After more than four decades of never having had the flu, or a flu shot, I suppose it was bound to happen.
Paul, who had not had the flu for 25 years (the exact last time he got a flu shot), I guess it was his time too.
Getting the flu and being sick at the same time, was something for which we were grossly unprepared.
Add to that the fact that it all went down during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, and I think you’ll agree with me it was nothing short of ugly.
The whole ordeal began when turkey-day-eve found Paul not feeling great. Being a typical man, he shrugged it off as allergies or maybe a slight cold.
I felt great, and since my life has always been so “flu-less” I was not worried a bit. I cooked the big meal on Thanksgiving Day and although I knew Paul was not feeling 100 percent, my “flu-less-ness” still left me clueless.
It was wonderful, as always, enjoying a big meal with our sweet children, and I went to bed [early as usual] feeling fine.
Boom. I woke up in the middle of the night freezing, with my throat feeling raw. What the heck? Back to sleep, sort of.
Mostly I tossed and turned and felt shaky and cold. The next morning, way before the sun came up, I hobbled to the bathroom, rummaged through expired prescription bottles to find a digital thermometer, which I doubted still worked. It did.
I had 101-degree temperature. I couldn’t even remember the last time I had a fever at all, much less one that high.
I hobbled — and it was a real hobble, since I ached all over — to the kitchen to find the ibuprofen.
Back to bed. Paul, who noticed I was up and about, asked what was wrong. In doing so, his raspy, cracking voice sounded like something straight out of a horror movie.
He didn’t look all that great either, but I knew I wouldn’t be casting any stones in the appearance category.
A few hours later, when we were able to assess the “damages” of our current plague, the comments were indicative of nearly a quarter century of marriage.
“You look terrible,” I said aghast.
He responded, “Why is your face so white and since when do you snore?”
As it turned out, we both had fevers and were at a loss as to our situation.
“We cannot be sick at the same time,” I reasoned. “Who will take care of us? What about the kids?”
It was all wrong. I also said, in the most Freddy Kreuger-like voice, “I don’t do the flu.”
Apparently, I may not “do” the flu, but when it decides to claim you, you’re powerless.
The next few days are a blur. Like childbirth, that’s probably a good thing. The fevers came and went. The coughs, dizziness, almost fainting spell (that was me), seemed an eternity.
Waking up at 2 a.m., getting some hot herbal tea, some meds and then watching a mindless movie for an hour seemed normal.
Not eating for a ridiculously long time, and then eating chicken broth, seemed fine.
Not caring about the kitchen being a wreck (did I mention the older kids left because they were afraid they would get our flu and have to miss school and work?), or not doing laundry for days on end.
When we began feeling better — but were still weak —we wondered what we would have done if we had been both sick at the same time when our four children were young?
We remembered how they would quietly freak out when they were younger and one of us was sick.
I suffered from migraine headaches with all four pregnancies, and can remember them peering into our bedroom with wide eyes and frightened faces. All so scared about mommy being sick and in pain.
I would try to smile through that pain and assure them I was just fine — even when my head felt like it was going to split open.
When Paul was ill, which wasn’t often, there was more fear and panic among the little people. I suppose for every young child, seeing their big, strong daddy under the covers and in bed can be unsettling.
Being sick is awful. And it really stinks having nobody to take care of you.
Trying to look on the bright side, nothing makes you appreciate your health than when you don’t have it.
Once I felt up to it, I was cleaning the house and doing laundry like a mad woman.
Paul cleaned out our gutters and worked outside for eight hours straight. We’re hoping we can have a do-over when Christmas comes and not spend it in bed. Stay healthy!
Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.