If you’re old enough to remember the Swine Flu Epidemic, you’d probably rather forget it. The 1976 epidemic was so serious, President Ford made a big deal of publicly getting his vaccination, and about a jillion doses were ordered up. Then flu season hit and one person died of it. Another 25 people died — of side-effects caused by the vaccine.
This year’s epidemic is worse. I know; I’ve had this thing. I also had my shot, but this year’s shot doesn’t cover this year’s big bad flu. The first couple days were so bad I was pretty much non-functional. The third day was such an improvement, I managed somehow to put on a coat and tie and tape a week’s worth of Trifectas — and have zero recollection of having done any of that. It’s like an entire productive workday simply exited my brain.
Actually, “productive” is too strong a word. I tried watching one of the segments from that week, but had to turn it off because I don’t like how I look or sound as a high-functioning zombie.
Thing is, that was exactly three weeks ago, and my voice still isn’t all the way back. My lungs and sinuses keep producing just enough crud to keep me sounding like a cross between Guy Smiley and Jennifer Tilly. And that’s just wrong.
This is one nasty bug, and before you ask — yes, I had a ten-day round of Ceftibuten, which I think is somewhere above azithromycin but below Cipro. Powerful stuff in any case.
So when you read that Chicago hospitals are turning away flu patients because they’re out of room, remember that this isn’t one you can just pin on Chicago’s typical dysfunction. This flu gave me a one box a day Kleenex habit for a solid two weeks, and I’m still going through the stuff like, well, tissue paper. I can hardly begin to imagine what it must do to folks who are older or not in as good a health to begin with.
If there’s a message buried underneath all the mucous, I suppose it’s this: Don’t catch it. But if you do, get to the doc immediately.