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In a couple of weeks I'll be fifty years old. This birthday will be remembered by me not so much for hitting the half-century mark but for a virus commonly known as infectious mononucleosis.

Yes, I have adult mono. No, I haven't been kissing anyone lately (other than my wife), thank you. I've lived with this malady for five months without the foggiest notion of how I contracted it or when it will go away. It's not something you fight with pills and trips to the doctor.

Mono is persistent and decimating. Within five hours of arising each morning, I abruptly collapse in total fatigue, as if someone shuts off the energy valve. My body no longer responds to the directives of my brain.

Being intense, somewhat driven, perpetually guilty of over-scheduling, and then pushing myself to the limit to keep all my promises has only exacerbated my discomfort. But, like it or not, at about 1 P.M. every day, my energy tank runs dry, and I'm through until morning. The number of unreturned phone calls, unfinished ...

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