COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - At first, it seems like an off-hand comment. Except it is coming from John Ureda, a man of such intellect even off-hand comments seem to have deep meaning.
"I've forgiven the mosquito."
This wasn't just any pesky bug. The mosquito that sank its proboscis into Ureda's skin in his Shandon backyard early last August nearly killed him.
The 62-year-old public health consultant still hasn't recovered completely from the rarest form of West Nile virus. The muscles in his left leg don't react to commands from his brain, his other limbs won't go places they did before, and his breathing remains raspy.
As a college professor, Ureda helped students link public health and chaos theory, which declares that minute changes along the way can lead to enormously different outcomes. Now he's a textbook example of not giving into things spiraling, seemingly out of control, all around you.
"I won't let myself be despondent," Ureda says. "Psychological issues are part of my profession. I know the importance of being positive. I'm not allowing the negative to slip in. I've chosen to live life in a positive way."