A Case of the Camilles

I have flu. I almost never get flu, but between my real-world worries and this up-and-down weather, my immune system is crying uncle. I admit I am feeling sorry for myself. Even when my back goes out, I usually just get very New England: stony and hyper-pragmatic. But there’s something about fevers and bodily fluids that robs me of my good sense. My adulthood, really. Case in point: I can’t remember if it’s “feed a cold/starve a fever” or “feed a fever/starve a cold” so I am glumly slurping broth as a compromise rather than doing a simple Google search.

Having flu is the only time I mind being alone. I want someone to fetch my homeopathetics (as I call them when I’m this tragic) and brew ginger tea and pick up my used kleenex and make my Jewish grandmother’s chicken soup and wave a magic wand over my deadlines. In the absence of this phantom fairy god-partner, I clutch permakitten Gracie, who’s grossed out by my runny nose but does her best Camille impression in solidarity. All patients may carry their best doctor inside themselves, but I keep flashing on Siri Hustvedt’s quote: “Every sickness has an alien quality” and thinking, “Right now I’m no Ripley.” Send carrier pigeons and magic carpets, please.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy