I am sick. A viral infection, maybe a meek version of influenza. Hundreds of thousands of inert little flecks of protein are exploding heedlessly out of my cells, leaving them ruptured and deflated like balloons. I snuffle. I cough up unmentionable things. My skin feels thin and easily bruised. My sinuses are swollen and stuffed. My internal thermometer is broken; it is the middle of a muggy summer and I am alternately covered in blankets and sweating. I have a headache that feels exactly as if a warm vice was being tightened against the veins on either side of my head. I am feverish, I'm sure - the parts of me I have no control over trying to burn out the contagion. My eyes hurt when I focus them. I guzzle orange juice and hope for the best.