Death On The Bayou

I have a sad tale to tell to you.
It happened one summer night hot but clear.
Down in Monroe, Louisiana near a bayou,
A man heard a whiny buzz near to his ear
While taking his Corgi for their nighty walk.
This man a deadly enemy had begun to stalk.

Swatting him away the man thought "Damn mosquito!"
But the mosquito returned to land undetected upon his foot.
The mosquito took a blood meal from his big toe.
Because the man had neglected to take the time to put
Insect repellent on exposed areas of his skin,
Now a scenerio leading to his death did begin.

While withdrawing blood the mosquito had also made a deposit.
Only a few thousand virus particles he did inject,
But each virus soon gained entry into a cell where it fit.
The viruses multiplied hundreds-fold while the man did not suspect
That these viruses were laying waste to thousands of his cells
Because no symptoms yet appeared, their warning to tell.

From a single bite that itched and swelled on his big toe,
The viruses spread to organ after organ, finally in the millions numbering.
How was the man to ever have guessed, much less know
That soon he would be spending his eternity slumbering.
The virus eventually gained entry into the man's brain
Leading to the infection that soon put him in severe pain.

The man awakened that morning to headache, confusion, and fever.
His wife rushed him to the hospital for a doctor's care.
The virus had now produced inflammation and swelling that never
Would respond to any treatments that the doctor might dare.
The man quickly worsened, falling into a coma with his family by his side.
"Viral encephalitis" the doctor wrote on his certificate after he had died.

To this day I find it quite extraordinary still
That such a large man such a tiny virus is able to kill!

(ASIDE : Northeastern La is currently experiencing an outbreak of viral encephalitis that has produced several deaths. I heard on the news last night that another man had died from it yesterday.)

Harry Edward Gilleland      09.24.01