Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

He Got Flu; She Got Headache

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

He Got Flu; She Got Headache

Article excerpt


I'm a 38-year-old, 6-foot-1 baby.

It's the only conclusion I could reach after being knocked out recently by a 10-day bout with the flu.

Oh, it started off OK, I guess, as far as these things go. A fever and a slight cough. Not feeling that great, I took the day off. A day or two in bed ought to take care of it, I thought. I'll be fine.

So after that, I carried myself in to the office and went back to work. But it wasn't to be for long. Before day's end, I was back at home, taking aspirin and resting some more.

This flu seemed kind of unusual, I thought. My wife suggested I call the doctor, but I resisted - at least for a while. For some men like me, I guess, calling the doctor is a little bit like admitting you're lost and asking for directions. I've got an "I'd-rather-do-it-myself" mindset at times, and figured I could take care of this alone.

After a while, though, with more fever and then stomachaches, I decided I needed a professional.

A dutiful trip to the doctor produced a diagnosis that I had been sure of already, that I had the flu.

It was all I could to keep from yelling, "Gimme something for this, doc, I'm dying!"

Instead, he looked at me and said there was nothing he could do. Seems influenza is caused by a virus, and antibiotics do nothing for viruses. The best I could do, he said, was to get some rest, drink light fluids and take aspirin to keep the fever down.

I'm part of a generation that grew up on Marcus Welby, where doctors on TV could heal anything. So my doctor's response was disappointing.

He did suggest that I might feel better in a day or two, that the flu would run its course by then. At this point, two days would have been Thanksgiving. I guess it would be OK if I was better by then.

By Thanksgiving Eve, I was on the phone to the doctor. In addition to everything else, I had picked up insomnia, and my stomach was killing me. Could he prescribe anything?

Success at last. He prescribed medication that he said should help soothe my stomach and provide a mild sedative. I gave my wife my best deathbed face and asked her to pick it up from the pharmacy. She did - and the medication did nothing.

Thanksgiving rolled around, and as my family planned to celebrate the fest at my mother's home with lots of relatives, I chose to stay in bed at home. …

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