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Monday, December 04, 2006

Postcards from Influenza

I generally find that we, the American collective, whine entirely too much. And we are rather melodramatic about our maladies. (Did I mention I write another blog all about chronic illness?) Here in suburbia, every sniffle is attributed to the flu; every retch is the 'stomach flu', whatever that is. So, when we get sick in the winter, I like to call it 'whatever's going around', or 'a bug' or a simple 'virus'.* But as I lay in bed last Friday night, I started to wonder if we do in fact have the flu. Oh, and Greg (smugly) asked--he with the arm-full of flu shot. And I imagine he might be covered. As such, he is in charge of renting new movies to entertain the troops and buying top ramen and Marvel superhero popsicles.

After we cancelled all of Saturday's plans (Lexi was going to collect canned food and carol at a retirement home with her girl scout troop; we were all going to a birthday party), we became one with the couch and partook of way too much The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. I think there was a marathon going on, but I wasn't coherent enough to tell. I actually read, aided by some a hefty dose of Excedrin, Chang-rae Lee's Aloft--a book I've shuffled around at Borders, but never got around to reading. (It is blurbworthy, I promise. When I'm cheery and bright, I'll tackle that post.) I dozed in and out of consciousness, and it would occur to me to check on the kids, Lexi in particular, as Zack's fever had finally broke after 2 days. She hadn't moved, or talked, in hours. If you have ever spent time with a 3rd grade girl, you know, the not talking is rather alarming. She was wiped out.

By Sunday, it became clear that I needed to clear our schedule--no Advent, no Taize, no baby shower brunch, no volunteering in Zack's class. I hoped he might make a guest appearance at school today, but he woke up coughing and sneezing, seemingly anew. Lexi looked up and mumbled, "Great, that's how I'll be tomorrow." She's figured out she's about a day behind him; she's done the math. Sorry sweetcheeks, but you are probably right.

Thankfully, we are starting to bounce back. I noticed there is laundry to do, dishes to wash, and Christmas card envelopes to address. (Can you Lysol envelopes?) I may attempt something between the crushing waves of fatigue. Something besides blowing my nose. I see Zack is sleeping again, so I am calling it the flu. It's the gift that keeps on giving.

*Last year we had the gastrointestinal virus referred to as the Norfolk virus on the news when it shut down local schools. You couldn't go anywhere without a kid puking on your shoes. I just called it 'hell'.

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