A Lingering Cold

My immune system is a vicious killer. Over the past 20 years I have been sick very infrequently. I’ve acquired a disregard of germs in many cases. When surrounded by sick people I just assume my immune system can handle whatever they’re trying to share. A few years ago I was visited by Streptococcus pyogenes; my immune system killed it. No strep throat here.

The past 8 days have been rather strange, for I’ve had a lingering cold. It’s a full-fledged cold too. I’ve got a low grade fever, aching joints, congestion, frequent headaches, and a slight sore throat. At numerous points last week I lost my voice.

I’m surprised the cold has stuck around so long. I have some hypotheses why this is happening:

1). My immune system is lonely. Since my immune system tends to kill every stranger it meets it is bound to feel lonely from time to time. I think it might have seen something attractive in this virus and decided to let it live for the time being. My immune system (we’ll call him Ike) has lived a stationary life. And then this virus (we’ll call her Violet) appears. Violet talks of traveling the world, jumping from human to human, and feeling apathy toward her host. Ike responds with accounts of his battles, where fleeing is not an option, and tells of the support and appreciation he gets from his human. Both are fascinated by each other, but Ike is uneasy.

Ike: You should go Violet. I like you, but you have to go.
Violet: But I like it here. I’m a mild pathogen. Let me stay.
Ike: My human has noticed you. He’s been drinking ridiculous amounts of orange juice.
Violet: Just let me stay one more day. I’ll tell you about Asia. Have you ever been to Asia? I can describe beautiful sights and different cultures. I can broaden your world. You’re happy when I’m here.
Ike:  Okay, one more day. But you’ve got to leave tomorrow. . .

2). This cold is just capitalizing on work stress. I’ve been working very long hours and dealing with a lot of work stress. Things just keep piling on. Maybe the past five months have broken me down enough to make me vulnerable to a cold. I’m a bit skeptical of this though, because the fatigue is more mental than physical at this point. Thankfully the spring quarter ends in two weeks plus finals.

I’m inclined to go with the lonely immune system hypothesis. I need to find Ike a benign friend.



Filed under General

2 responses to “A Lingering Cold

  1. Byran Smucker

    When I arrived in Central PA – after living essentially all of my life in Oregon – I was beset with far more sickness than I was used to. During one of my visits to the student health center, the doctor told me that it is often the case that when someone moves to a new area the bugs are foreign and immune systems take some time to adapt. My guess is that Ike is a superhero when it comes to conquering PA viruses, but needs some time to work out (is it possible for Ike to lift weights while Ben stays far away from the gym?) to develop strength against those wacky west-coast bugs.

    • That’s a good point.
      I spent this morning talking to doctors and getting chest x-rays. It turns out I have pneumonia. I suspected it must be something more than a regular cold. Now I get to use an inhaler for the first time in my life. . .

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