Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Something you really, really don't want . . .

. . . is norovirus. At least I think that's what happened to me yesterday. Anyway, whatever it was, same basic idea. The diarrhea started at 3:00 am, and obviously, as I got out of bed and hit the light switch, there was a power outage. It was raining and darker than a black hole, so I spent the night groping my way back and forth from bed to toilet. By morning I managed to get downstairs to continue the performance from the sofa, but I was so weak and tired I could barely get off it to meet the recurrent necessity.

The good news about this is that it doesn't last long. The diarrhea subsided by evening and I even made it in to work today, because I had to, even though I still feel like crap. I'll have to eat something but the very idea of food is still repulsive. The other good news -- and as far as I'm concerned it is good news -- is that there is absolutely no medical treatment that can do the slightest good.* You just have to live through it, then it's over.

The reason that's good news is a) there's no way on earth I could have gotten to a doctor even if somebody would have seen me on a Sunday, and I wouldn't want to be thinking "Damn, if only." Second, it didn't cost anybody anything. If it's over in a day anyway, then okay sure if I had a $10 pill in the cabinet I could have popped that would have stopped it, that would have been worth it. Beyond that, not really.

Lesson: Wash you hands! Wash your vegetables! Keep you kitchen clean! I probably got it from restaurant food or just touching something that was contaminated -- norovirus is very contagious and there are plenty of ways to catch it without eating tainted food. But anything you can do to improve your chances I will strongly endorse.

*Frail elderly, very young and immunocompromised people can be seriously injured or killed, by dehydration Parents of young children should keep Pedialite or similar rehydration fluid in the house, just in case. Sugary drinks, however, are not a good idea.

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