Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Flu and Me.

I have the flu. Yes, I did get a flu shot, no, it did not help. I started coming down hard Thursday morning and bailed out of work. For the next two days I would migrate from the bed to the sofa, and from the sofa to the bed, and that’s all I could manage. For forty-eight hours my world became a very surreal and painful thing. There isn’t anything in my life experiences to compare to the flu. There just isn’t anything out there quite as bad. Not that Ebola, Malaria, Cancer, and songs from Justina Beaver aren’t far worse diseases, mind you, it’s just that as far as nonfatal infections go, this one ought to.

I knew I was in trouble, and because I’ve had the flu before, damn, it’s been ten years ago, hasn’t it, I knew what it was. Like the last time, ten years ago, I got it this time from someone at work. I landed Thursday morning and for the next forty-eight hours thing that usually happened ceased to happen and things that didn’t ever really happen seemed to happen.

Personal hygiene took a hit and I didn’t realize it until this morning that I hadn’t taken a shower since Thursday morning. Washing clothes didn’t happen. Worse than any of this, I nearly stopped eating. Nausea, weakness, and a host of joint pains kept me from moving around enough to do more than migrate from sofa to bed and from bed to sofa. The joint pain is not something I remembered from last time. But my knees hurt like hell. The immobility caused my back to start hurting. My hips soon fell in line with everything else and pain became something I couldn’t avoid as long as I wasn’t moving and moving made things worse.

The surreal part of the disease is how my dreams were shaped. There was a reoccurring dream where I was operating some sort of machine that was constructing odd shaped metal somethings. The pieces of metal were somehow connected to me being sick and if I worked hard enough I would get well again. There was a dream where I was trying to get well to keep from being fired from work, because of the rules forbidding employees taking anything home from work, and clearly, I had taken this flu home from work.

Time ceased to exist in the form it usually takes. I lay on the sofa yesterday and watched the shadows in the yard move from one side of the trees to the other. It seemed to happen in just a few minutes. Last night the clock seemed to move forward and backward when I looked at it. The red numbers at one point seemed liquid and warm. I was alternatively too hot or too cold and at some point in the night I got up and let the dogs out, which I saw as a very good sign.

My sense of taste and smell deserted me and in their place left two strangers. Suddenly, I couldn’t stand the smell of garlic, the best spice ever, and my mouth tasted like I had been gargling lead BBs. Food that I had prepared a couple of day ago and loved suddenly smelled vile and disgusting. Worse, I began craving French fries. Having the flu and craving French Fries is like being horny after you’ve been diagnosed with a STD.

When I coughed it felt like millions of tiny needles were lodged in my throat. And if I coughed long enough and hard enough it felt like I was going to puke out everything I owned from the waist down. It actually hurt in places it usually takes a swift kick to hurt when I coughed hard. Worse and worse, coughing make my throat drier and I wasn’t able to get up and get water. Friday, the 12th of February, 2016, was a fucking bad day.

A few of the odd after effects of being bedridden for two complete days is I didn’t drive for two days. When I went into town early this morning it was as if I had never driven before. I nearly hit my mailbox when I pulled over to it. I think the virus affected my sense of balance. I also think that two days of total inactivity produce a “habit” in in brain to not account for movement. It’s harder to type than it was before. I feel better right now than I did twenty-four hours ago, certainly, but at the same time, I can tell I am nowhere near one hundred percent.

Tyger Linn, of all people, never left my side when I was down. She stayed on top of me as much as she could and she showed her teeth to the Cousins whenever they drew near. She let Lilith approach me but Tyger Linn wasn’t going to let anything happen to me, whatever it was that was happening to me. She is a very curious creature, this little Pibble; for all her soul of a huntress and her drive to be outside, Tyger Linn is the one who stayed with me. Of all the surprising things this malady has brought Tyger Linn as a nurse is perhaps the biggest surprise of all.

I feel better right now than I did when I woke up this morning. I feel better right now than I did when I began this writing. Whichever virus has struck me down, its time has not passed entirely but its time is certainly nigh. The joint pain is gone. My appetite is returning. The coughing is considerable lessened. The fever broke and has not returned. I’m getting up and moving around more normally again, and I might even throw in some Yoga today, but I’m certainly not going to overdo it. But what makes me really feel like I am on the mend and getting better is Tyger Linn is outside laying in the sunshine and not sitting on top of me.

The doctor has spoken.

Take Care,



  1. I had the flu a couple of years ago. Really knocked me down, as it did you, Mike. I recall being on the bed and being in a bit of a haze as my wife left for work. The day passed, and I moved back and forth from sleep to wakefulness. The only way I could tell time was the amount of light in the room from outside. All day long this woman kept talking to me, although she was speaking a foreign language, and I couldn't make any sense of it.

    My wife came home ten hours later, to find me in the exact position in the bed. What that meant was that I'd had no food or water, nor had I urinated or defecated. The surrender of my body to the fatigue was complete.

    The woman I kept hearing? Turned out to be the air in my head passing through snot as I breathed, making funny noises.

    I had an epic bout of bronchitis a few weeks ago from which I'm still recovering, but nothing like that flu. I empathize, Mike, I really do.

    1. That was another thing, Roadie. I didn't seem to have to urinate as often and my once a day at six am sharp bowel movement was cancelled. This thing is a bitch. It gets to you physically and then works on your mind.

  2. When I decided to end my career as a drunk the alcoholic influence on my mind and system left with a heavy handedness that I will never forget. Every night, it seemed, the doors to any one of the many seedy bars I sat were opened up to allow me to drink myself into oblivion. I could taste the booze, smell the cigarette smoke as well as the cheap perfume of the older than me woman I was hustling at the moment. Years passed and the drunk dreams ceased. Eventually I went back to the usual dream where I'm standing in front of a classroom of contemporaries stark naked attempting to answer questions to a test I didn't study for. What I believe you were experiencing were oerdosed antihistime fueled images and plots employing any number of people. places and dogs. Doubling Nyquil's dosage will invite mayhem in the REM. The fatigue of the flu combined with a correct dosage should do the trick when again faced with another like situation. But, hey, be thankful. The snake didn't bite you, you didn't have to explain why you suddenly have new dachsund puppies to the rest of the pack and your ex-wife didn't poison you. Best of all, you're not standing naked in front of a classroom of your comtemporaries.

  3. I have had the flu many times over the past couple of years and it is not a fun experience. It zaps all of your energy and motivation to get anything done. Did you at least follow up with a "real" doctor to make sure everything was cleared up?