I have the flu. Ugh. Growl. Moan. Let me just first say that I don’t have time for the flu. I am so angry at my body for harboring this bug and letting it get the best of me. I don’t like to be sick. I pray my children don’t get it- the flu is much harder on little ones. What if my husband gets it? He’ll have to miss work - I’ll have totake care of him! Okay, I’m done with that pity party – well sort of.
I awoke in the middle of the night cold, shivering actually. I could hear the forced air blowing into the room maintaining a constant 69 degrees. I had plenty of covers on the bed yet I was getting colder. My fever was creeping back up and I knew it wasn’t time for another dose of the Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen – that would help the aches I could feel beneath the shivering. But I didn’t want to get up; why did I leave those things in the kitchen instead of conveniently at my bedside? Well I needed more cold water anyway; it’s so important to stay hydrated when you’re sick and my body was craving that life-giving liquid.
Finally, I talked myself into getting up – this was only going to get worse unless I took care of it. I put my feet down, where are my house shoes? Ugh, did I leave them in the bathroom? I padded across wall-to-wall carpet, flipped on the electric light and sure enough, there they sat. With my feet protected, I made my way into the kitchen where I had a ready supply of pain reliever and cough syrup. A few hours ago I’d already taken the dose of Tami-flu prescribed by my doctor and filled at the local pharmacy which had a plentiful supply carried in on the daily delivery truck.
Fill up my water glass with a push of a button on the fridge and crawl back into my warm bed. By the way, why is the inner-spring mattress and memory foam combination not comfortable tonight?
I am complaining a lot here but I know I’m going to be fine. Maybe the prescription will shorten the duration of the symptoms. Hopefully no one else in my household will fall victim to the virus. But heaven forbid one of us takes a serious turn, there’s an emergency medical facility just a short drive away and an ambulance that can arrive in moments to help along that drive. But that’s not always been the case, has it?
The 1918 Spanish flu pandemic was the most serious international epidemic in history claiming 50-100 million people. Compare that to the more recent flu pandemic of 2009 which claimed at most 150,00 lives. Okay that’s a lot of human life, but it’s an awful lot less than fifty million. And think about how much larger the world’s population is since 1918.
As counties across Tennessee have closed schools this week to curb the spread of flu, it begins to feel like an epidemic now. However, the Center for Disease Control reports that doctor’s visits for flu-like symptoms were only at baseline levels (2.2%) until the last week in January when it jumped to 3.9%.
Then there’s just the comfort factor. Have I ever told you that I do not believe in pain? Have you ever thought about the ease with which we relieve pain today? I asked Google when was Acetaminophen invented and my jaw dropped as I read Wikipedia’s history section. Those first analgesics packed some painful side effects. Still by the late 1800’s inventors were working hard to patent pain relievers for the populace. It wouldn’t be until 1955 that Tylenol would release their first elixir and Ibuprofen wouldn’t be discovered until 1960. In the meantime, numerous headache concoctions would be available both commercially produced as well as local pharmacists’ versions. And of course there are any number of home remedies both for pain relievers and fever reducers.
Why is it such little comfort to realize that I don’t suffer as many other have?