Disneyland, as much as I truly love the place, is a haven for bacteria. No, please don't argue with me on this. The fact that every flipping time I go to a Disney park I get sick is probably enough to prove the fact, but if that's not enough, I have no patience left to give you further proof, ok? Just please take my word for it - Disney theme park equals Sick For Me. I mean, think about the causal effects at work here. Disney parks are attractive to children. Children are attractive to bacteria. And viruses. And whatever else gives you runny noses and coughs and headaches and whatnot. Disney and children and illness and me? Equals Kristin gets sick every damn time she goes to a Disney park. Without fail.
And I keep going. Isn't there something in Fruedian psychology about doing something over and over again and expecting a different result? Yeah - something about INSANITY? Right. But I keep going to the Disney parks. BECAUSE I'M CLEARLY INSANE…
And I keep getting sick. And I keep going to the parks. And then I get sick. And then I go to…
Ok, whatever. This isn't a history lesson, it's an essay. Honestly, despite evidence to the contrary, I don't only get sick when I go to Disney parks. I get sick at other times, too. Of course, small children are to blame for many of those times as well. I'm almost certain we could eradicate the common cold if only we could lock up all the small children for a short while and only let them out when they're healthy.
But that's a poor attitude for a potential teacher who is experiencing her first teaching related illness. Yep - first year teacher-itis has hit me. Rule of thumb - hang around kids for long enough and you will get sick. It wasn't too bad though. Slight cough, very mild fever, runny nose, and that's it. This cold doesn't hold a candle to the colds I got when we lived in France. It seemed like I was sick every other week when we lived in France, and I assure you that it wasn't due to the fact that I constantly wanted a reason to get out of work.
For example, the following is an extract from my diary during the French sojourn:
A couple of weeks ago I got the flu. Or what I assume was the flu. I don't get knock-down, drag-out sick very often, so I couldn't really tell you for certain. I didn't go to the doctor's, despite the fact that in France we could have had a doctor come to our apartment. They still make house calls in France, but the house was in such a state of disarray that I couldn't bear the thought of anyone, let alone a doctor I don't know, seeing it. Besides, I don't go to the doctor unless I'm fairly certain I need antibiotics.
I got this flu after spending 10 days in the states, then 3 days at home and then another 3 days in London. 2 days after returning from London, I started feeling lousy. At the time, I didn't know that hoof and mouth disease doesn't affect humans, so my thoughts immediately went to "Oh my God, I'm going to die an ignoble death from hoof and mouth disease and I don't even have hooves!!" I tend to exaggerate potential outcomes.
As you may have already guessed, I didn't have hoof and mouth disease (and, in case you were still wondering, no, I don't have cloven hooves). Somehow, after spending all that time in a plane, I caught a bug - imagine that! Hard to believe, I know, but true nonetheless. It started as a dry cough that earned me some extremely wary looks from people in the office. By the time I got home from work, I wanted medicine to make it stop - I hate a dry cough. If I'm going to be choking and sputtering all day I want something to show for it, if you catch my drift.
Next morning I awoke with that run down feeling. You know the one. The feeling that screams at you "If you don't put this body right back into bed, you're gonna suffer big time little lady!" But you see, I didn't want to be sick, so I tried to ignore it. Got up, bathed, got stuff ready for work. And by the time I got to the front door, I was exhausted. So I pulled out the thermometer - just to prove to myself that I wasn't really sick. When I took the thermometer out, I realized it's a Celsius thermometer and I couldn't remember what normal human temperature is in Celsius. That right there should have told me to go lie down, but I called Dave over and had to ask him whether I had a fever or not.
Of course, I did. About 101. Not bad, but enough to stay home and not spread it around. So I parked myself on the couch and settled in to wait this thing out. As the day went on, the fever went up.
Now I know what a fever means. It's that weird disconnected time when anyone might appear in my dreams as a Satanic Clown and my fingers feel like they're filled with helium. It's difficult to describe accurately in words because it feels so surreal - so slow and yet so fast at the same time - and anyone who's had a decent fever knows what you mean when you start to talk about it, but they don't have the right words either. When you have a fever, everything seems really, really distant.
It didn't help that there's some sort of celebration going on this week and every damn afternoon there's a parade outside our kitchen window. It's extremely bizarre to wake up mid-afternoon feeling all dizzy and weird and hear a marching band, you know? You start wondering is it the fever or is it real? When I looked outside there was a long line of clowns and children with butterfly shaped balloons singing and skipping down the street. This is not a normal occurrence in Montpellier, previous rants and raves of mine to the contrary. I watched for a while, trying to wrap my mind around what I was seeing with no success, and then shambled back to bed to wait it out. When I told Dave about it when he got home from work, there was no trace of a parade or anything and he looked at me like I was a little nuts.
I had a cold back in November as well. I guess I'm not immune to French germs or something. For that illness, Dave brought me some homeopathic medicine called Fervex. It's a powder that you mix into hot water and drink. It works pretty well, although I suspect it's not actually homeopathic but instead contains a strong narcotic agent because it knocks me out like a punch from Mike Tyson. What natural remedy makes you sleep for a whole day?
After you drink a cup of this stuff, you're suddenly Very Very Tired, even when you don't actually have a fever. But brother let me tell you, when you do actually have a fever - look out! I lost an entire Saturday to the Fervex Effect. Every time I drifted back to consciousness, Dave would ply me with another cup of the stuff. I awoke at one point to the sounds and sights of a Thunderbirds episode, which, if you're not familiar is exactly the same effect as a fever dream, except that it, too, is real.
I seem to spend so much of my time here half-asleep and struggling to determine what is real and what is induced by illness. This can't be good for me long-term.
Sadly, I didn't have any homeopathic remedies this week to knock me out, although, to be honest, I did pretty well on my own. I slept a lot and I'm starting to feel better. My cough still sounds tubercular, but it's not constant anymore and my stuffy nose is starting to clear up. I think I'll be well enough to head back into the classroom tomorrow morning. I'll do my best not to cough on the kids since it's not really their fault or anything.
Now that I'm in the classroom four days a week, I'm considering ordering a case of Fevrex from Europe. I think I'm going to need it.
- KNP February 29, 2004