“Elevation of body temperature occurring as a result of hypothalamic coordination of autonomic, neuroendocrine, and behavioral responses in reaction to physiological injury or invasion is generally known as fever…Several rationales exist for treating fever…including the… reduction of fever-induced cognitive impairment, and prevention of febrile seizures.” – ‘www.depressedmetabolism.com’
Since 2007 the frequency of my being ill has increased. I especially catch fever upon the slightest of provocation and would usually spend twenty days in a year battling high temperature and cognitive impairment. People around me look at me with disbelief,
‘How can you fall ill inspite of your proactive lifestyle, adventure sports, gymming, sports.’
Earlier I used to defend myself blaming India and the dust and bacteria infested city but now I have stopped doing that. My brother gets an added kick as he used to be more than fifteen kg over weight until two years back. After pushing him repeatedly one way or the other he took to trekking and gymming. Now he is back to where he should be but never fails to draw the pun on me while talking to my mum,
‘Look at him, go to gym, go to gym, that’s what he keeps saying, and himself keeps falling sick.’
And now my fiance’. I keep pushing her to walk and run at every possible opportunity for stronger knees assuring her that she will thank me when she is 45. She and my brother are an army with a stock full of ammunition riddling, ‘staying healthy and working out are totally unrelated.’
After nurturing some unwanted bacteria/worm that found some corner in me perhaps two days back and when it was prospering my father-in-law dozed some stunner of antibiotics on it’s prospering porch that would been shining with wailing babies, like the mythical Vampires that shun the sunshine, and everything else that humans as a soul moon over. One fails, the other prospers. Bacteria- the oldest of all organisms. Some help man, some kill. Man has learnt to make use of the better ones, but the killer ones keep coming back. Every year India is hit by one epidemic or other, sometimes Dengue and Malaria being the most common ones. And has India been able to eliminate them? You will get two different answers. Answer no. one when you talk to the ministers, answer no. two when with the poor common man whose father succumbed last year. Irony is Indians seem to be less informed about what’s around them than people who are outside. Ask a visitor in Britain intending to travel to India. He would have taken the required shots and would be ready with medications upon his visit. But a man sitting on the footpaths in India never knows that it’s Dengue even if his mother dies of it.
After two days in fever, I am feeling better now with two more days of medication, I recall what it felt like experiencing ‘cognitive impairment’. This time I want to record it and in that process also want to empathize with the chasm humans and animals undergo during the possession of fever, in a herd of elephants, as hippo, as a monkey, as a man sleeping in a cardboard box in New York, as the CEO of a fortune 500 company, as a family member of the royal family of Bahrain, as Shubham Basu.
Loss of Balance – Balance system in ear affected. Even after sleeping for hours I feel like sitting up, watching television, or reading (if I am feeling a little better) and standing on the verandah (for want of fresh air). I grope my way to the verandah but that is a difficult job. My body feeling very stiff and I can feel my body parts and loss of strength. I find it difficult to stay upright without support. I ultimately find my bed again.
Loss of Strength – All systems start failing one after another like it was in Jurassic Park. The fever like the dinosaur start overcoming all defense mechanisms but with the loss in the ‘cognitive capacity’ (electricity) all physical manifestation of the body seem to be collapsing one after another starting with the five senses then internal (digestive) and liver functions. The thing affected last is the ‘subconscious mechanisms’ i.e. the automatic processes (heart beat, blood circulation, regulations inside the body). The time body has to recover is until the subconscious mechanisms start failing. They are very hardy and can stretch and perform under the direst circumstances. It might mean having lost limbs or partial paralysis, as in case of acute high-altitude hypothermic conditions.
Loss of Motor Control- I experience slurring, missing syllables, and gaps in my speech. It requires a lot of efforts on my end to speak and express under very feverish state. Usually during expressions I use a lot of facial gestures and body movement, all of which is missing out entirely. Being 32 yrs old I feel that even when I am under a heavy influence of fever, my muscles are strong enough to avoid any falls. I guess it might be much worse for somebody who is above 50.
Hallucination – The mind doesn’t require sleep but the body is unable to do anything better. I sleep most of the times. My mind is still active (under subconscious control). I undergo massive hallucinations being influenced by sick muscles and body. A healthy body has a healthy mind, a sick body has a sick mind. Every time I wake up it’s a headache more out of the hallucinations than the sleep. The brain is not able to function for need to adequate conditions. The nervous system and brain is out for a toss the firefighting is in full action, in auto-pilot. The mind is idle, for need of better thoughts it makes best of available resources, hallucinate. I can only imagine the state of mind one is in after hallucinating for ten days straight. What is his world of reality? What would he believe?
Over the years I have started enjoying my fevers as well whenever they happen. They don’t seem as bad. Only that when my bed is wet with sweat, it’s irritates a little. But I am sure I will get over it soon enough. Now I can certainly empathize more with people who have lost their cognitive controls for one reason or another. Vegetable is vegetable, partial or whole.