The Right Word

Coughing out the birthday candles

There were several items I wanted on my birthday list. The flu was not one of them, but that’s what I got.

I had planned a short, five-day vacation around my birthday for a little rest and relaxation. Instead, I got nausea and NyQuil.

I’m not a particularly good patient. Like most people, I hate being sick and, when I am, I just want to be left alone. Well, that’s not entirely true. It’s not so much that I want to be left alone, it’s that my family leaves me alone. This is probably because of the whining.

My wife usually makes at least one little attempt at care-giving.

“Do you need NyQuil, or some aspirin?

“No, I already took it.”

“Then suck it up, buttercup.”

And then she leaves me alone to suffer in silence. Relative silence. If a patient whines in the family room, and there’s no one to hear him, does he make a sound? The answer is apparently, no, because my wife refused to respond.

This left me with not much else to do except ruminate on the severity of my affliction. At one point I convinced myself I had probably had some kind of a tumor. That could have been the fever talking, or maybe the Jack Daniels. I use Jack Daniels when it’s too soon for more NyQuil. I like it because there’s nothing on the side of the bottle about the size of the dose.

When it comes to the flu, I’m not sure any of those over-the-counter medicines really help anyway. Except Jack Daniels, that works just fine. But I take the medicines regardless, just in case they do, and hey, it’s only money.

For the record, I went and got a flu shot a few weeks ago. I am not one of those conspiracy theorists who believe getting the flu shot will actually give you the flu. No, I believe I got the shot and the shot missed. By a mile.

People lament that California doesn’t have seasons. Well, it has a flu season, and it’s here. As birthdays go, I’ve had better ones. As flu cases go, I’ve had worse. If I could have stopped coughing long enough to blow out birthday candles, I would have wished for a long break before next flu season. That will give me enough time to stock up on Jack Daniels.


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