Fever is your friend (day 175)

When I first got here I had difficulty walking. Mostly this was because of my very high temperature. But there is a good side as well. Let me explain.

Humans operate at around 36.7 degrees I think (although a normal mouth temperature is 36.4 it seems). Anything higher than that and you don’t feel so good. When my temperature reached 40 I felt very very bad.

At high temperatures weird things happen. Strange thoughts cross your mind. When I was talking to people I could hear my own voice like it was someone else speaking. I was surprised when everything went quiet when I stopped talking. And you can’t trust your eyes. Yes, I spend some time each day looking at the ceiling in the half-light (I sleep a lot too) and hallucinating.

And actually, once you stop worrying about it, when you are lying down in a hospital bed, and antibiotics are killing the pneumonia in your lungs so that you can lie comfortably and breathe without pain and without coughing too much, having your own little picture show in front of your eyes is not too bad.

It is kinda like one of those optical illusions where you can never decide whether the shape is a candlestick or a woman’s face. I look at the light and it looks like a cloudy sky, and then like a face, and then like a building. And then suddenly I realise it is a light in the ceiling above my head. But then it changes again. And again. Very strange. Hard to describe if you have never experienced it.

I remember once hitchhiking from Picton to Christchurch and getting picked up really late at night and really dark (stupid time to hitch hike, by the way) by some carpet cleaner who ran the heater in his van at full bore all the time. So it was like 2 in the morning, I was really tired (having spent the previous few days without much sleep), dopey from the heat and mostly falling asleep. And I would look out the windows and see women wearing black carrying umbrellas at the side of the road. And I would think ‘that can’t be right’. And then I would blink and realise they were traffic signs.

So hallucinating is quite cool. But, and take this to heart, it is not worth getting pneumonia for.