It was about seven in the morning and my thermometer was burning steadily at around 39 °C. The sun seemed in no hurry to rise, and a certain gray, oppressive mood hung over this side of the world. I had to get up and take care of some little business that I had, and so I tried.
I was at the bathroom, about to brush my teeth, when a surge of nausea rose to my throat, followed by a fluttering of the heart. The world tilted like a storm-tossed ship as my body lost balance. The cold, hard titles around me presaged a cold, hard fall.
By some miracle of familiarity, I managed to retrace my steps through my darkening world and back into my room, throwing myself headfirst toward what I hoped would be the bed (and not the wall). It turned out to be soft — just what I needed. I lay there on it curled up and still with my slippers on and breathed in and out the calm that settled over me.
Half an hour later I was up and about again, and so was my nausea. Standing up or sitting only made matters worse. Only lying down seemed to help. But fortunately, my world did not overturn again, neither that day nor on the days that followed.
For a couple of days, I took to my bed, hardly eating or writing anything, and struggling to read from The Magic Mountain. The gray and wet weather, the constant absence of the sun, and the overall sensation of oppressiveness that my body sent me left me wretched indeed. It is a sad realm that the sick man is banished to, where neither food, nor words, nor other people can reach him.
At least I could sleep. What a blessing sleep is and how it saves us when we need it the most. How maddening life would be if we were not able to forget our flesh for a few hours every day in dreamless slumber!
The fever seems to have gone away. Now I still feel a bit peculiar and do not yet concentrate as easily as I would like to. My doctor mentioned a viral infection and labyrinthitis, that is, inflammation of the inner ear. Let us hope things are indeed so simple.
For now, I have returned to near-normal writing and reading levels, which is to say, to peacefulness. I’m once more climbing to the airy heights of The Magic Mountain, inhabiting a place that’s not on any map and that yet feels so familiar…