Illness and heightened sensitivity


Since Sunday morning I’ve been mired in a nasty bout of stomach flu.  This has involved chills, fever, many wretched trips to the bathroom, and not eating.  Today I am boldly venturing back to the office, and contemplating what food I might be able to stomach – right now I’m thinking plain white rice and maybe some egg drop soup will do.  Wish me luck.  My complete inventory of food eaten over the last two days is as follows:

– half a turkey sandwich (11:00 Sunday morning – this is when I noticed something was up)
– half an apple (mid-Sunday afternoon)
– half of a vanilla pudding cup (Sunday evening)
– a handful of dried cereal (Monday morning – made me throw up)
– 3/4 of a banana (Monday afternoon)
– a piece of dry toast (Monday afternoon)
– two saltines (Monday evening)
– another half of a different vanilla pudding cup (Monday evening)

That’s a pretty pathetic list for this field agent, who can usually put all that away in a sitting and pack in some cherry pie and coffee afterward.

What’s been interesting about this illness is how it has amped up my sensitivity to any kind of experience.  At the same time that the thought of most food has made me queasy, I’ve also been mostly unable to watch TV, listen to music, or do anything else in the way of entertainment.  I have found that more than about half an hour of any meaningful sensory input makes me feel pretty awful.  (Thankfully I had finished re-watching season 3 of “Lost” Sunday just about when this kicked in, so I didn’t have to put that on pause.)  I’ve fired up a “Seinfeld” re-run a few times, but twice I ended up just shutting it off; and I actually felt nauseous when I put serious thought into listening to my iPod.  For a person with my proclivities, this state of affairs was even less tolerable than not being able to eat – hell, at least not eating has been helpful to my diet.  But not engaging with pop culture in any way has been a completely negative experience.  This morning I managed to listen to half of a reggae album; this, for me, was a greater triumph than the bottle of apple juice I drank most of.

I’m sure I’ll be returning to normal in a day or two.  Er, I HOPE I will be, anyway.


2 Responses to Illness and heightened sensitivity

  1. Jim says:

    Have you entertained the thought that your wantonly omnivorous pop cultural diet might b e the cause of your possible food-borne illness?

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