Yes, Nathan, admit it, you’re sick.

And I don’t mean it in a manical way or I’m a psychopath. You know, I mean as being sick with flu-like symptoms or common cold. It all started last Friday morning when I woke up and felt an itch or like having a tiny sandpaper in my throat, making it a bit uncomfortable for me to shallow. I can’t lie but admit that I do have a male ego (it’s a good thing that I admit it, right?) so I refused to believe that I was getting a sore throat. It’s probably cuz I was slombering, not keeping my mouth shut while sleeping (how male that was). I figured that a cup of Listerine will clear up everything in my throat and have a little Coke in my throat to fizzle them away. I got ready to go to work and when I got into my cube, the “sandpaper” in my throat just won’t go away and I decided to get myself a glass of water in a second attempt to free up the sandpaper’s coarseness in my throat. However, the sandpaper wouldn’t just get smoothed up and continued to become rough. Now, I was beginning to realize that maybe I do have a sore throat and in the defense of that, I popped a Hall lorengze into my throat and hoped that it’ll melt everything away.

All of the sudden, I don’t feel so good and started to feel a little hot despite I was wearing only a short-sleeved shirt. I had this imagination that my body was collapsing like an old building that was destructed into pieces by a set of intelligent bombs around the concrete columns except it wasn’t that rapid. If you still don’t get it, well, imagine it like the two WTCs crashing down on 9/11 but in a slow-motion and you get the idea what I mean. As I reached for the kleenex right before I sneeze, I suddenly thought—I’m having a dreadful cold and coming down with flu-like symptoms. And my thought said to me, “Yes, Nathan, you’re sick.” So much for my male ego.

While I was going through all that, I was reminded by this short story I read a while ago during in the college. The story is called “The Death of Ivan IIych.” by Leo Tolstoy and you can read all about it at this. It talks about a guy who refused to believe that he was sick till it was all too late and he learns how to deal with inevitable dying. Then he discovered something worse than dying, if that’s even possible, was the frustration that people can’t understand or fathom the pain he was going through. This struck me particularly because the little things you do could have an impact on your life. Here’s what I mean…

The Slip

He was so interested in it all that he often did things himself, rearranging the furniture, or rehanging the curtains. Once when mounting a step-ladder to show the pholsterer, who did not understand, how he wanted the hangings draped, he made a false step and slipped, but being a strong and agile man he clung on and only knocked his side against the knob of the window frame. The bruised place was painful but the pain soon passed, and he felt particularly bright and well just then. He wrote: “I feel fifteen years younger.” He thought he would have everything ready by September, but it dragged on till mid-October. But the result was charming not only in his eyes but to everyone who saw it.

What did he say about his slip

“It’s a good thing I’m a bit of an athlete. Another man might have been killed, but I merely knocked myself, just here; it hurts when it’s touched, but it’s passing off already — it’s only a bruise.”

They were all in good health. It could not be called ill health if Ivan Ilych sometimes said that he had a queer taste in his mouth and felt some discomfort in his left side. But this discomfort increased and, though not exactly painful, grew into a sense of pressure in his side accompanied by ill humour.

The pain prevails

She [his wife] said he had always had a dreadful temper, and that it had needed all her good nature to put up with it for twenty years. It was true that now the quarrels were started by him. His bursts of temper always came just before dinner, often just as he began to eat his soup. Sometimes he noticed that a plate or dish was chipped, or the food was not right, or his son put his elbow on the table, or his daughter’s hair was not done as he liked it, and for all this he blamed Praskovya Fedorovna.

At first she retorted and said disagreeable things to him, but once or twice he fell into such a rage at the beginning of dinner that she realized it was due to some physical derangement brought on by taking food, and so she restrained herself and did not answer, but only hurried to get the dinner over.

The realization of his condition

After one scene in which Ivan Ilych had been particularly unfair and after which he had said in explanation that he certainly was irritable but that it was due to his not being well, she said that he was ill it should be attended to, and insisted on his going to see a celebrated doctor. He went. Everything took place as he had expected and as it always does.

The so-called male ego

The pain did not grow less, but Ivan Ilych made efforts to force himself to think that he was better. And he could do this so long as nothing agitated him. But as soon as he had any unpleasantness with his wife, any lack of success in his official work, or held bad cards at bridge, he was at once acutely sensible of his disease.

The coming of the pain

The pain in his side oppressed him and seemed to grow worse and more incessant, while the taste in his mouth grew stranger and stranger. It seemed to him that his breath had a disgusting smell, and he was conscious of a loss of appetite and strength.

The inevitability of the pain

There was no deceiving himself: something terrible, new, and more important than anything before in his life, was taking place within him of which he alone was aware. Those about him did not understand or would not understand it, but thought everything in the world was going on as usual. That tormented Ivan Ilych more than anything.

Well, read the ending of the story to find out what happened to him!

This is something what I would call a “Butterfly Chaos Theory” that the flutterings of a butterfly in the East (China) can acculumate to a hurricane in the West (Florida). As he had a small slip that led to his dying. So, what is exactly my point? My point is that I realize I’m sick and I’m gonna do about something. Any suggestions?

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One Comment, Comment or Ping

  1. elisa

    miss work, stay home, drink ginger ale.

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