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Writer. Wheelman. Occasional DIY mechanic. Walking collection of hang-ups. Hopeless romantic. Old-school. Analog soul in a digital world. I am all of these things and more.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Mumps, death and bullshit.

Just when I was keen on finishing my remaining hours for PETA already, along came this strange swelling and dull pain in my left jawbone area, in front of my left ear. When I felt it on Monday morning, I thought it was stiff neck from watching DVDs while lying on my side—but when did stiff neck involve local pain in the ear area? It also felt like I had been punched in the jaw, but I certainly don’t remember getting into any fights either.

I had a suspicion it was mumps, and a doctor’s checkup confirmed it. Funny how I’m getting this now when I remember having been vaccinated against it when I was in seventh grade. Oh well. I’m living proof that no vaccine is 100% effective, and let’s just say I don’t want my pictures taken anytime soon.

Because of doctor’s orders I’m sidelined for a week. From researching online, mumps is a lot like chickenpox— once you get it, there’s not much you can do to treat it except wait for it to go away, and immunity will be permanent after one round. Unfortunately, I got chickenpox when I was in second grade, so there wasn’t much risk of complications then. Mumps in adults can metamorphose into a number of things—meningitis, encephalitis, even orchitis (that’s literally a pain in the balls for you) which may leave me infertile. These cases are rare, but there’s still a possibility I’ll get any combination of ‘em. Sigh.

While I was eating lunch—a hearty helping of chicken afritada—I felt a LOT of pain in my left jaw. My swollen left parotid salivary glands hurt each time I opened my mouth for each spoonful. Crap. Now I’m restricted to soft foods, and even my breakfast muesli is getting close to doling out pain too. I’m not too keen on eating instant noodles and pancit canton either as they foul up my stomach. I’m eating my mom’s goto as I’m typing this—quite reluctantly.

I certainly hope it’ll go away next week and leave me without any complications. I certainly hope I don’t die of mumps—read somewhere that mumps mortality cases happen past 19 years of age.

Which makes me a prime target.

There are worse things that could happen to me, you know.

Isa’s mom had lost her long battle with breast cancer, and my thesismates and I heard the news just last Sunday. We had been planning on visiting the wake at San Antonio Church in Forbes Park South on Friday, but I can’t come lest I spread the mumps virus to unsuspecting, unvaccinated mourners.

An aunt of Geraldine’s and Denise’s is in critical condition too. It’s pretty sad how these things are happening...

Before I went for the doctor’s checkup yesterday, I dropped by DLSU to claim my long-overdue yearbook. It certainly was heavy—it felt like I was lifting 10 or 15 lbs.—as it was a three-volume one.

I’ll be cynical here. I was perusing the yearbook and I noticed something. With all the write-ups next to each picture (including mine), the yearbook seems like a collection of carefully manipulated pieces of bullshit. I see God-knows-how-many writeups saying that the person in the picture is one in a million or unique or multi-talented. This quote came to mind: “Just remember that you are unique...just like everybody else.”

Well, I suppose it’s bullshit we’re all entitled to as college graduates, so I’m not really complaining. If it’s the only way we can leave an imprint on our alma mater, then fine. I just wonder if all the writeups we’ve carefully put into our yearbooks will still matter or be relevant given some years down the line.

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