A couple of weeks back Eric got the flu. His whole company has it. The whole valley has it. This is an especially ugly flu, a wide-spectrum flu, a flu that touches all corners of the misery box. An advertising flu: a Sniffling Sneezing Coughing Aching Stuffy Head Fever flu.
Especially unluckily for Eric, he got it over a weekend. His flu was precisely bracketed by the time he got home from work on Friday to the time he got up Monday morning to go back to work. So on top of everything else it’s also a flu with a cruel sense of humor.
I’ve been feeling pretty smug about all this because I got a flu shot this year. In fact, I’ve been getting flu shots for a bunch of years now and I’ve effectively stopped getting sick. Eric: no flu shots; he gets sick every year. I smugly held this up as proof that the flu shot works, and I smugly paraded my sunny health annoyingly about the house as Eric suffered. Yup, I was really smug about it. Flu shots are great, thought I. I’m so damn healthy, thought I. Smug smug smug.
And then last Tuesday the flu came down from the sky and humorlessly squashed all the smug right out of me.
I should note here that I am using “flu” generically. I don’t think either of us ever actually had the actual flu. I never ran a fever, although it felt like I was. I think this was just a really bloody nasty awful headcold. But damn, what a vicious terror of a headcold it was.
For five days I did nothing but take Nyquil and sleep. I have only one clear memory of those five days: One night I stared fascinatedly at the TiVo as Eric was clicking through the screens, because the menus were coming apart and floating around about a foot in front of the TV. “Are you OK?” Eric asked me. “I am so stoned.” I commented insightfully. Obviously I am not going to be writing the Nyquil-induced kubla khan any time soon.
Interesting fact I learned during my sickness: You know the Nyquil slogan I quoted above, the Sniffling Sneezing Coughing Aching Stuffy Head Fever So-You-Can-Rest thing? They’ve changed it. The stuffy head part is gone. I stared at the box for a long time thinking “where’s the stuffy head part?” and then I realized….maybe they took the stuffy head drug out.
Sure enough, thanks to the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005, part of the US Patriot act, it is now illegal to purchase pseudoephedrine, aka Sudafed, over the counter (psuedoephedrine is a decongestant). You have to request it from a locked cabinet behind the counter, you have to produce photo ID, and you have to be logged and tracked by the pharmacist to make sure you don’t buy too much of it in any 30 day period.
I feel so much safer now.
Drug manufacturers, thinking that perhaps people might be annoyed by the rigmarole, have been reformulating all the OTC drugs they sell that used to contain pseudoephedrine to, not. Thus: nyquil no longer contains it. Nyquil is no longer the wonder kill-all cold and flu solution it once was. Fortunately I have a big box of pre-ban generic sudafed and once I figured out what was going on I just popped some with my green death every day. And all was right with the world, well, other than the wondrous flying TiVo menus.
Yesterday I finally started to feel a little bit human (better than slime mold, but not quite primate). Today I am about 40% human (approaching neanderthal). I am aiming for perhaps 75% human tomorrow. One step at a time. Notable is that it has taken me three days to write this post.