Friday, February 22, 2008


So the plague has been making the rounds this week and last - it appears that 50% of my family and friends have been struck down. It's very annoying, what with the need to provide proper burial, make sure that surviving children are cared for, and the shortage on shrouds, to say nothing of the lack of coroners to do the necessary paperwork. It really cuts into my week.

Oh wait, no. Just the flu. Not the plague. But an interesting comparison, no? I mean, I'm sitting here, wobbly and woozy but recovering, while hordes of acquaintances hack and sniffle and ache... and no one has died from it. It's hard to believe that Influenza used to kill people - it seems so commonplace nowadays; miserable, but ordinary.

Getting a flu shot has never really been a consideration for me, although I understand the need for seniors and small children. But I have not had a full-blown case of the flu in decades, mostly just colds and allergy-related nastiness. So I am reluctant to get a shot, since I have no way of knowing if that will throw my natural immunities out of whack. I am fairly healthy when it comes to fighting off stuff - I'm rarely home 2 days running for illness.

Once I figure out the patten of an illness, I almost treat it as an afterthought - drainage gives me a sore throat, then a stuffy nose, then chest congestion, then it's done. But a new pattern has emerged which took me a while to recognize - dry coughing, then massive bouts of sneezing, then congestion, then my tonsils swell like balloons and close off my throat. THAT'S fun, I can tell you - no soreness, I can still breathe and swallow - but it feels like someone's got their hand around your throat all day long. I used to get drugs for it, but this time I let it go, and it seems to be going down on its own.

I'm used to the seasonal maladies that pass through each winter, but I have never known so many acquaintances with various forms of crud as this February. But I like the idea of a little illness now and then - it gives you a break, a day at home with the TV and naps, and it builds up those immunities. It's like a gym membership for your immune system.

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