Me vs. the office cold

I've been sick for a couple of weeks now. I we...

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Office cold/flu:  You know, Little Blind Girl, I’m really liking it here in your respiratory system.  I was thinking of setting up shop for a while, maybe get a little sinus infection going… something for the little viruses, you know?

Little Blind Girl:  I hate you.

Office cold/flu:  Oh, you don’t mean that.  I can tell!  You’ve made it so cushy in here, with your malnourishment and your lowered immune system from eating all that junk.  Clearly, your subconscious longed for this.

Little Blind Girl:  I hate you more every hour.

Office cold/flu:  Now, now, if that were true, you would have gone to the doctor by now.  I know you like to blame it on work and say you don’t have time, but I think we both know what’s really going on here, don’t we?

Little Blind Girl:  I hope you die.

Office cold/flu:  Is that a nice thing to say to your new life partner?

Little Blind Girl:  Oh, God, why?  What did I do that was so bad that I deserve this?

Office cold/flu:  I was thinking of setting up my office in your left sinus cavity.  The right cavity is bigger, but the left cavity has such a lovely view of your optic nerve.

Little Blind Girl:  Leave my optic nerve alone!  Sweet Jesus, am I talking to a virus?  I’ve gone round the twist at last.

Office cold/flu:  I’m so glad I’ve finally found a place I can call home.

Little Blind Girl:  You.  Me.  Doctor’s office.  Tomorrow morning.  Antibiotics at twenty paces.  To the death!

Little blind icicle

No Kidding

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My heat went out.  In retrospect, I should have seen this coming.  Four day weekend with a cold snap coming, I should have put the work order in a week in advance.  I timidly suggested to my landlord that, what with the cold weather and all, perhaps a repair guy could come look at my heater that, while never spectacular, seemed to have died completely; she agreed, but warned me that she didn’t think anyone could get to me that day.  I said, oh, that’s OK, it’s not like I’m going to freeze to death.

I’ve lived to regret those words, but barely.

On the upside, I’m now the proud owner of two space heaters, a radiator, and an electric blanket.  Even so (and I can only use the blanket and one of the others at the same time, or I blow a fuse), I was so cold over the course of the weekend that my body actually shut down.  All I could do was sleep.  As long as I was in bed, with the blanket and the space heater, I was more or less all right, but as soon as I stepped foot onto my icy floor, my entire body went “AAAAHHHH!!!  Systems failing, systems failing, initiate emergency shut down procedures.”  I’m now very well rested, but I think my joints need to be oiled.

The heating guy, when he came earlier today, was the most beautiful man I have ever seen in my life.  He didn’t say much, just “Thermostat?” and “Breaker box?”, but he said it well.  My brain interpreted his questions as angelic pronouncements, complete with cherubic choir and divine golden shaft of light, which I now realize was probably just his flashlight.  When he had to leave for a bit to do something with the innards of my heating system, he actually asked me if I had some electric heaters to get me through until he got back.  That’s how cold it was.  He was only gone for an hour, but he was afraid I was going to turn into an icicle before he made it back.

But make it back he did.  He was my salvation and has brought warmth and joy into my life.  My home was not a home until he came and showed me the way.  I will be erecting a shrine in my utility closet to him, and it will consist of a baseball cap, a spare filter, an assortment of Phillips head screws, and a great huge thing of keys that go jingle every time I open the door.  I will light an electric candle in front of a picture of the heating repairman and think warm thoughts every day before I walk out the door, and again when I come home.  Without him, I was lost in the cold.

These moments come to all of us sometime in our lives; mine was today.  Thank you, heating repairman.  May your keys always open the door.

The creeping crud

"Coughs and Sneezes Spread Diseases - As ...

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You’re going about your normal day.  You get up, yawn, wash, brush your teeth, wonder what happened to your face overnight, get dressed, go into work…and all along, unbeknownst to you, it’s stalking you.  As you drive into work, hang up your coat, and turn on your lights, little by little it catches up.

As you go about your business at work, it’s slithering along behind you, sizing you up, waiting for the exact time to attack.  You’re copying a document and suddenly you hear your coworker start coughing.  But she doesn’t stop.  It just keeps getting louder and deeper and wetter, like that lung is finally on its way out.  Eventually she stops, sniffles, and gives a watery smile.  “I guess I’ve got what’s going around,” she says, as if it’s an adorable quirk and not a contagious disease she just spewed into the air.

Suddenly you realize:  you’ve been seeing and hearing it for a week.  People all around you sneezing, hacking, sweating, pale and tired.  You look around to see half the office grabbing for tissues.  You pour a cup of coffee and hear one person detailing to another the completely work-inappropriate disease-induced excretions she suffered a few days ago.  She smiles at you and says, “I hope you like the coffee.  I brewed it myself.”

At home that evening, you check your reflection closely.  Are you looking a little pale?  Is that a sheen of sweat?  You take your temperature:  it’s a little elevated.  ‘No,’ you think.  ‘This is not happening to me.’  But you wake up the next morning aching from your crown to your feet, temperature 101, wondering if last night’s dinner is about to make a repeat appearance:  beef stew, the sequel.  It’s only too true.  It’s caught up with you at last.

English: Public health poster from Spanish flu...

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In my family, we call it the creeping crud.  You can see the people around you getting sick, and no matter how many precautions you take, no matter how many times you use the Purell, no matter how much Vitamin C you take, it will catch you.  It takes its time, makes sure you can see it coming (hence the creeping), and it makes you feel like complete crap in ways that are extremely embarrassing to talk about (hence the crud).

Beware, my friends, for the crud may be creeping up on you even as we speak.  Was that a person sneezing you saw out of the corner of your eye?  Was that faint noise a hacking cough from down the hall?  There’s no use fighting it.  The creeping crud always wins.  Just do me a favor:  if you get it, stay home.  Spare the people around you.  Especially if you’re a waiter or handle food or drink in any capacity.  There’s nothing quite like getting halfway through a meal in a restaurant and then seeing your waiter blowing his nose as he goes through the kitchen doors.