One flu over the cuckoo’s nest


Show me a person that enjoys being sick and I’ll provide a PowerPoint presentation detailing every hypochondriac I know. Pull up a bed; we might be here for a while. Or is it “awhile?” Only my editor knows for sure. (Ed. Note: It’s the latter.)

I have a couple of specific memories of being benched in the game of life due to illness. Not counting the hemorrhaging after my tonsillectomy just prior to my 5th birthday and being rushed to the hospital while chunks of blood made a hasty exit from my ears, nose and throat, the next (or is it first? See notes on “editor,” above) vivid memory of taking to my bed happened at around the age of 13. At that age, everything all-important in my self-involved world came to a grinding halt. Being the communicative person that I am, I found myself starved for conversation (my stomach was otherwise “occupado”) with nobody to talk to for several days, except the DJ of the radio station I listened to at the time.

My favorite song then was David Bowie’s “Ground Control to Major Tom.” It had the eerie, ethereal, outer-space sound that came from the synthesizer and pretty much matched my queasy stomach and dizzy head. I think the DJ probably felt the same way about me every time I called and requested that the song be played. Speed dial didn’t exist in those days, but boy were my fingers nimble.

Twice in the next 20 years, I suffered influenza of similar magnitude. Both versions had me down for the count and I don’t recall listening to anything but an argumentative stomach. I go crazy from being holed up at home and sick.

If the third time is the charm, I’m prepared for something a lot more princely and considerably less charming than what I got last week. Getting older and having the flu is no fun whatsoever. It depletes you of the reserves you gave away when you were more agile and able-bodied. Complaining about it falls on deaf ears.

I have recovered fully. I no longer listen to David Bowie.

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