I'm not a trendsetter. Nor am I really a follower. When something new presents itself in my sphere it takes me a while to get used to the idea of it being around. BlackBerry? Trust me, I'll get one in a few years, but right now I'm content with my flip phone. Drop-crotch pants? No thank you, I still enjoy the high-waist variety, camel-toe properties and all. Count me out for anything with a line or a waiting list attached. So me getting the swine flu a few weeks after the initial media hubbub had quieted but still during its very exclusive pre-pandemic phase was somewhat out of character. What can I say? Sometimes I'm a one-among-thousands sort of gal.
After making fun of everyone for overreacting to a particularly harsh allergy season, I was stricken with a harsh sore throat. Since I’m prone to strep and a variety of weird ailments my doc and I are on a first-name basis. But my boyfriend, who has a mind of steel and can psychologically undermine any illness, was sick too. We were both sleeping for 16 hours a day, too dazed to even read, our brains decaying thanks to the heavy doses of reality TV we took in as comfort. I cried during Wife Swap, that's how taxed I was. Clearly something was very wrong.
My doctor’s used to my hysteria by now, so she was pretty unimpressed when I lamented my symptoms. She listened to my lungs, took my temperature, made me blow into a peak flow meter, asked me if I'd traveled recently, and then told me I probably had "that flu that's been going around."
"What flu is that?" I asked.
"Well...there are two, but one is just upper respiratory. Judging by your symptoms..."
"Do I have the swine flu? I'm not going to freak out if you tell me I do."
She told me there was no magical cure she could give me. It's a virus and like any other virus you just have to wait it out. But she prescribed me codeine cough syrup and gave me an inhaler for good measure. I was stoked. There is strange sense of vindication that comes with being told you are as sick as you thought you were. And plus, it was going to go away, I wouldn't feel that satisfaction if sneaking suspicions of cancer had been confirmed, but swine flu? Why not?
After nine days I finally started to feel better. My boyfriend was on the same recovery trajectory. A full 24 hours after our symptoms were gone we reentered the outside world just in time to really freak people out at Memorial Day barbeques. We celebrated our freedom from the swine flu by stuffing our faces with pork. A fitting end, except that I still have to stop and catch my breath after walking up the subway stairs and I have to sleep about 12 hours a night. The swine flu sucks. Don't get it. If you do, you won't die, you'll just be bummed for about two weeks of your life.