With my new personal assistant, The Flu, I can now take all the time I need off from work because there is no hope of me being productive for more than an hour or two a day. I’m certain my employees and my supervisors are thrilled as well as everyone else who depends on me. This nasty little pathogen has cost me five days of my life, three days of work, and at least one day, Friday, that I remember as being somewhere between a nightmare and having nightmares. It’s like having a disease with a clipboard going down the lists of things that bring misery and it can bring it.
The weather was just plain damn cold as hell when this thing hit. Lows were in the thirties and highs, such as they were, never got above sixty. It was seventy-two today, and it’s in the middle sixties right now. Yet here I am, still stuffed in a sleeping bag trying to stay warm because my body has ceased to heat itself. The fever hasn’t been back yet but I am still cold.
The cough was gone. Then it was back. Then it was gone. It was here this morning but missing right now. Flip a coin, divide by two, take the average and get the square root of the means and add one and that’ll tell you if the cough is back, or just left, or about to reappear, or…
I sneezed today, five times in a row, hard, and if I would have had a problem with incontinence, I would have discovered it at that moment. It felt like my entire body was going to be turned inside out.
I went into work for a short time today and people who had the flu last year dove out of my way screaming, holding up crosses, tossing their children in front of me to save themselves and cursing my name in hopes that some god would hear their lamentations and strike me dead with a bolt of lightning or Tamiflu. Seriously, I stayed out of the office and stayed away from being close to people indoors, but I had to go make contact with a few people and they acted like I had pulled a gun on them. I’m not sure, at this point, if that reaction is unwarranted. I’ve never had a conversation with someone who kept backing away from me but I have now. There was a time I had a roommate who had problems with his breath. I know how he felt going through life now.
A surgical mask isn’t out of the question and people like me ought not be out of the ordinary but everyone looked at me strangely until I told them why I was wearing it. Hey man, what’cha got on your face it you look like… you have the flu? MOTHER OF ALL THINGS HOLY GET THE HELL AWAY FROM ME. I bought some cough drops at the drug store and the woman told me I couldn’t use my credit card for anything less than a buck fifty.
“Do you really want to handle my money?” I asked her and she recoiled in terror. I just bought more cough drops to make the minimum.
Uh huh, I’m packing and stacking those viruses people. I know how a skunk can walk through the middle of a pack of wolves and those mothers scatter like hell. You guys with those dreads think people will get the hell out of your way? Dig my mask and hacking cough. It’s like Godzilla with a snot problem, I tell you.
In all good truth, it’s a scary thing to be carrying this thing around with me. I had a meeting scheduled this morning and told the man I was supposed to meet with I was calling it off. He asked me why and I told him I had the flu and that did it. The man has a pregnant wife. Fuck work. Fuck the job. Fuck everything. He and I both bailed out on this one.
Don’t be stupid people. Please. If you have the flu stay the hell away from those who are at the most risk. I got this from driving a truck someone with the flu had driven. I locked my work truck and took the keys home with me. Let them find another ride because this one is a hot zone. Don’t put other people at risk. You might damn well kill someone. What if I had gone into that meeting today and infected that guy who might have infected his pregnant wife?
Everyone you meet in a store or on the street is someone you might pass it onto. Wear a mask, wash your hands like a religion, and stay the hell away from people.
More than anything else about this disease I hate the fragility of my body. The idea that something, anything at all, can reduce me to a near comatose and worthless pile of flesh and boogers is more that can be stood or understood. Common tasks like cleaning the house or washing clothes or doing the dishes seem monumental and arduous to a degree. When the Cousin Canines escaped yesterday going after them in a field seemed like an epic journey. Today, rigging the kennel to keep them captive took all I had and then some. Having to rest after that is like watching someone walk a lap then have to take a break.
Yes, for the elevedy billionth time, I did get a flu shot. No, it didn’t work. At the same time I’m out on the tail end of this thing, I hope, and the worst seems to be behind me right now. Wearing the surgical mask is kind of fun, though. I just hope one of those open carry people don’t riddle me with holes thinking I’m trying to rob the drug store or the doctor’s office.
You know they say that’s the two places you always find old people. And sick people. And old sick people.