Steven (unzeugmatic) wrote,

Sickness with Metrics!

Well, I just completely lost two days. A high fever is a very strange thing for an adult. Your muscles hurt, your brain is fogged, your head aches, and a task as simple as getting up out of a chair and opening the front door to get your mail seems insurmountable. For close to two days I just sat, watching cooking shows and courtroom TV shows and Family Guy while sipping Peppermint tea. In retrospect I can't even figure out what my thought processes were. I sent out some email before leaving work Tuesday morning and I can't follow my logic in those notes.

But there's one good thing: When a sickness symptom is a fever, you have a metric! You can quantify whether you are getting better. Me, I have been known to time periods between coughing jags to try to get a handle on this. But when all you can do is sit and moan, having a thermometer by your side to stick in your mouth periodically gives you a focus.

On Tuesday my temperature kept going up, no matter what I did or what pain relievers I took. When it crossed 102F in the evening I had a metric: If it goes up any higher I'm off to the emergency room or urgent care, if I can figure out how to get there since driving myself was not possible. But twenty minutes later it had gone down a few tenths of a degree. I didn't have to make the decision of whether to go; the thermometer made it for me! On Tuesday my temperature hovered between 101 and 102, up and down all day and evening.

I have a terrible tendency to go in to work when I'm sick. In my current job I don't really have sick days, which doesn't help this. I felt a shade better on Wednesday, not really well enough to go to work but I was thinking about it. Then I stuck in that thermometer and my fever was just over a hundred. Decision made! All day and all evening the temperature hovered between 100 and 101. Hey, that's getting better. And then, suddenly, at bedtime, the temperature was normal.

This morning the fever returned a little. I was up pretty early and for about two hours things hovered between 99 and 100. Again, a metric! But what to do? My aspirin bottle says that if a fever persists for three days to see a doctor -- another metric. If I have a fever tomorrow, I call my doctor. After taking some pain reliever (I'm actually quite sore at this point) my head felt clear and I desperately wanted to get out of my living room -- and outside into the bright sun and the new-fallen snow and the fresh air. So I came to work, to check in on things and interact with other human beings and then maybe go home.

But my head is still clear and I'm feeling closer to normal and the thermometer tells me it's because my temperature, at this moment, is normal. And I have a metric to me whether I should go home! It's such a relief of responsibility.
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