Wednesday, May 29, 2013


I've got a fever of 102. Which is why I'm up late at night writing (and completely ignoring my recently published advice about turning off the computer screen at night).

When I have a fever, the following comments do not help:

"Just forget about it."

"Don't worry, you will be better tomorrow."

"Can't you just stop having a fever?"

"You always have a fever."

"One time I had a fever of 99.1." (That is not a fever.)

"Think about all the people in the world with fevers of 103."

"I heard grapefruit helps with fevers." (It does not.)

"If you don't sleep now, your fever will get worse."

Shall I continue?

When I have a fever, I can't just stop having a fever in that moment. Sure, maybe I could take a Tylenol, drink fluids, try to rest. But the fever won't go away just because I want it to.

Prevention, you say? True. Maybe I could have taken Vitamin C, not worn sandals in a one-woman Memorial Day Weekend Climate Change protest or avoided my toddler's open-mouth love kisses (no, never that last one!).

But in this moment of heat, none of that matters.

When I have a fever, I want to crawl out of my skin. I want to tear my eyeballs out of their sockets. I want to pull my hair out of its follicles. I want to shred every piece of clothing I have. I want to break every pencil in the apartment.

When I have a fever, I want to escape. If I could, I would jump out the window and start running until I fell asleep in a heap on the street. Maybe if I moved to a warm climate I would never have a fever again. I search for tickets to the Cayman Islands.

When I have a fever, I can't focus on what you're saying. I'm trying to act normal, like my body temperature is a perfect 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Can you tell that I'm trying? Am I trying too hard? You're talking really loud. I think my fever just went up a tenth of a degree.

When I have a fever, I want to be alone. I don't want anyone to see me in my feverish state.

I know I should be sleeping. I know I will be tired tomorrow morning. I know I have an hour-and-a-half commute, a full day's work, a return commute, a Moms Demand Action protest and dinner with a dear friend. I won't bail just because I have a little fever.

I know I get fevers when I overextend myself; I hate my pathetic, insignificant yet insurmountable limits. I despise my fever more than you do.

I pray my son will never know a fever such as this; I hope he will never know about mine.

Please, don't tell me I will feel better in the morning. Just tell me it's okay to be imperfect. Just tell me you love me anyway.

Image courtesy of Ambro /