Two weeks ago, I was a happy, relatively carefree individual who planned to get a flu shot soon. Then, like an unhealthy number of people around here, I got the flu. My advice to you is, if at all possible, avoid this modern version of the plague.
Bill came down with it first. His method of fighting any illness is go to bed and sweat it out. I check on him at regular intervals to supply ice water and make sure he is still breathing. If he is not requesting food within a reasonable amount of time, I begin trying to get him to the doctor.
Sometimes the only way to accomplish this is to scare the living daylights out of him by reporting any and all horror stories that have occurred to others who had symptoms similar to his. However, that wasn’t necessary this time because I had an appointment for a regular check-up, and Bill rapidly progressed to the respiratory part of his flu. It’s difficult to keep your head under the covers when you’re coughing your head off. He began to use the cough syrup that worked the last time.
By the day I went to the doctor, my throat was scratchy, and the cough had begun. When the doctor asked if I had a headache, I told him no, but Bill did. From then on, I knew it was going to be a two-for-one diagnosis, a medical bargain. How often do you get that these days?
The medical check-up went well, and I was back home about an hour later with pills for both of us and cough syrup and some comfort foods for Bill.
We took our medicine, and I was confident I would breeze right through this flu. Of course, the doctor warned me it would last a week if I took my medicine, seven days if I didn’t.
Four pills later, my stomach, which had been slightly upset, had progressed through queasy to downright sick. At first, I thought my flu had become stomach as well as respiratory. One more pill and violent upchucking helped me to realize I was having a severe reaction to the medication. I decided that coping with respiratory flu was enough, so I stopped taking the medication that was making me sicker than the flu.
Meanwhile, Bill, the originator of this plague on our house, was feeling better. The medicine was apparently his friend. We had traded roles. He was the caretaker; I was the patient.
I’m not sure in what order, but all the usual symptoms of flu descended on me. The headache was horrendous. There was only one, but it lasted for the full term of the flu. The cough seemed to last forever, and the laryngitis that accompanied the cough was phenomenal.
Bill took most of the phone calls, but one day while he was out getting supplies, I hacked and cackled a hello into the phone when it rang. Silence answered. Finally a very quiet voice asked, “Is Mrs. Floyd there?”
I managed to bark, “Yes!”
Came the hesitant reply, “May I talk to her?” And that was one of my own daughters.
My eyeballs actually ached, and so did my teeth. I remember thinking that if I punctured my skin, it would shatter into shards of clear crystal. A friend told me that some people take drugs so they can feel that way. They really are crazy.
Bill is better now, and I am sure I will be by the time you read this. I still plan to get a flu shot just as soon as I am completely over this flu. I think the shot covers two different strands of flu, which means I’ll only have to worry about getting 1,998 strands it doesn’t cover.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This column was first published in the Greenville Advocate Nov. 5, 2003.