Even after having lived on the Surface for many months, there are some things that Grillby just can’t wrap his mind around. Drastic changes in weather occurring in a single day. Technological advances made without magic. Grocery stores containing more food in a wider variety than all the shops in Snowdin and Waterfall combined. Holidays designated for any noun you can come up with. The sheer amount of space that surrounds him now that he’s not trapped Underground.
Human illnesses are another one of those things.
Sure, monsters can fall under the weather at times, usually when there’s something going wrong with their magic, but there’s always an easy fix. Most of the time, all it takes is a bit of food rich in healing magic and everything is good to go. On rare occasions, a monster may need to visit a healer, but even then, the recovery process is mostly based on the use of green magic.
Humans, however, are a lot more complicated with their more physical, water-based forms. Hundreds, if not thousands, of different medications exist, each one treating different ailments. In addition to this, humans of different age groups and sometimes even different genders have their own specific variants. Grillby can clearly remember the day that Sans had him tag along to buy some sort of medicine for young Frisk. The completely overwhelming nature of seeing all those different boxes labelled with strange names in a rainbow of colours. Together, it had taken the two monsters over half an hour to find the correct one, and that’s after they had enlisted the help of a pharmacist.
Also, there’s the fact that human illnesses seem to cause so much damage. The plague that decimated a third of a continent’s population comes to mind. Annual epidemics such as the flu that target weaker members of a population that can spread like wildfire. It is strange to think that beings with such powerful Souls can be so easily defeated by microscopic organisms.
That’s why when Grillby received a text from you earlier this morning, he started freaking out.
You: Hey Grillby, I’m going to need to cancel on today. Sorry for not being able to give you more of a head’s up
Grillby: No problem. May I ask why?
You: Just not feeling so hot today
You: It’s probably just a cold
Just a cold? Just a cold? How in the Angel’s name is a cold something you can just brush off like that? There is no way that having a lowered body temperature can be good for a human. In fact, weren’t you just complaining the other day about how the heating at your workplace had broken and you were stuck wearing multiple layers so you didn’t get sick? There was a fancy word that you used, not that Grillby can remember.
Maybe he should look it up online.
As it turns out, humans at least have easy access to medical information through the internet. The fire elemental got almost ninety-seven million results for his search of ‘human body temperature is too low’, with the first several results being websites explaining the possible causes. He clicks on the first link, which is labelled with the term ‘hypothermia’. That at least sounds vaguely familiar from your earlier conversation with him. However, the further down the page he reads, the more horrified Grillby becomes. Hypothermia is considered a medical emergency, requiring immediate medical attention. From the sounds of it, you should be able to recover if you get help, but the website also says that individuals suffering from this can experience confused thinking. You might not even realise what dire condition you are in!
Flames spiking in panic, Grillby calls you.
“Gri’by,” you mumble after the fourth ring, “wha’ is it?”
Grillby stares at his screen in terror. The website says that slurred speech and mumbling are among the symptoms. How bad is it?
“... do you need me to bring you to the hospital? Or I could get Sans to take a shortcut to the ER...”
There’s a moment of silence across the line, and Grillby is entirely ready to have Sans pop over to your home. Thankfully, you answer again, albeit with a slightly confused tone. “I don’t need to go to the ER. It’s just a cold.”
Again with the ‘just a cold’ line! Why do you have to be so negligent about your health? With the same patient yet firm voice that he uses when he has to cut off Drunk Bun for the night, Grillby explains, “... the internet says that people with hypothermia should go to —”
“... I said —”
“No, I heard what you said. Why do you think I have hypothermia?”
“... you said you were cold, then you were mumbling, which is another sign…”
You give an exasperated sigh over the phone. “Let me stop you there. I said I have a cold, not that I am cold. Sure, I may have chills, but that’s just my body fighting off the fever or something.”
“... but the mumbling…”
“Is also a sign that I started talking right after I woke up. Plus, consuming a metric buttload of cold meds probably didn’t help.”
“... so you’re okay?”
“I mean, not really, but it’s nothing major. Just look up the common cold this time and let me sleep in peace.”
Grillby nods to himself, already typing in the term. “... sorry for waking you.”
“Don’t worry about it,” you yawn. “I’ll see you later, okay?” Before he can respond, you hang up on him.
Somehow, researching the common cold is even more nerve-racking than researching hypothermia! Using the same medical site as last time, he finds himself questioning the sanity of humankind.
First of all, who in their right mind decided to refer to a virus like that as common? Just because humans may get affected on a regular basis by it doesn’t mean that they should try to normalise it by giving it the title of ‘common’! That’s just ridiculous!
Next, how are you so calm about being sick! According to his readings, it can take over a week sometimes for people to recover. A week! A monster has to be close to Falling Down for them to be out of commission for such a long time. And it’s not even like there’s anything proven you can do to get better faster; for some reason, there isn’t any actual cure. All that can be done is treating individual symptoms.
Speaking of symptoms, some of them seem to be rather contradictory. Earlier you mentioned having a fever, but still feeling chilled. But, it says that a fever is when a human’s internal temperature rises higher than normal? As a fire elemental that used to live in Snowdin and who worked with food for most of his life, Grillby can confidently say that warm and cold are opposites.
Needless to say, he decides to make another call.
“Grrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiillllllllllbyyyyyyyyyyyyy, I was sleeeeeeeeeeeeeepiiiiiiiiiiing!” You whine the second you pick up.
“... what’s your fever at? Is it over… one hundred and three F? What unit does the F stand for? Can you breath all right? It says that if you’re short of breath you should go see a doctor. I can still take you if you —”
“Grillby, you kooky matchstick, will you stop worrying already?!” Grillby has to move his phone further away for a moment until you’re done shrieking.
“... sorry,” he offers quietly.
“Look, I’m sorry for getting upset with you. I get that you’re concerned, and it’s sweet. Honestly. But I promise you, my cold isn’t anything to make a big fuss over, you goof. If you want, you can come over and I’ll show you it’s not a big deal.”
“... really?” If you are feeling well enough for him to visit, maybe things really aren’t so bad. And if not, well, at least this means that Grillby can take care of you. This is a complete win-win situation.
“Yeah, as long as you’re fine spending time with a gross human still wearing their pyjamas who occasionally releases large amounts of slimy mucus, we’re good. Oh, and if you bring some soup.”
“... what kind?”
“Chicken noodle, please.”
“... I’ll see you soon.”