Fever, Body Horror and the Rushing Mortality


Heartbeats of nausea pulse through my veins while head loses weight. A mechanism tries to cook the bad things the fuck out of my body. Later, it will over shoot, perhaps mistaking an amphetamine high for normal running conditions. I attempt sleep but that game has finished. I skate on the surface inside a deepening realization that it’s going to be an awful night, maybe nights. Another part of me simply assumes I am dying. After an hour, I get up to seek refuge in the white noise of television. I am sensitive to light and can only manage for a minute at a time. Chiara comes home at some stage, I’m barely anywhere. It becomes difficult to hold my body in any set position. My bones feel liquid, electric and uncomfortable. Especially my legs, which are now rearranging themselves constantly. The fever has made me horny. Weird horny. I manage peppermint tea and some toast, and I wonder if maybe I’m doing alright. Exhausted more than anything else, I can barely keep my eyes open. Stage one of the fever is over and I have been dried.

I have trouble standing up for long enough to perform my bedtime routines and I have to sit back down for awhile afterwards. Eventually I shuffle into bed and promptly fall into hot, nightmarish sleep. I’m in a tiny, frustratingly vague nightmare and there’s one thing that needs to happen but I can never understand or grip exactly what it is or means. It’s something about politics (I had binge watched Veep earlier that week). The dream runs in a microwaved slideshow of variations. I wake up at midnight but the dream continues. My cooked insides give me intense heartburn, and the electricity in my legs makes stillness impossible. I’m dehydrated and I have a headache, non ignorable. I writhe, moan, burn, spin and hurt for an hour.

The heartburn overwhelms me and I stand up, unsteady and dizzy. I put on a towel, pour a glass of milk and sit in the lounge. My housemate is asleep sitting up, he looks drunk. Catch Me if You Can is on. I tentatively sip on the milk to neutralise the acid in my chest. Things are surreal. I think loosely about climate change. Maybe I’m cooking because the world is cooking. I don’t wish to be boiled. All that extra energy in the system. I’m in the system. Are we all cooking now? Is that why we’re all so fucking crazy all the time? Is that why everything is moving so fast? In the bathroom I try to relieve myself but it proves too much trouble, even sitting. I’m boiling over, black butterflies frolic in my eyes. I grab the towel rack and I understand that I will be sick now. I lie down naked on the cold bathroom tiles. I lift the toilet seat, sit up and vomit out my cooked insides. It’s painful and I wonder again if I’m dying. My leg goes numb, my arms tingle. I think of all the David Cronenberg films I’ve watched. I can’t think of anything more body horror than fever vomiting.
When it’s over I feel better. Not surprising that I feel better with the bubbling bric-a-brac outside my stomach rather than in. I can stand while I try to cleanse my mouth and throat of the leftover awfulness. I look in the mirror and wish I hadn’t. I crawl back into bed for another eight hours of much the same. The fever breaks by the time Chiara goes to work. I feel guilty for keeping her up. I sleep, real sleep, for four hours.
I wake exhausted and with a lingering sense of mortality.

 

 

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