Every now and again our bodies remind us just how far we can push them before they take charge. I reached my limit last Friday when a couple of my workmates decided I should go home about an hour and a half after I started work. I must have looked pretty bad. Luckily I managed not to vomit until I got home. While Melbourne basked in warm sunshine, I shivered under a doona.

It is now Sunday afternoon and I think I’ve finally beaten the fever. But it has left me weak, as limp as a two-week old floral arrangement deprived of water. It took me three hours this morning to make it to the shower and an hour of resting afterward before I could manage to open my laptop. It is all so frustrating.

The human body is pretty amazing. When you get an infection your immune system knows it doesn’t belong there and fights to get rid of it. In the process chemicals called pyrogens are released into the blood stream and travel to the brain. There they interact with the hypothalamus which acts as the thermostat for the body. So the hypothalamus spots these pyrogens and resets your body temperature to higher in order to fight the invader. The result is fever.

It has just taken me an hour to write a couple of hundred words. All I want to do now is lie down. So I will.

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