On Saturday, two days after getting back from our week-long trip to the Bay Area, Steve got sick.
Steve gets sick more than I do, so I’m not usually very sympathetic when it happens. Typically, I roll my eyes and rib him about his inferior immune system. He’ll snuffle and pop DayQuil for a week and it’s all over. But this time, I got it too.
And it was a bad one. Really bad. So on Saturday, Steve went to bed at 7:20 p.m. and my plan was to sleep downstairs, so as not to infect myself. By 9 p.m., I knew it was over. No matter where I slept, I was getting slammed: Body aches, extreme fatigue and a fever. It was grim, but I’ve emerged from the flu foxhole to tell you that being sick has a few plusses. Namely:
- You can catch up on your reading. I haven’t yet delved into Donna Tartt’s latest tome, or my stack of unread New Yorkers. Instead, I spent my bed-ridden hours blowing through easy fiction. Specifically, Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch mysteries. In the past four days, I’ve read “The Drop,” (meh) “The Closers” (awesome) and now, “Echo Park.” And I could gorge on these cheeseburgers of literature thanks to my Kindle, friend to the bed-ridden shut-in.
- You can experiment with drugs. We’re usually a NyQuil family, but Target had a tantalizing end cap of Kleenex and Mucinex FastMax, so I bought both. The daytime stuff works fine. Maybe a little too well. I had no aches, pains or congestion to speak of, but my brain didn’t function. You probably shouldn’t operate a motor vehicle on Mucinex FastMax. Another tip: Do not drink wine after taking cold medicine, because everything tastes terrible. It’s a waste of perfectly good wine.
- You can clear your social calendar. I’m a social person, but when you tell people you’ve got the flu, they steer clear. My entire week is totally free. I can lay around and read crappy bestsellers and eat cough drops and sleep and revel in my own filth.
- You can’t exercise. I really like to exercise. It makes me feel good. But I have a long history of doing stupid things like running with strep throat. Here’s the deal: If you’re sick, you shouldn’t exercise. It prolongs the illness in many cases and it depletes what little energy you have. Stay home, keep your filthy germs to yourself, and get better. A couple of days really isn’t going to make any difference. Really.
- No one expects anything from you. When you’ve got a cold, people feel bad for you for about 24 hours. After that, you’re expected to medicate and function. Not so with the flu. People die from the flu, dude. I was able to dispense with all sorts of requests with a simple, “I’m sorry, but I have the flu.” It was awesome.