If you haven’t experienced the flu in a while, you forget how completely it takes over your life. When you have the flu, that’s pretty much all you can do. It’s a full-time job. My body temperature, for example, jumps around from 97.1 to 101.5 on a schedule known only to itself. Right now, it’s 101.3. And yet I’m freezing and occasionally racked by chills. (Useful tip: Since uncontrollable chills can strike at any moment, flu sufferers are advised to pee sitting down.) My skull feels like it’s in a tennis-racket press—the old wooden kind with screws at the corners. Meanwhile, a bunch of elves have set up a blacksmith shop behind my eyeballs. I don’t know what they’re making, but they’re pounding their anvils enthusiastically. Also, an invisible plumber is snaking my sinuses with barbed wire. I’m convinced he’s getting paid by the hour because he’s taking his time. And sometime last night while I was unconscious I must have been thrown down a flight of stairs because there’s no part of me that doesn’t ache. Actually, that’s not quite true. While my tongue has lost its ability to taste—you could give me tea made of old socks and I’d drink it happily—at least it doesn’t hurt.