Wednesday, June 18, 2008

You Give Me Fever

When I was a kid, I got pneumonia and it kept me out of school for a solid month. When I first got sick, my fever was so high it scared my family. I remember being plucked into a freezing tub while my mom cracked ice trays into the water telling me that she knew it hurt, but I had to stay in the water. I don't know how high my fever went, but the hard-boiled feeling I had stuck with me. For what seemed an eternity I lay in bed, sweating my way through dreams and hallucinations. All of these years later, there's still one that I remember.

My eyes were open, which now tells me this was more of a hallucination that actual dream. The world was black and white like the small television I was allowed to have in my room at the time. I knew I was in bed, and could feel my wet sheets and soaked pillow under my head, but my bed was actually along the curb of a suburban street. When I opened my eyes, I could see a corner where children ran around, playing tag in the bright gray glow of a street light. I saw one boy chasing another, and was scared when I realized he had a spear in his hand. He got close to the slower boy he was chasing and flung the spear, hitting the kid and piercing him through the back and out his chest. The boy being chased stopped, laughed, and then pulled the spear through his chest and began chasing the other kids.

I hid my head behind my pillow, and tried to make myself as small as I could amongst the pile of sheets and blankets I had shoved to the side. When I opened my eyes to spy on the action, one of the kids had spotted me and was coming my way. The moment we made eye contact, he started running toward me and I knew there was no escape for me. When the spear went into me, I didn't feel a thing. The boy turned and began running back toward the streetlight. Relieved that I wasn't in pain, but angry at being picked out to be "it" I ripped the spear from my body, and flung it at the running child, catching him between the shoulder blades. He fell, and I don't remember him getting up.

Ever since that illness, my mind doesn't handle even the mildest of fevers with any form of grace. With a 100 degree temperature, the walls between sleep and wakefulness dissolve into a porous mess of consciousness making me uncomfortable and a bit paranoid. At the very least, it makes an average illness interesting.

So, I got sick Monday and took the day off yesterday to sleep on the couch. I had a pretty decent fever rolling, and so I curled up to sweat under some blankets (I was chattering teeth without them) and turned on my brand new 52" Samsung LCD TV (details in another post) and loaded up the five disc DVD player with some movies so I could have some background noise as I slipped in and out of consciousness. I chose what I thought would be good stuff to have in the background that I wouldn't have to think to hard about. It's not that they were all cheery options, but they were all choices that were very familiar to me that I could start watching at any point and know what was going on. I chose:

Lethal Weapon
Almost Famous
Six Feet Under (two discs of the first season)
Platoon
Lost in Translation

It wasn't until my fevered mind started to blend them all together in the late afternoon along with a touch of reality that I realized what a bad idea this was. Everything melted together and my dreams were filled with post-death reconstructions, poorly written cop-buddy banter, pretend 70's rock music, Viet Nam, and images of Bill Murray's quiet contemplation. I didn't think I would make it out alive.

Next time, I'm just going to leave the television off. Lesson learned.

2 comments:

Thomas Kingsley Troupe said...

Lost in Translation? That'd make me sick, too.

Hope you're feeling better, chief.

Lionel Ritchie's Man Bag said...

I know, I know. There's a lot of people that hate that movie. I don't know why, but there's something about it that I just like. I like the older Bill Murray who's all soft and misshapen like an vintage punching bag. Quality, but not for everyone.