By Tim Whyte
I got The Crud. We’re not talking about your garden variety case of the sniffles here. This was a bona fide case of, “Hey, maybe you should go to the hospital” influenza.
For my regular readers, which I’m guessing doesn’t extend much beyond my mom, my dad and my wife, you might have noticed I’ve skipped a couple columns.
The Crud is the reason.
And no, thankfully, it wasn’t the corona virus. I never drink Corona, or any other beer that requires fruit to be added to it to make it palatable.
It was the flu. And not to be a wimp about it or anything — OK, I spent a full week being a total wimp about it — but this was The Flu to End All Flus.
We’re talking fetal position, head spinning, wheezing, aching, chilling, hallucinating, thinking it might not be a bad idea if the Lord would just come take me now kind of misery.
I came down with the symptoms a couple days after flying home from dropping off my daughter for the spring at Washington State University — more on that adventure in a column yet to come — and yes, I blame the airplane and the virus-spreading people on it.
I did all the right things before I flew home. Took an Airborne. Chased it with an Irish whiskey — overpriced Jameson’s, neat, from the airport bar — and as soon as I boarded my flight I turned off that little fan thingy that blows germ-ridden airplane air on you.
I kept to myself. Avoided touching anyone or anything. Didn’t use the pull-down tray table. Avoided touching my face. Washed my hands like an obsessed germophobe, and used a paper towel whenever I touched a bathroom door handle. And still, I got The Crud.
Getting a flu shot had been on my list of “Things to Do,” right there above other un-accomplished tasks like cleaning out the pool filter, getting a haircut — truly, I’m not intentionally trying to bring back the mullet — and trimming back the overgrown trees in my side yard.
When I started to cough, I thought, “Uh oh. I might be getting sick.” Next day: down for the count. Except I couldn’t sleep, because every breath I took made an awful whistling sound that kept me awake, like trying to sleep while someone stood over you with acrylic nails, running them up and down a chalkboard.
I was miserable. But stubborn.
“I can lick this,” I said to myself. I did the whole routine. Soup. Water. Vitamins. Tested the dosage limits of Nyquil to within an inch of unconsciousness.
I didn’t get any better. So, on the fourth day, I finally went to the doctor — which was too late. They tested me and confirmed: Yep. It’s the Actual Flu. Then they scolded me a little for waiting too long: They can give you anti-flu drugs if you catch it by day two or three. They gave me the drugs anyway, and I think they helped, some.
They put me on a breathing treatment, right there in the doctor’s office, and when it was over the doctor said, “If your breathing gets any worse, don’t come back here. Go to the ER.”
She wrote me a note to keep me out of work for the entire following week.
“What if I feel better and I want to go to work?” I asked.
She laughed. Right at me. And said:
“You’re not going to feel better.”
She was a real confidence-builder, this one. But she was basically right.
The moral of the story? Get your flu shots, people. The Crud ain’t worth it.
Tim Whyte is editor of The Signal. His column appears Sundays.