even done with the flu. I barely got out of bed today and my fever broke just yesterday. I’m probably at 64.9% of my personal health scale.

But I’m going to take the time to realize that I’m probably never going to do much on this earth without the people who love and care for me and God who grants gifts I didn’t really pay for.

I am human, frail, made up of elements and inhibiting bacteria and viruses who every so often have a party I must attend.

A personal reminder that I will die and I should enjoy this ride with those I have.

Written by

Cameroonian writer and video creator. Featured in LEVEL and P.S. I Love You. I write about building relationships and personal transformation.

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