Boston is in the middle of a flu epidemic, but I came up yesterday anyway, for a meeting today at MIT I had promised to attend. After a long train ride from New York, I took the T to Harvard Square, followed by a pleasant walk to my friends’ house.
At the end of a lovely evening, I retired to the waiting guest bed, where all was well until around 4am, when I woke up feeling a chill. I thought this odd because the blankets were quite warm. Then I started to feel a dull ache in my head, and I thought to myself “Uh oh, did I remember to wash my hands after getting off the T?” Suddenly I could recall every surface I had touched, every overhead metal bar I had grabbed onto during my trip on the Red Line from South Station to Harvard.
I thought how strange it would be to lie awake in bed while experiencing, moment by moment, the gradual onset of full symptoms. My nose was threatening to run, and I started to feel an ache all through my body. The battle was engaged, and the little virus cells were multiplying.
“I have no time for this,” I thought. “There is so much I need to do this week!” But of course Influenza does not care what I think. It operates on an entirely different logic.
I finally got out of bed three hours later, feeling just fine. Apparently my body had fought back and had won.
I would love to take some sort of credit for the valiant actions of my body’s defenses, but alas, I know the victory had nothing to do with my worthiness or lack thereof. I am just grateful that my immune system came through for me.
Hooray for our side!