I had ambitious goals for the day. I was going to check off several key items from my Work To Do list. I turned off my alarm and got up out of bed. I made one tentative step in front of the other until I made it to the bathroom. I took one look in the bathroom mirror and nearly passed out.
I turned around and went right back to my bed. My to do list would have to wait. Everything would have to wait.
I’ve been sick the past few days with whatever bug is circulating. I have a sore throat, a croaky cough, a drippy nose, and a general fogginess that has cut my attention span to shorter than a ten-second Snapchat video.
To top off, I’m an absolute horrible patient.
My poor reputation
My wife is the most loving person I know. She’s a saint. No, really, she puts up with me, she’s a saint. She’s the type of person that sees a crippled bird along the side of the road and wants to stop to pick it up and nurse it back to health. She’d take in every stray cat and dog we see if it wouldn’t send her allergies through the roof. She’s very kind to strangers and would have made an outstanding nurse.
When it comes to me, though, she’s seen this movie before and knows to exit the theater before she gets sucked into watching it again. When she sees me start to get the sniffles, she runs the other way. “Oh, great to see you honey. You’re not feeling well, aww, what a shame, you poor baby.”
She’ll pat my pillow and pull up the blanket that I have on top of me on the couch. She may even grab me an iced glass of ginger ale or juice, but she knows not to take off her coat or make herself at home. She’ll come back into the room and say, “I’m sorry honey to do this to you, but I have to run back to school. I forgot, umm, I have to work tonight. Sorry dear, it’s a last minute thing. You understand, right? Get better, see you later.”
Oh, I don’t blame her. She’s dealt with me with too much in the past. She knows the beast I turn into when I get the cold or flu.
Tough as nails (except when it comes the cold)
Pain is relative. When I go for a run, I would never think to complain about a muscle cramp or even the backache or knee pain that comes the next day. My approach is that it comes with the territory. Get used to it.
I could be working on a honey-to-do project in our basement and hit my thumb with a hammer. I’ll curse my stupidity, but would never think about milking the pain.
I once had to get an emergency appendectomy. I don’t think I said a word. In fact, I tried to convince my father-in-law racing me to the hospital to stop for a water. I thought a bottle of water, and maybe a Wawa soft pretzel would make it all better.
When I was a kid, I had an ear doctor perform a procedure on my eardrum — I’ve long since forgotten the name of the procedure — just that it caused excruciating pain and still send shivers throughout my body when I think about it, but I never complained.
But, when it comes to the cold and flu, I’m a big baby. Yes, I know the jokes about manflu. I’m not sure about that, I know that I focus on my symptoms, I know that I’m miserable. I can’t get in a comfortable position. I can’t read or watch TV. I’m just miserable.
Nothing to joke about
The flu this year has definitely got people’s attention. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that this year’s flu season has been unusually active and still spreading. The hospitalization rate is currently at 31.5 people per 100,000 U.S. residents and more than 50 children have died from the flu this year.
I don’t think I have the flu, but I’m still taking my symptoms seriously. I’m staying home from work and watching it closely. If it gets worse, I’ll see a doctor.
For now, I’m trying load up my immune system and trying my best to muddle through the symptoms and pray that it goes away soon. In the end, there’s no way around it: I’m just a horrible patient.