… And In-Flu Enza

March 20, 2008

Written by Guest Blogger, GroovyOldLady of Groovy’s Ruminations

Hiho, Groovy here.

I am not a beautiful airline stewardess, but today we get to pretend that I am. This may be difficult since I am really a backwoods Maine rube replete with a plaid shirt and a tash of whoopie pies, but do your best, K? Kailani has graciously (and bravely) allowed me to be a guest poster here on her lovely and popular blog.

In keeping with her tropical themes and cultural revelations, I thought I’d write about a universal American experience and get your input. Today’s topic?

I had a little bird, Its name was Enza, I opened the window, And in-flu-enza.
-American Skipping Rhyme circa 1918

Yes, I want to talk about the flu. The real flu, not the stomach flu which, according to the CDC is not even related to the flu. Naturally, this brings up my first burning question of the post: Why do people INSIST on calling Gastroenteritis “the flu” when it already has a name and “the flu” is another ailment entirely?

Pardon me while I refocus my own feverish brain. Because yes, I currently have influenza. So does my husband and both my girlies. My friend Mary called a few days ago to see how we were doing.

“We have the flu,” I told her.

“How do you KNOW you have the flu,” she countered. “Have you seen a doctor for a diagnosis?”

A doctor? For the flu? Was she kidding?

I KNEW I had the flu because

  1. The flu is going around rather freely in Central Maine right now.
  2. I personally know several people who have recently succumbed to the flu.
  3. These people have had the audacity to breathe air in rooms I too have inhabited and the flu is highly contagious.
  4. I have all the symptoms of the flu: sudden onset, fever, chills, severe malaise, cough, sore throat, aches, etc.

Why in the world would I go to the doctor? That would mean putting my miserable self in a car and driving through traffic, breathing in the foul, germacious air of other sickos in the waiting room, and twiddling my thumbs in the exam room. The nurse would come in and ask me too many questions and take my blood pressure. Finally the P.A. would come in (we’re short on doctors) and ask me all the same questions that the nurse did. Then she’d say, “A nasty flu bug is going around right now and I imagine that’s what you have. Go home and drink plenty of fluids and get some rest.”

For this I (or my insurance) would pay $80.

I remember way back in the early 80’s when I was working my first real job at a department store in Daytona Beach. I was at the service desk and overheard the manager talking to a sick employee on the phone. “Well,” he said, “If you’re not coming in then I’ll need a note from your doctor.”

After he rung off, he smiled at me. “Peggy won’t be in today. She says she has the flu.”

“The flu? And you want her to see a doctor for THAT?” I asked incredulously.

“You don’t go to the doctor when you have the flu?” he countered, equally shocked.

“We don’t go to the doctor for much of anything!” My mom always worked 2-3 minimum wage jobs with no benefits; we didn’t go to the doctor unless we were DYING.

“Well,” he rose to his full height and put on his most impressive let-me-teach-you-a-thing-or-two-you-ignorant-neophyte voice. “All I can say is you’d better go to the doctor when you have the flu because the flu can kill you.”

Well, I’m 44 now and I’ve had the flu a time or two. I’ve never gone to the doc for it and I’m still alive. I will go to the doc if I get a secondary infection, but I will not go for a virus - at least not at this stage of my life.

What about you? Do you head for the doctor’s office when you suspect you have a virus?

Aloha for stopping by Selma, Pamela, Anno, Groovyoldlady, Karen MEG, Rosie, Sher :), Sassyfrazz, Michelle Potter, Mp, Dee, LuAnn, Alexia,