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Flu season is here – hunker down or leave town

January 28, 2018

It's the kind of situation that strikes fear in the heart of every housewife in the country. The very sight will take your breath away, and you will briefly consider falling on your knees with a mea culpa. Only that ship has sailed; your knees are about as useless as that treadmill in the bedroom that now holds two ferns. You've probably already experienced it: a husband coming through the doorway and announcing, "I think I have the flu!"

Now, I know the flu is very serious; it's not to be taken lightly. In really bad cases, it feels like the alien pod people have taken over your body and attached it to a barbecue spit for examination, and that spit never stops turning, over and over. Some mutant flu strain has you aching to the point that you feel like you went 10 rounds with Oscar De La Hoya, or maybe like an insect that has been squashed against a windshield.

So you do have some sympathy. Yet the thought of the endless running up and down the stairs fulfilling every request under the sun makes your own body literally feel the Clara Barton nurse gene oozing out, slithering down to your ankles and vanishing into the sunset, until it resembles an infinity pool. Now I don't mean to pick on the male species, but women have had some experience in taking care of men, and it's as inviting as walking a mile in a pair of tight shoes. You can flash back to mounds of Kleenex strewn around your 300 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets, sticky teaspoons dripping with cough syrup staining your antique end tables, and yourself hovering over the stove to make chicken soup. (OK, opening a can may seem just as stressful.) You deliver water and aspirin hourly. But I guess the straw that breaks the camel's back, and I have no idea what that means, is the classic groaning and moaning. I didn't carry on that badly when I drove to the hospital in rush-hour traffic the last time I was in labor.

Well, I can tell you, faced with this situation, it is essential that you take action immediately. The first thing that is mandatory is to make that telephone call. Not to the doctor, silly, but to something like Travelocity.com. You need to get out of town fast, and every minute you waste means the airfare will go up proportionately. I hear most of the airlines are booked solid just because of the prevalence of the flu this year.

Taking care of anyone with the flu is right up there with lying on a bed of nails for a good night's sleep. There are consequences when it's a husband, though; people will talk about you leaving town. No need to panic; the talk is only to find out which travel site you used, since this thing is going to spread quicker than the rumors from the Mayan community about the end of the world.

I don't know what it is about the male population, and please, I'm not picking on them – well, maybe just a little bit – but the constant coughing is enough to rock the foundation of the house. Sure, you can use duct tape to fasten the foundation to the ground, but it looks really cheesy.

I guess it's the exaggeration of a lot of symptoms that makes you think the chickens have come home to roost, and I don't know what that means either. It's odd, but I don't recall my own father ever staying home a day in his life when he was sick. Nor do I remember him complaining about his symptoms. Well, if you ever saw the look my mother could give, that mystery might be solved.

In any case, be prepared, ladies. This flu season is a bad one. So get out the ear plugs and the sudoku. If it turns out it was a false alarm, there is still time to get that flu shot. Sorry, guys.

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.