Well, I am immune no more. Last time I got really sick was in January 2009. I had a bad fever and had to stay home from work for a few days. Since then, I’ve had a slight cold or two, but nothing that hasn’t gone away before it can really bother me. Today though, a sore throat that lingered on from the beginning of the week, and turned midweek into an eternally stuffed up, runny nose, became the worst: a splitting headache combined with those other symptoms and a feeling of overall weakness. I lay down in bed and managed to sleep, but about once every second, my eyes and forehead throbbed with a pulsing pain. It came into my dreams, and I kept waking up. I was fairly defeated. I think that my infected sinuses are somehow putting pressure on my brain.
I hobbled over to the Shoppers Drug Mart down the street and, based on the pharmacist’s advice, bought some generic brand Advil cold and sinus (I who generally turn up my nose at medication), and also stocked up on cheap chicken noodle soup, cookies and chocolate (I might feel miserable, but I still have an appetite).
As I watched the cashier’s hand pick up each of my items to scan them, I felt a little bad for her – I thought of all the germs I was giving her – and on top of that, I thought of all the sick people who come here and pass on their germs to her. Well, I needn’t have worried. I told her my thoughts – in a rather journalistic way — “In your line of work, you must be exposed to a lot of sick people. How do you deal with that?” She told me that she just never gets sick. The last time she got sick was in 2001. Before that it was 1990. (However, when she gets sick, she says she really gets sick). Her family get sick, her colleagues, but not her.
Then this lady tells me that her 60th birthday is next week — she says she suddenly realized that two thirds of her life are over. But then, she said she thought about all the people who never get to make it to 60 and she felt grateful. This lady looked about 60 – she wasn’t one of those people who don’t show their years – but she looked healthy and happy as well. Not that tall, mid-length hair, glasses, a lined face, smiling. She kind of made my night.
And the generic brand advil, chocolate, and soup has helped.