Friday, February 16, 2018

The Flu: Women and Children First

Copyright © Edward Riojas

We have just started the season of Lent, but sometimes even the Church calendar gets trumped. It’s also flu season, and if you’ve been hit as I have recently, you know how effectively schedules and calendars can get re-worked due to illness. Everyone knows the flu is serious stuff – especially this particular season – but if we can’t chuckle over it’s short-lived command of our lives, then we must all go mad. Being forced to ponder the illness has allowed me to randomly collect one or two thoughts that don’t necessarily connect in any logical way. Blame it on the flu.
"The Doctor Schnabel (Dr. Beak) from Rome."
Attributed to Paul Fürst. c. 1656.

How it works:
Woman: “I think I’ve got the flu.” (*sniff)
Children, of no particular clan: “We don’t feel too good.” (*sniff)
Me, the pile of humanity that appears to have just been dropped by a large-bore elephant gun: “flu.” (*wheeze.hack.cough.)

The bigger they are
Women in general, and moms in particular, are by nature loaded with extra antitoxins, antibiotics, and anti venom. Children, by playing constantly in the dirt, have built up resistance to common maladies such as typhus, diphtheria, amoebic dysentery, rhinitis, whooping cough and compound fractures. Perhaps I’m just a baby, but I seem to always bear the brunt of symptoms. When I go down, I go down hard.

Casting call
Even when attempting to appear heroic and getting a couple of aspirin to ease my own suffering, I tend to look and sound like an extra from a zombie movie. I stumble across the house with one foot dragging and eyes half-closed. I grunt and groan and say unintelligible things more often than normal. Yes, more often than normal.

Dealing with light
Sometimes there aren’t enough curtains. The first room in which I quarantined myself did not have enough light-blocking window treatments. It also did not have enough sheets of plywood, small paintings, boxes, towels, blankets, pencils, paperclips, paint brushes, stacks of newspapers, furniture, mattresses and foam remnants to cover the windows. When all was said and done, it looked like the premises was overtaken by a hoarding vampire. And still the light came in.

Dealing with more light
The second room in which I quarantined myself had sufficient, light-blocking shades, but it also had a computer and a modem. The array of randomly-blinking lights drilled into my brain until subdued by piles of socks.

Whining like a baby
All I wanted was to burp. If you don’t know this feeling, then you’ve never had the flu. Pop and soda are never present in our house, so the request for something carbonated took a while to move up the chain of command. It seemed days. All I wanted was to burp. In a stretch, soft drinks sort of count as clear liquids – at least that is how logic works when one is ill. Honestly, all I wanted was to burp. One can then imagine my disappointment when the bottle finally arrived, massive quaffing began, and a single, sickly “blip” came out. All I wanted was to burp.

A forced vacation
No one wants to book a vacation to the middle of the Black Plague, but these two past weeks have certainly felt that way. Besides dropping everything on the calendar, I’ve muddled my brain with illness and with drugs that supposedly ease the same, and I’ve arrived at a destination feeling like a beat-up piñata. All this without leaving the comfort of a darkened room.

Maybe a beer will help me burp.

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