There I go again with a long time between posts. You’ll love the main excuse this time.

Just about all of us have experienced the misery of the flu. Most people get it during winter time. Not me. I have to be different.

Tuesday 2 weeks ago, I got up extra early so I could be at the Y when it opened to get a swim in before heading to the office. The water seemed a bit colder than usual. I didn’t mind; I’m almost never cool enough. I did notice my skin seemed to be warmer than normal, but there was no discoloring. Well, it had been 900 degrees all week, so it’s probably that.

I only got to swim because there was already a line for the lap lanes. Established lap swimmers can be very petulant and bratty, so I decided not to fight a battle and got out after about 15 minutes. As I was changing, I felt quite sore over most of my body. While I only swam for 15 minutes, I pushed myself pretty hard. Sore from a good workout, I figured.

I went on into work, sat at my desk, booted up the PC, and turned on the clip-on fan I have on my shelf, pointed at my head. No matter what the weather, this polar bear is never cool enough in the office. After a few minutes working, I suddenly realized I was shivering, as if I were standing outside in a winter wind with no coat on. I turned the fan off. My whole body still ached, my skin was super-hot to the touch, and I was shivering. Finally, as I went to pick up the apple on my desk to take a bite, I realized I had absolutely no energy. These are all standard symptoms of the flu. I decided the best thing to do would be to leave, go to the general doctor’s office, get some medicine, and go home. I composed a 2-line email to my manager and the other managers I support. It took me 10 minutes to write it, I was so wiped out.

I headed to the doc’s office, which has a policy of accepting walk-ins if you don’t mind an extra wait. But the receptionist had no interest in helping me. “You’ll have to come back,” she said gruffly. “No one is available today.” I gently explained (because I didn’t have the energy to do anything but explain gently) that this illness had come upon me today, and it didn’t matter who I saw. “Your doctor has an opening Thursday at 1:30. You want that? There’s nothing else. No one is available today.” I weakly replied, “So I’m sick, and you’re going to just send me away?” She was very anxious to get rid of me at this point. “Well, I could see if a nurse could see you, but there will be a wait.” I said that would be fine.

The wait wasn’t very long at all. A nurse took my vital signs and went looking for a flu test kit. They still had some because it had been a light flu season. The test came back negative, but my body temperature was 102.9! After consulting briefly with my doctor, the nurse said what I had would probably eventually be the flu, but for now I just needed rest and lots of fluids. No problem, I said. I went to the CVS pharmacy in that complex, got me some Gatorade and liquid Thera-flu and headed home. I spent the rest of Tuesday and all day Wednesday laid up. The strategy worked. Thursday morning my temp was down to 98.9, so I went back to work.

But there was one problem – a larger version of a problem I had the last time I had the flu. That was in 2009, and was also during the summer. (Like I said, I have to be different.) During that bout, I got up on the 2nd of my 3-day battle and made the 5-minute walk to the nearby CVS to get some more OTC meds. Later that day, I noticed what I believed was a very deep sunburn on my lower left leg. The burn eventually faded except for a deep-red/purple spot down near the ankle. That spot never went away, and a trip to the dermatologist and subsequent biopsy revealed it was simply scar tissue from the sunburn. It’s a very ugly spot, and fortunately it is mostly covered when I pull up my socks. Well, after this 2016 summer flu, my entire right leg below the knee was covered in a similar burn to the remnants of the 2009 burn. But this time my leg was never exposed to the sun. When I left the Y, I was dressed in my work outfit – a golf shirt and khaki pants, and the sun was just barely coming up. I wore those pants until I got home. So this was not a sunburn. And this one covered the entire lower leg – all the way around, from knee to ankle. As ugly as the 2009 leftover is, this is even more hideous. I’m sure that if I went out in public in shorts, a lot of poor, unsuspecting strangers with weak constitutions would blow their lunch.

OK, we have a pattern. I get the flu in the summertime, and one of my limbs looks like an overcooked lobster. Not wanting to gross anyone out, I wore sweat pants when I went grocery shopping on Saturday. I loaded up on First Aid – some Bactine spray and sponges to keep the germs out, some Cortisone 10 Intensive Healing cream, and some Noxzema in case it really was just a sunburn.

After several days of treatment with the spray and cream, the skin on my leg cleared. I think I’m on to something. I started to apply the cream to my old spot, and it’s slowly beginning to shrink. We have 2 conferences to attend in July. At least by the second one, I might have 2 completely white legs again.

So the crisis passed. Now, some observations I have made during this adventure that I hope you can use in your everyday life.

• Memo to perky people: If you see a man sitting on a stoop under a bus stop sign, head down, displaying the general posture of a cooked spinach noodle, chances are good that he doesn’t feel well. Please have mercy on this man and pass on giving him your 115-decibal greeting.
• If you aren’t crazy about people, or if bad circumstances negatively impacts how you deal with people, you probably do not need to be in a job where 95% of the duties involve working with people.
• Is there ANY beverage on Earth not called water that contains less than 100g of sugar per drop? ANYTHING?????????
• There are plenty of people that are perfectly content to not work and just hang out all day. I cannot relate. I would go berserk (and turn stupid) if all I had to do was watch daytime TV.
• Forget waterboarding. If we want to end terrorism, all we have to do is find a way to make captured suspects feel like they’re being burned alive and flash frozen at the same time. Going through this, I found myself confessing sins I’d never committed in an effort to get God to provide me some relief.

To your health! 🙂

One thought on “The Flu

  1. Glad you are feeling better, man! The flu is miserable. What else is miserable is the way they treated you at your doctor's office. It always amazes me how dismissive the staff can be towards patients who are clearly not feeling well at all. Glad you managed to get past that. Here's to healthier days ahead!

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