Let’s Talk About the Flu. My Flu.

This American Life aired a story in November 2013 called “The Seven Things You’re Not Supposed to Talk About.”  The show was about the things you’re not supposed to talk about not because they are controversial like politics and religion, but because no one cares.   The seven off-limit conversation topics according to this one French lady’s list include:  how you slept, your period, your health, your dreams, money, diet, and route talk (ie which road and how long it took.)  I might also add to this list:  your busyness.


It’s a solid list, but one that I have every intention of transgressing right now.  I’ve been sick this week.  In bed kind of sick.  I’m calling it the flu though this has not been confirmed by a swab test.  I’ve wanted to sound Facebook alarms to let the world know my miserable status, but instead I’ve been saving up all the depressing details over the last 72 hours for this post.

I really don’t want to make this post all about me though.   You have had the flu before too.  (Although I’m sure mine is worse of course.)  I want to stay people focused and offer some general tips on what we all want when we have the flu:

Bulleted speech.   We need those around us to speak in short sentences allowing space in the conversation for us to whimper and you to say, “You sound awful.  Anything I can do?”

Why yes, read on.

  • First things first, please don’t ask us if we got the flu shot.   No is a complicated answer.

  • A thermometer that runs hot.  A temperature of 100.8 does not tell you how we really feel.  If anyone asks, I’m adding one degree.  That’s what our rectums would have said anyway.

  • With a well-supplied water heater and a shower stool, we’d really like to make the shower our primary place of rest.

  • A proxy to drink all this water that is being asked of us.  Please, please help us hydrate.

  • Your spouse to vacate the bed on first symptom onset, and then go clean the bathroom.   This will all go down easier if you have the bed to yourself and the toilet bowl rings gone in case you need to heave.  We don’t know when and if we will throw up (and YES we know that vomiting is not common with typical flu), but when your nose is discharging phlegm to your stomach signaling nausea– we need this contingency plan in place.

  • All the blankets in the house.  Every last one of them.

  • You know how when your body aches and you just wish someone could be there massaging exactly where it hurts without any direction –not too hard and not too soft and for very, very long.  We want that more than anything.

  • Honey Nut Cheerios in a snack bowl.

  • Advil.  Every 4 hours ON THE DOT.

  • Your forgiveness for only being able to like pictures, funny stuff, or things that don’t require an extra click on Facebook.

  • The VANITY bullet: Hair that lays down flat and naturally dark eye lashes. 

  • We understand the pounding headache, sore throat and dry cough but we need someone to explain why even our gums ache.  And then make it stop. Advil doesn’t seem to know about the gum situation.

  • Sick clothes – warm fleeces, elastic-waisted pants, house shoes and maybe a kitty to borrow.

  • A house delivery of chicken rice soup … which has just arrived thanks to Holly!

Turns out my community of friends are total rule breakers.  Feeling the love from friends near and far.  So ... Tell me your dreams!  Tell me your exercise plans! I’m all ears – they just happen to be a little stuffed up right now, but then again – you knew that.