Sunday, May 13, 2007

The thin thread of mortality

Early Friday morning, I'm lying in bed trying to sleep when I notice that my legs ache. Aha! I think, I'm coming down with something. Probably a 24-hour bug.

And so it proved.

Nothing terribly serious. A mild headache that might have meant a slight fever (not worth bothering to check), aches in the legs, no appetite.

So, how can such a minor ailment make one lose so much energy that it requires thought to decide whether it's worth expending the effort to reach out and turn off the light? That getting up to go into the next room becomes a major project?

Although it was, fortunately, one of those 24-hour things (I felt--fancied, perhaps, that I could actually sense the fever break as slight chill late on Friday night), even the day after I was tired enough to take a solid one-hour nap after getting myself a bowl of cold cereal for breakfast. And I did nothing that might remotely be called productive for the rest of the day. Indeed, I could not even face the idea of booting up the computer until today.

We go on, most of us, on most days, feeling vital enough to carry out our normal tasks without exhaustion and, if we are lucky, with sufficient energy for other pursuits as well. Yet a simple cold or mild virus will lay us out as if we are on our deathbeds.

Makes you think, doesn't it?

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