On getting sick, and how it faintly and probably incorrectly relates to Hume’s Fork.

It starts with a tickle, sometimes observed as a scratch, often discovered through chance. Then, the cough, occurring on its own, without the baggage of an entire suite of symptoms. But those symptoms are there: the cough reaches down a little too far, brings up phlegm when it should simply bring up noise.

Then, the coughs show up every few minutes; no longer an anomaly, they now represent a symptom. And there are surely more to follow.

Headache. Puffy eyes. A body that moves as if shackled to the air. Heavy breathing after a walk up the stairs, your lungs kicking into overdrive earlier than usual. Aches.

The aches, oh the aches. Up until this point, you’re running on observation. You assume you’re getting sick, or maybe you’re thinking it will all go away soon, that it’s a frustrating but easily defeated anomaly. But when the aches come – creeping up, revealing themselves after a cough, or after you bend over, etc. – you know that things are shifting into cold hard fact.

Thus, the lifelong debate begins again. Because you’re still decent, and not completely wiped out, you feel like you should go home. Save yourself and your co-workers. Spend the afternoon on the couch watching old DVDs, resting, waiting for it to pass. But, you have stuff to do. And it will still be here when you return.

For a few hours, it’s always the same. Do you wait? Or do you play it safe?

And after those few hours are gone, it’s also always the same. You waited too long. Now you’re sick, and the sickness is threatening to define you, like the top tong of Hume’s Fork.

Up until the point of agony, you’re only feeling sick. You’re rationalizing the senses. You’re trying to force yourself into being well. And then – boom – there’s no longer any rationalizing, as the grays fade away and you’re just SICK. The headaches, the aches, the coughs, the nausea – it’s all defining, at that point, easily substituted for a analytical equation.

1 + 1 = 2. No room for thought or sense or feeling.

You’re sick. And that sickness has become all that you are; no longer experiential, but a matter of cold, hard fact.

In my increasingly confused mind, this works. Then again, I should be lying on the couch, watching old DVDs, resting and waiting for it to pass – not mangling Kant-based philosophy.

[Prompt: “Hume’s Fork. Also, if you’re interested, Hume’s butter knife.” – Michael Hall, who I know only through twitter and who is, as far as I know, the Real Michael Hall.]

This was lovingly handwritten on November 2nd, 2009