In the morning, I take a paracetamol. After breakfast or on an empty stomach, it doesn’t matter. I take a mucolytic after lunch, a full tablespoon for adults. At least it’s not Tempra, that damned suspension which tasted like the bitterest of hells. I pop a decongestant when the fluids no longer work. Or a lozenge for a throat which feels like it’s being pricked by a million needles.
I’m not surprised I’m sick. Day in and day out, taking public transportation, arriving in the office sweaty, to the dangerous embrace of an air-conditioned building in full force. I’m surprised I haven’t been sick already. But it’s inevitable, really. Once in a while, a used, abused, and overused body betrays you, screams in its own language that it has had enough – too much walking under the sun, too much wading in the floods, too much standing in long queues; too many early mornings, too many shots of cheap brandy after work, too many cigarettes flushed down the toilet.
All the minor discomforts of the previous months have accumulated to present to me such a terrible affliction. It’s a hazardous affair. Work cannot be stalled. You force yourself to go to the office with a slight fever, and adrenaline kicks in. Throughout the day you feel well enough to get by, but when it’s time to go home, your palms start sweating, your face is burning, and the concoction of medicine makes a riot of a migraine.
Sickness is necessary. Your body speaks its language. Its pains. The discomforts. Corners of your body once so jovial in movement now ache with the slightest touch. Focusing on anything becomes impossible. Your body is telling you a period of convalescence is necessary to restore vigour lost, to reclaim your prior healthier state, to erase the disgraces of a private scale. Tired, bruised, battered, and feverish, you’re brought back down to the ground, crippled by the afflictions, dependent on things you have no control of.
Sickness puts you back into place.