816 North Opinion

Susan Vollenweider: Nothing like the flu to kick-start resolutions

Updated: 2014-01-13T14:53:52Z


Special to The Star

Halfway through the first month of a new year and I am nailing the most common of resolutions: detox off coffee and carbs, cut food portions, lose weight and get more sleep.

Too bad I didn’t make any resolutions. I got the flu.

Not, “It’s viral crud that I’m going to call ‘the flu’ because it’s easier to explain.” The Flu.

“But, Susan,” you say, “I remember when you shared your family flu shot outing.”

Yup. I had a flu shot, this and every year in recent memory. But this year was different. The first day I posted this Facebook status:

“You know what would make this day perfect? A voice. Curious.”

I lose my voice sometimes, and it’s always cause for great jubilation in my house. But I felt fine…until I didn’t. Several hours later I self-diagnosed a bad cold. Hot Toddy City, here I come.

The next day everything hurt. Deep to my bones hurt. Curl in a feverish ball under several layers of blankets wondering what on earth could have happened to me hurt. “Flu” wasn’t on my radar. I had a shot. It had to have been protecting me, right?

Wrong. Not this time. I was past hot toddies and moved onto NyQuil. Surely I would go to sleep looking like…I looked, and wake refreshed and lovely just like in the commercials.

The next morning I peeled my tongue off the roof of my mouth, uncrusted my eyes, and whined a simple Facebook status into my phone before I rolled over and went back to sleep:

“Crud. Ugh.”

The larder was stocked with a week’s worth of meals — meals that only I, the cook who was quarantined to keep all the fun to myself — know how to make. Brian doesn’t cook but stepped up. How hard could it be to talk him through roasting a chicken?

My directions must have been too vague, let’s just leave it at that. He kept trying. The pasta with Italian sausage seemed easy enough…to me. And the Wingfest was pretty good, especially after we worked up an appetite manually turning off all the smoke alarms.

“I’m never cooking again!” he screamed. Who knew you could start a stove fire cooking boxed mac and cheese?

Finally I added it all up: high fever + cough + body aches + headache-doink = flu.

I dragged myself to the doctor and donned a stylish facemask. “How long will I feel this bad?”

“Two weeks,” she told me.

“No, I mean fever, voice and feel sick?”

She held up two fingers and mouthed, “Two weeks.”

She was right. I felt betterish week two, but I think this is when the flu spreads. People feel a bit energized and less achy, then they go back to their lives, spreading a merry band of germs with each cough, with each sentence.

According to the CDC, the incubation period for the flu is one to four days. Since no one in my family had it, I narrowed the exposure to one place: Christmas Eve at church. In my feverish head I saw rockets of germ-doom flying from the mouths of anyone that only I had spoken to.

“Merry Christmas,” I would have said.

“Here is two weeks of feeling like you want to die — Happy Holidays,” they replied.

But we have to get out of bed. We have jobs, families and obligations. We have stuff to do!

Yes, but do it smart. At this point we all know how, and I will always get a flu shot. I’ll do whatever it takes to not go through this again, to not subject others to it. That is a resolution I am willing to keep.

For more of Susan Vollenweider’s writing, go to thehistorychicks.com.

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