I am brought low by a diabolical bacillus. The influenza virus hijacks my cells and replicates itself. Too late my immune system mobilizes to thwart the invaders. The detritus of the battle clogs my lungs and sinuses and I cough and sniffle, hack and wheeze. I can feel my sinuses glow as the offensive commences, the invasion of my lungs and their intrepid defense. So far, the line is held within the upper levels of the superior lobe, no further south perhaps than the intermediate bronchus. The apex is under direct assault, its soft pink turned angry hard and purple by vicious combat.
A strange sensation – to blow my nose blows my lungs. I feel a liquid-y pulse rocket up the bronchial tubes, out the sinus. It feels good to expel the evil bastards.
The entire house is afflicted. Dawn lies sniffling, prostrate on the couch and the cat is off his food.
Fatigue sets in. I am bone weary but have done nothing today. My mind is distracted, wooly, wont focus. I stumble about, eat sporadically, drink tea and water. How is it, I wonder, that an ugly microscopic organism, not yet even plant or animal – can bring a superior being – me, cast in the image of God himself – to such lethargy and despair.
I am astonished how tired I am – mental capacity diminished. The battle waged against the microbe saps my brain, my mind flickers, and jumps, not enough energy available for coherent, lasting thought. Does mind exist apart from the physical body? Not mine. Influenza attacks my mind same as my lungs render it dull and listless.
I am a zombie – not quite alive, yet undead. Will-less and floating, I am a viral eco-system replicating and spreading mindless micro-organisms intent on their own survival at the expense of whatever host they infest. Influenza cares not for me – for my skills, prowess, intelligence, and creativity – my beauty. It only cares to use up my resources, replicate itself and infect another.
As virus to human, so human to earth? Does Gaia have an immune system? I hope not – I would hate to face her planetary T-Cell. The ironic thought occurs that Gaia’s immune response might be influenza. The zombie apocalypse a natural cleansing.
It is worse at night. I dread sleep. Lying back on the pillow allows fluid to build in clear pockets of alveoli. Convulsing coughs expel the fluid. I long to sleep, need it – but dread the hacking transition from vertical to horizontal.
Shades of 1918 – millions dead of influenza originating god-knows-where. The strain disappearing as fast as it came. Mahogany spots over their cheeks, blue extending from their ears and over their faces – dead in two hours. I am short of breath – am I yet blue?