The Thinker

And I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Flu

Yet another reason to dislike the Bush Administration: I have a probably unnecessary influenza. My wife, who has adult diabetes, had no problem getting her flu shot this year. But of course I, being under 50 and in good health, didn’t qualify. So naturally for the first year since 1996 that I haven’t had my flu shot I have to come down with it.

I guess there is no way of knowing for sure if a flu shot would have protected me or not. I do know that my wife doesn’t seem to be picking it up, and I am going on day four. But anyhow it’s a good bet she won’t. All I know is that inattention by our federal health officials meant that more than half the influenza vaccine did not get to market, so shots had to be rationed. And for sure I’d rather have my elderly parents get their shots instead of me. Still, having gone nine years without the flu I realize anew why I had been studiously getting my flu shots all along. The flu sucks. Big time.

This is my hour to be “up” for the day, a time when I can write some coherent remarks. But if it follows the last three days I will likely be horizontal and in bed shortly.

Technically I’m not even sure this is the flu. I see my doctor this afternoon. Apparently I’m only allowed to get sick on weekends and three-day weekends are ideal. Some symptoms match the flu, some don’t. Persistent headaches: check. Fever: check, but mine have peaked out at around 101 degrees. But they have been coming and going. Loss of appetite: check. The flu is a great way to lose weight, if you are desperate. The thought of food makes me nauseous. On day one I was able to get down a little juice, a banana and an apple. Yesterday I completed a whole bowl of cream of wheat and picked at the meatloaf my wife made for dinner. This morning I made it through half a bowl of raisin bran before giving up.

And oh the fevers and chills! I end up in long running showers desperate to feel warm but it doesn’t quite work. Even a heating pad on my lap makes me feel cold. My day consists of staying awake for a couple hours before my leaden eyes take over and I am vertical on my bed. And yet most of the time I don’t sleep. That’s the maddening part. Too much weird stuff is going on inside my body to allow me to have anything resembling restful sleep. Sometime during the night the load of blankets finally becomes too much and I throw them off.

I’m doing everything right, I think. I take cold medicines out the wazoo. I ingest two extra strength Tylenols when headaches arrive (one just won’t do it). I expectorate whenever I move in bed.

All for naught. They don’t seem to do much to relieve the symptoms. Basically I am a big, painful lump of agony. I can’t focus on anything. I can’t take joy in anything. I can’t read more than a paragraph at a time. The body at least knows what is going on and has been sending unmistakable messages: lie down! Even when I lie down I still feel weak, just less weak.

Naturally I have important meetings this week but I seem helpless to do anything about them. Tomorrow I have to brief our Executive Steering Committee over a hot dispute. Perhaps I can delegate that to my team leader, if I can stay coherent long enough to send the email.

This soon shall pass. But just for the record this is a miserable experience. I hope you get through the flu season unscathed.


Update 5:54 PM EST: Yes, it’s the flu. It’s official. Hmm, did the Department of Homeland Security know I was planning to Turn My Back on Bush on Thursday?

 

2 Responses to “And I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Flu”

  1. 3:54 pm on January 18 2005, Johnny Dangerously said:

    May the Karmic winds remove these Republicans from our midst. From one ailer to another, hope you get well soon.

  2. 6:45 am on January 24 2005, Weesprite said:

    I so enjoyed reading about your flu, Mark. You have an entertaining way of reporting your agony! I hope you are feeling better before you have to try to endure any meetings, etc. Having had the flu before, I know it’s about the most miserable a person can be!

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