Sick as a Dog


Has anyone had the standard seasonal flu shot and still got the flu, or some awful flu-like illness? It's now Wednesday and I'm just emerging from this horror. My first clue was last Friday,  12/29. I went to the gym, sat on the rowing machine and started my usual 2K meter warmup. I pulled the handle about four times and I was done.  I mean I literally did not have the strength to pull another time. I went home feeling vaguely out of sorts, did my usual evening activities, and awakened the next morning with worst sore throat of my life; and I am old. It was like razor blades had been jammed into my glottis. Swallowing made tears spring from my eyes and I writhed like actors do when they are pretending to have a bullet yanked out. Of the hideous liquid cough and the explosive diarrhea --wonderfully coordinated, BTW--I will maintain a discrete silence. 

It was the throat, though, that was the killer. Did you know that if you can't swallow, you can't push fluids like you're supposed to? Or eat?  So, I started to dehydrate, which sent my electrolytes askew, which meant that my muscles started to cramp, rendering my hands mere twisted claws. Really painful.

On New Years Eve, when we should have been in Portlandia dancing our slippers to rags, we lay in bed and moaned.  And coughed, because it was nearly unbearable to swallow cough medicine. The next morning I called the doc, who was not impressed, because I wasn't running a fever. He said to come in if my fever spiked, and take Tylenol. 

More misery followed. Just think about how many times an hour you unconsciously swallow spit, and then imagine that an ice pick gets jammed into your throat every time. Then I had something between a powerful urge and a revelation. I got down the stairs to the kitchen (don't ask!), packed a glass full of ice, added orange juice, and drank. The first hit was agony, the second less so, and by the end of the first glass the cold had so numbed my throat that I could drink almost normally.  I remember sitting there in the dark, giggling with pleasure, feeling like Pasteur.  

Thus I was cured. I'm still not 100 % , but neither am I a statistic. One the plus side, I dropped ten pounds. I weigh exactly five pounds more than I did when I checked out of the army in 1969. I don't know what this crud was, but as a diet aid, it'd be hard to beat.