Sick but not SickNovember 28, 2007
I decided to be sick today.
I wanted the fever to run its course. I wanted it to stimulate and augment my defenses. If all went well, the fever would stimulate my leukocytes (white blood cells) to destroy the invaders. It would also reduce the level of free iron in my blood* so as to reduce the spread of bacterial infection. And in another leg of the process, it would induce interleukin-1 (IL-1) production,which in turn aids in the production and maintenance of lymphocytes, another division in the army of body defenses.
Unfortunately, I had things to do earlier so I couldn’t afford the weakness that comes from fever brought about by my runny nose**. I took one tablet of 250mg Mefenamic acid to get me through walking the breadth of the city. It worked. My perceived temperature dropped to normal. It allowed my feet to me into diverse places. I made the reservation for the family holiday. I scanned through shops offering “economically equalized goods”. I even walked with traffic enforcers*** as they tried to maximize the road width by removing vendor paraphernalia.
Then I went home for a day well spent. By then, my head was just about spinning and I was getting drowsy. I thought it was because the fever was coming back, but further research later revealed that those symptoms were minor side effects of Mefenamic Acid. I hit the sack almost as soon as I came home, planning to let the fever run its course after waking.
It didn’t go as I expected. The fever did not return. My body missed an opportunity to maximize its defenses. This might mean that I’d have this cold longer, or it could probably mean that my body boosted up its defenses despite my intervention. So even though I don’t act sick, I’m still technically sick. My body is still working overtime to get these nasty invaders out of my system.
*Some bacteria love iron; they use it to make toxins. The body recognizes this fact, and hides the iron from them.
**In actuality, only my left nostril is affected. For some strange reason, I have had colds that affected only one nostril at a time.
***These guys were nicer compared to their Manila counterparts. Manila raids can turn bloody as objects are torn, strewn, and defended by equally aggressive enforcers and offenders. Raids here are done by telling people off, and that usually gets the job done.
 Burton, Gwendolyn, R.W. MICROBIOLOGY FOR THE HEALTH SCIENCES, 4e. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company. 1992.