…my sister has been calling me that all week (safely, via phone).
This Wednesday, after a few days of an increasing fever and generally feeling crappy, I went to the doctor. When he came into the examination room wearing a mask over his mouth and nose, I knew this wasn’t looking good.
When he told me I had the swine flu, though, I almost laughed. Knowing that that would seem rather inappropriate, considering the face mask and the cotton swabs and all, I coughed instead (which was convincing, considering the state of my lungs).
It’s not that I didn’t think it seriously sucked that I had managed to catch this ridiculously contagious virus, or that my entire body didn’t feel like it had been put through a meat grinder — no, it was just that it’s funny when you’re life is actually affected by the news…when you spend all day, every day talking and learning about the news.
It was rather ironic, too. You see, I’ve been making fun of the hysteria over swine flu since the outbreak began last year while I was interning at a major news network’s Web site. I’ll never forget the look on the harassed health reporter’s face that day. “It’s just the flu!” she would screech. Yes, I mocked the frenzy over the vaccination (“It’s just the flu,” I repeated with an heir of superiority) and I laughed at the incessant coverage and claimed it was all being manufactured by the media.
Well, I got mine.
I’ve spent four days now at home on the couch, drugged up on painkillers and tossing and turning through Nyquil-induced sleep. And let me tell you, if you want a flashback to childhood, get really sick while you’re living with your parents again. I’ve never felt less my age.
I drank 7-Up, read bad novels and watched Pride and Prejudice (not the 6-hour BBC version, mind you, but not for lack of time). I was spoon-fed cough medicine and always had a cold towel to put on my forehead (I’ve said it before, I have the best Dad ever). I haven’t spent this much time in my pajamas since that semester during my freshman year of college when my dorm was located approximately 50 feet from my 8:30 am class.
It’s been a refreshing experience for a self-confessed workaholic like myself, knowing that I wasn’t allowed to be around people. It’s also been about as boring as the subway ride from Fordham Road to Coney Island — and waaaay longer.
When I left the doctor’s office Wednesday, he offered me his hand to shake, probably out of habit. Shaking it, I said, “You’d better go wash your hands now.”
“I think I’ll go boil them,” he said.