Famous last words: “My immune system is so strong, I could walk through a typhoid ward and not get sick.” Ha! That’s what I get for bragging and laughing at the Tamiflu commercial with its giant-sized sickies balancing on teeny-tiny beds, sipping medicine from thimble-sized cups.
I unexpectedly contracted the flu while visiting Gainesville. It hit me like a Florida Gator linebacker. One minute I was chatting on the phone, and the next, I was dragging myself to the car for a trip to Walgreens. I headed for the OTC aisle and loaded up with Super-Strength Cold/Flu syrup (Zesty Orange), tissues, thermometer, Emergen-C, soup and OJ. I dumped my supplies on the counter and starting hacking like a life-long smoker (which I am not).
“And how are you today?” The cashier asked cheerily.
“It’s pretty obvious, don’t you think?” I replied, clutching a fist of tissues to my gushing nostrils.
“Oh, yes, I see. Feel better,” he responded.
He rang up my order, and I started the process of checking out, starting with my prescription savings card, reward card, credit card and license. After answering the litany of questions on the tiny check-out screen, like correct amount, cash back, friendly service, product availability and store cleanliness, the cashier handed me my receipt, announced my savings, and immediately pumped a wad of hand-sanitizer into his palms.
Once back at my son’s apartment/sick ward, I took a dose of all the medicinal products I bought and hit the airbed for about 12 hours. I woke up, cold, achy and thirsty. I layered on a sweater and sweatshirt, downed a cup of soup and re-dosed. Back for another eight hours of rest and crazy dreams.
Day two was slightly better. I crawled from the airbed to the lounge chair and watched back-to-back episodes of “Golden Girls.” More soup was consumed, more syrup ingested and the tissue box was replaced with a roll of toilet paper.
Tentatively, my son asked how I felt (or how much longer was his sick mother going to occupy his living roomy). “Minimally better,” I answered, trying to look cheerful. He offered to go to the store and pick up any necessities, but I told him I was just fine.
“Lovely,” I said.
So day three rolls around, and I am actually starting to function like a human being again. Hot shower, hot coffee and eggs with hot sauce work miracles. I am seeing a little ray of sunshine among the clouds in North Central Florida, which equates to my overall feeling of light at the end of the tunnel of flu.
Never again will I joke about “not getting sick.” Did I get the recommended flu shot? Of course not! But, I am starting to realize that my infallibility to illness may be weakening. It’s true that the last time I suffered with the flu was back when the “Hong Kong” strain was rampant and I had my mom to nurse me back to health. It’s time to “woman-up” and take my vitamins!
So, for those of you stubborn men and women over 60 who boast about never getting sick, dream on. It can happen to you. Go drink your probiotics!