Stay at home germs

Saturday October 15, 2005

“How do you feel this morning?” I asked when I took Graham his wake-up mug of tea.

“I think I’m over it.”

“Good. Just keep up the liquids, and take it easy today.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll do just that. How’re you doing?”

“Oh, I’m afraid I’ve got it now. I’m in for a shitty day.”

“Have you taken aspirin?”


“Hot lemon and honey?”

“Yup. And I put a slug of rum in it, too.”

“Just as well, or I’d have to kill you.”

Graham takes a different approach to caring, that’s for sure. Amounts to much the same thing, though.

It’s a gratifying confirmation that you’ve got your diet, life-style and attitude right when you witness your body’s defences leaping into action against a minor infection.

Within an hour of realizing I’d picked up the bug, I was a quivering heap, my system a battleground for the war between defending phagocytes and invading cold germs. I took more aspirin, a hot toddy, and snuggled up in bed to sweat it out. Four hours later, distinctly wobbly on my pins, I was awake, and ravenously hungry. I got up and tucked into a big plate of egg, bacon and tomato on toast, popped more aspirin, slurped another hot toddy, and took myself back to bed to continue the cure. Some three hours after, the fever had gone and my limbs, though wobbly still, had lost the aches. Lo! The ague has passed. To my great delight there’s no sign of it having moved to my chest.

“You’re looking a lot brighter,” Graham said.

“Yup. I feel it, too. I’ll be back firing on all four cylinders tomorrow, see if I’m not.”

So, I’ve had a fortunate escape. It’s not entirely down to good luck. All those heaps of fruit and veg., and hours in the fresh air, have done their trick, reinforcing my conviction that if you look after your body it will, when necessary, look after you.

My creative work today was limited of course but I did manage to walk a little way up the lane to snap a photograph of the view over the flat fields I see all about me. This was entirely down to my determination to participate in the One Horizon Flickr project. As the winter approaches, my camera tends to stay in the drawer, so it’s good to have a reason to get it out and produce something.

I dunno. I’ve never been a participant in contests and group projects and here I am, snapping pictures and writing stories for just that kind of activity. I still walk to my own pace, especially on poetry, but of a sudden I’m enjoying taking part in group activities. Not entirely sure why.

There’s a big difference in these activities, though. They’re conducted over the Internet. You don’t have to take yourself off to ill-ventilated community centres and sit for a couple of hours cheek to jowl—a malaria, as Thoreau put it—with germ-laden folks carrying the autumn sniffles.

You can’t avoid picking up the odd cold germ as you go about the business of life. In fact it can be argued that you really rather need to do so, to keep your immune system active. There is however something totally dispiriting about sitting in a stuffy room for two or three hours next to someone who’s afflicted and knowing with a dreadful certainty that sometime in the next four days you’re going to suffer the same.

I’ve gained a lot from the Internet, good and bad, but I never yet caught a germ from it. On the Internet, germs stay at home.


Misty horizon



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