Flu season is upon us; make quick getaway plans

January 22, 2013

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 seriously consider making a run for the hills. Only your legs won’t be fast enough; they’ll be about as effective as two pudding cups. You’ll only end up wandering around some magnetic field whimpering for your mother. Yes, 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 this year, and 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, but it never stops turning, over and over. Some mutant strain has you aching to the point that you feel you’ve gone 10 rounds with Muhammad Ali or at best are 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.

Most 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 slaving over the stove to make chicken soup (OK, opening a can may be 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. It is enough to make a woman renounce her gender.

Well, I can tell you, when 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 a place like Travelocity. 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 a husband with the flu is right up there with lying on a bed of nails for a good night’s sleep. Sure, there are consequences; people will talk about your leaving town. Some will call, again, not because someone is sick, but 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 really looks 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 remember 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, the mystery might be solved.

In any case, be prepared, ladies. This is a bad one. Get out the ear plugs, the Sudoku, and the TV Guide, because you are in for the long haul. Use the suitcase as a last resort.

Turns out it was a false alarm; there is still time to get that flu shot.

  • 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.