I’ve gone viral.
By that I mean I’ve contracted the Epstein-Barr virus, which causes the infection mononucleosis, referred to by playground bullies as “the kissing disease.” (Doctors also call it this but doesn't it just sound like something Billy Shea middle school bully would say?) In French – le mononucléose. About three weeks ago, I was told that I have acute mononucleosis, which just means that it was a recent onset. It also means that I’m particularly adorable when I’m sick.
That joke is really obvious, trite, and overdone, but whatever, I have mono.
So, yes, I’ve been playing the mono card like crazy recently. On one hand, I actually need to play it. The fatigue is unbelievable. The quality and frequency of the symptoms is bizarre and seemingly random. During the worst couple of days, not even my phone alarm, which is set to Ridiculous because I’m bad at waking up at my healthiest, could get me to open my eyes. I couldn’t think; it was like all language was a thousand pound bar I was incapable of deadlifting. And I can't even deadlift fifteen pounds (probably). I don't even know if I'm using the correct deadlifting terminology. All food tasted like dirt, when I had the energy to get up and feed myself. I couldn’t even eat mashed potatoes. I love mashed potatoes, and I just pushed them around on my plate till I felt nauseous enough to constitute going back to bed.
On the other hand, I hate having to play the mono card. I hate giving excuses for missing responsibilities, falling behind, going home early. It doesn’t even matter that it’s a perfectly valid excuse, or that my professors have been understanding and sympathetic, or that all of my good friends know and don’t mind that I’m not around as much as I want to be.
I’ve gotten better since then. I don’t need to rest as often. Going to class isn’t an unachievable goal. I have an overwhelming amount of work to catch up on, and it’s utterly freaking me out. I still can’t do a lot of things. I feel stuck.
It doesn’t help that my car keeps breaking down. I just want to drive to the grocery store and buy a couple of pints of ice cream and some Tollhouse cookie dough. But instead I’m here, in my bed, which is very comfortable, but a little too familiar lately.
It’s different, being sick when you’re a young adult. Your classmates don’t make a “Get Well” card. Your parents aren’t there, in the room next to yours, when you can’t sleep. The support system you’ve tried to build up is too busy with their own snags and complications to worry about why you’re sleeping so much.
I’ve watched too much Netflix these past three weeks.
I don’t feel well.
Is it called “going viral” when you/a video/some Twitter account becomes really popular really quickly because having a viral disease actually makes you infectious? It’s interesting, because both are contagions with different results. In the former, people flock to you. In the latter, everyone runs in the opposite direction.
My mono is not the worst thing happening in the world right now. It is not even in the top million worst things. That is an objective truth. But it certainly makes the top million worst things that much more overwhelming, though.
Happy hanging in there.