There we were, going along our merry little way, in a day-to-day that was feeling pretty good, pretty optimistic. And then, there it was, lying on the rug where you couldn’t see it, where you didn’t expect it—the flu. It didn’t get me. It reached up and grabbed my husband’s ankles and pulled him to the ground, wrestled with him, beat him about the head and then snuck out the back door to smoke a pack of cigarettes and drink a fifth of whisky. A-hole flu! I could hear her cackling in the back yard.
Life has come to a halt. There will be no hike with Jeter today, who senses that all is not well in Oz and has curled up in the hallway outside our bedroom door. I’ve done everything I know to do: vitamin D and A, soup, cold compresses for his fever and a call to the internist for Tamiflu—a box for him and a box for me as a preventative. Poor guy, last time he had flu was 25 years ago. We are generally healthy people, and about the time you announce that kind of thing to the world, there’s the friggen flu and it’s got your name written all over it.
My husband is not a “patient” patient. He wants the flu gone now. He cannot believe how horrible he feels. He rails at the universe in a weak voice, panting and out of breath. Stupid flu. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Once in 25 years isn’t bad, I remind him. What else can I do, he asks? Why oh why are men such terrible patients? They demand a fix and demand it right away. But flu wraps her gnarly fingers around his neck and squeezes tight, dances on his eyeballs and kicks his knees in the middle of the night. I hate her too. She has turned my strong and balanced husband into a hound dog puppy. I can’t wait for the flu to leave, to give us back the humor that lies dormant between us, but for now, I will just have to make chicken soup and wait.