Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Snot-snot-snottiest Time of the Year

 We are in full-blown flu season. I like that term, "flu season." It sounds as if there's something to celebrate. I almost feel like decorations are in order.

"Honey, what'd you do with the ice bag candle holder?" 

"I think it's in the crawl space with the aspirin strings and the thermometer mobile. Why do you ask?"

"Well, it's flu season. Time to decorate."

"Already? Well, while you're under the house, don't forget to bring up the quarantine wreath." 

That celebratory attitude is exemplified by the commercials for flu medications.  How can anybody sound so cheerful when talking about something as dreadful as the flu? The announcer always sounds like he's making the tape while strolling somewhere between the tennis courts and the first tee. "It's flu season again! Time to celebrate pestilence and misery. Don't let simple congestion, nausea, diarrhea, fever, chills, headaches, stiff joints and general malaise slow the good times down! Keep on going through it all with Zonk Out flu tabs. You won't have to stop for a thing; you can spread the disease far and wide."

The only thing that works with most flu medications is the advertising. It's a clever ploy though, with a built-in success factor. Someone that feels like hammered septic sediment, in a twisted state of agony, is offered something that provides relief. This is a sure sell situation. Unfortunately, it's a no cure condition. A digestive tract that is vehemently rejecting anything natural, is not going to receive chemicals in a kindly manner.   

I don't know why, but lots of people think that by going to the doctor, they can be cured. Doctors are quick to point out the flu is a viral thing.

"Well now, whatcha got there is a virus. Nothing we can do about a virus. Now, say it develops into some sort of bacterial infection... oh, say for instance... bronchitis, double pneumonia, massive septicemia, something like that, then we can do something about it." 

"How long will that take?"

"There's no guarantees. In the mean time, could I interest you in a vital organ transplant? That’s something we can jump on right away." 

Vaccinations seem to be the only semi-effective way to avoid the flu, and even those aren't a sure thing. This year’s vaccine, some detractors claim, is only about 60% effective. After getting the shot, feeling a little woozy and sore for a couple of days, there’s still a chance of contracting the seasonal pestilence. One might call the vaccination a preview of coming infections.

Vaccine failures are easy to explain: there are as many variations to a flu as there are people to infect. Even though everyone gets the flu at roughly the same time, symptoms can vary. Most get the headache and fever, but beyond that, all kinds of different afflictions can strike. Beyond a doubt, the worst of the possible symptoms is losing your voice. It's bad enough to be suffering terribly, but it's sheer agony to be prevented from whining effectively about it. 

There is only one upbeat aspect to contracting the flu: everybody that hasn't had it is scared to death they're going to get it. This means that there is little or no pressure about returning to work before you declare yourself officially cured.

"I still feel pretty week, but I think I can make it in tomorrow. If I get too dizzy I'll just sit down."

"No! Er... that is, uh, just take your time coming back in. Don't even think about coming back to work until you're not contagious, I mean, feeling just fine." 

What a deal! I could milk this flu thing for a couple of weeks. Just relax, and watch the TV. But that would mean suffering through an endless stream of those stupid flu medication commercials. Ready or not, boss, here I come.

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