There are good sides to being ill (if "ill" means the kind of ailment that I'm just getting over, rather than a fatal disease).
First, you appreciate your usual physical condition so much more once whatever virus has come to visit you unbidden has worked its way through your system.
Second, for the first time in ages you feel rested because you've had so much more sleep than usual.
Third, being ill provides a certain intellectual satisfaction, as it defies the infantile anti-materialism of the untested "theories" that suffuse your professional world and thus feeds whatever scepticism you might have been harbouring about the same for a while.
Being ill reminds you -- painfully, annoyingly, but also somehow pleasantly -- that you are not a discourse.
Which is why right now, with my lingering repertoire of coughs, rattles and pains, I am particularly sensitive to the eloquent stupidity/stupid eloquence of some of the popular ideas about the body vented in academia not too long ago (a fashion in which I, sadly, participated, too).
Take Jonathan Sawday's The Body Emblazoned: Dissection and the Human Body in Renaissance Culture (1995) -- a study that was enormously influential during the late 1990s, when it fed into a general cultural craze about all things anatomical (manifesting itself for instance in the way that hitherto hardly known names like Andreas Vesalius and Nicolaes Tulp began to be dropped at sub-academic cheese and red wine parties like there was no tomorrow).
On page 16, Sawday writes:
In the twentieth century it is virtually impossible to think about the body outside a prevailing medical-scientific discourse.Hm. There was a time when I thought lines like that were poetry. No more, though. It's all cheese, as we say here in Germany.
Just for the record, let it be noted that even in the twenty-first century I can still recognise that the stubborn blockage of mucus in my lungs is more than a mere narrative construct. What is more, I want my antibiotics, however prevailing the medical-scientific discourse that has brought me that marvellous gift.
And without the Foucauldian chaser, please!