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On being sick 15 November 2011

Posted by uggclogs in Life.

A strange phenomenon happens when I get sick. I have never met anyone else with the same phenomenon. But, as my mother can attest, I have complained about this since I was a little nipper.

I hear sounds that are not there.

This only happens when I am about to get really, truly ill. If it’s just a little cold or a bout of food poisoning, this does not happen. It seems to be mainly a symptom of severe colds or the flu. And as I hardly ever get that sick anymore, it hardly ever happens. But on the weekend, I was completely knocked off my feet by a terrible flu, and it reminded me of this quirk.

It starts with a woozy feeling. I feel removed from the world. Sounds are muffled, slightly delayed. I feel like I am floating. At this point, I can tell it’s going to be a doozy.

Then, other things start feeling odd. If I am lying still, the definition of my extremities seem to become fluid. I know where my hands are, but I can not distinguish between my fingers. Everything feels heavy, impossible to move. Until I try – and I discover that I have full range of motion, full control.

My tongue seems to swell, and my mouth feels gummy, out of touch. My teeth feel soft. A slight metallic taste follows. It is not unpleasant, but distinctive. Similar to all the other feelings described above, this is a very typical “I am getting sick” taste, one which I never get otherwise. It tastes like the smell of electricity in the air.

Lying there, slowly biting my jaws together to ensure that my tongue is in fact not taking over my moth, and that my teeth are not disintegrating, the sounds will start.

They range from whispers near my ears, to loud, ringing laughter. I can never make out what is being said – it’s more of a feeling rather than a conversation. The whispers have sometimes woken me up, because they were so clear, right next to my ear. As if someone leant over me and said something. Yet I have never understood what they have said. As if the act of hearing it has made me forget the meaning of the words.

The laughter, when present, is mocking, threatening. It is always accompanied by a falling feeling. Like I have just been pushed off a cliff, and the laughter is from the person who pushed. Boulders are somehow involved. I can’t explain the assosiation I get from boulders and large rocks. As if there is some meaning there that I can grasp during, but never after the experience.

Despite having had this my whole life, it is still terrifying. When I was little, I was afraid of the malintent in the tone of the laughter. Now, all grown up, I am always worried about the connotations of hearing things. I am not (as far as I can tell) losing grip on reality, after all.  

I can now rationalise the experience, and when it comes on, I can largely ignore it and wait for it to pass. They are always short bouts, and never last more than around 24 hours, if that.

I assume that, because they are always the same (either a whisper or a laugh) they are a type of fever delirium, only present when I have a high fever.

But what a strange thing to have.

Does anyone else have a similar pattern of physiological or psychological signs that a bout of flu is coming on?



1. buddhafulkat - 15 November 2011

*like* because the topic is interesting but *unlike* that you got so ill

I knew someone once who when severely ill (with fever as you described) would become delirious and have a dialogue with herself – like she was hearing and responding to a conversation no one else was a part of; when she was fully awake she wouldn’t remember anything

2. buddhafulkat - 15 November 2011

I said “fully awake” because it was almost like sleep walking – I should have said, when the fever passed or when she was alert/normal again

3. buddhafulkat - 15 November 2011

last and final comment…darn FB and the idea of ‘unlike’ as in undoing the *like* button….still bad grammar… *dislike*

hugs and feel better =)

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