The boy only eats carbohydrates. OK, maybe I am exaggerating. Every now and then, he’ll eat a (dry) turkey sandwich. Once a week, he’ll eat half a hamburger. And he is more than willing to take in calcium, as long as it comes in a frozen form and is heavily disguised with sugar.
Otherwise, the boy is on the anti-Atkins diet.
Yet he never gets sick. In two years, he has not once missed school, because if he absolutely MUST get conjunctivitis, he gets it over school breaks. If a cold is going around, he usually skips over all the symptoms and goes straight for the post-cold cough, which lingers on him just like everyone else.
“Why the fuck doesn’t he ever get sick?” I asked my best friend. “He brings it home and gives it to the others, but Zach, himself, never gets sick.”
“Neither do you,” she pointed out. Oh, yeah. I mean, I do get colds, but I don’t get them like other people do. My nose runs, I cough, but I am not flat out on my back, and I run through them much faster than others. I like to think I metabolize them faster.
When Lilah had her recent illness, I asked the pediatrician why, exactly, it seemed that her brother manages to bring home this crap to her, but he stays healthy. “Benjamin is the one who eats everything, why is Zachary always healthy? Is there a lot of Vitamin C in bread?”
“Some people have Super Immune systems,” she told me. “Their bodies have a lot of the cells that attach infection. Women who are like that have a hard time getting pregnant.” Um, really? “Their bodies attack the embryo as a foreign substance.”
Seriously? Because I had a hard time getting pregnant. The first two times. The third time, of course, my body had figured out that those little cells were supposed to stay put.
“Is that why Zachary has such a strong reaction to immunizations?” I wondered.
“Probably,” was the reply. “Kids who have a Super Immune system will fight off the vaccine better. Especially a flu vaccine.” Like, say, get an arm swollen to three times its normal size? That explains a lot.