Like everyone else, I have been really sick for the past week or so.
It’s not as if I didn’t try to protect myself. I really did.
I had my flu shot (only 30 percent effective this year), washed my hands incessantly, and tried to eat healthy foods.
After all I am a nurse, and I believe an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It didn’t matter. The influenza virus bit me and it meant business.
My fever soared, every bit of my body ached, and my stomach churned and emptied itself of its contents without my approval. I developed a hacking cough.
In short, I was miserable.
Of course, all these things happen when my doctor is unavailable so I have to turn myself in to urgent care. That, in itself, is a hazardous undertaking.
There I was surrounded by an unhealthy group of patients, some wearing masks, some not, but all blowing their noses, coughing and sputtering like TB asylum victims.
I sat there dozing for more than an hour, clutching my barf box on my lap and adding my own particular distressed sounds into the cacophony surrounding me.
By the time I was called into the inner sanctum, I was so weak and shaky, I needed help just to navigate this short trip.
I don’t remember much about the visit except the doctor was kind, ordered some medication and told me my own immune system would cure me.
Besides, the hospitals were overcrowded and had no room for me.
At the pharmacy, I found out that the nurse had forgotten to give me the required paperwork for some of my medication and said I would have to go back and get it.
I guess they didn’t recognize that the poor doubled-over old person in front of them clutching her barf box did not have another trip to Tallahassee in her. I simply went home, dropped into my bed and didn’t open my eyes for another day-and-a-half.
I wasn’t too worried about all of this, because I was clinging to the notion that my own immune system was going to cure me.
Someone forgot to tell my immune system.
Day after day, I felt and sounded worse and worse. I missed my deadlines. I had to cancel my dental appointment. I had to cancel my hair appointment. For crying out loud, I even missed Bingo.
I think I could even have gotten through all this if it wasn’t for Nurse Judy, my unreality-based alter-ego. While I was trying to cling to hope that I was going to recover from all this, she was looking down her nose at my robe.
“Look at that robe,” she said. “It’s disgusting. I can’t even imagine what has caused all those stains. A self-respecting microbe wouldn’t even want to attach itself to that mess.”
“I’m sick,” I tried to explain, but I did change into another gown.
She continued on, complaining about my limp, dank hair; my pasty complexion; my bad breath; and every other aspect of my appearance that she could.
“My immune system is going to kick in soon,” I say hopefully.
She gave me the evil eye.
“No self-respecting immune system would come near you in this state,” she said.
I wondered if she was right.
I bathed, put on clean garments, brushed my hair and my teeth, and added a little make-up. I did feel a little better. I then laid down to wait for the cure.
If anyone has seen that elusive immune system of mine, please send it over post-haste.