Now I've had the flu before, quite a few times actually, so I wasn't expecting anything particularly spectacular when I found out that I would be trying out and reviewing this year's strain. I had built up a considerable dent in my immune system, what with attending a three-day wedding drink-a-thon the weekend immediately prior, so I think I caught it at its best.
The initial impression I had wasn't akin to past flus, since they sometimes lead you on with minimal symptoms for days before smacking you in the face with the good stuff. This one, however, came in like naked Miley Cyrus riding a sparkly wrecking ball - unexpected and a little too long. Tuesday morning I felt fine, then suddenly around 3pm I must've walked outside, stood on the 101 and waited for a semi to hit me because it was at that moment that my entire body started hurting and I decided I was likely on the fast track to the county coroner's office.
While often the flu hits me without warning, I do find that it hits me with everything at once - body aches, headache, sore throat, head cold, cough - but not this time. This year's glorious visit was marked by specific days dedicated each to their own special, but wildly different, version of hell. As with a multi-course meal, I shall review this flu in each of its "courses."
Course 1 - This Must Be What Dying Feels Like
My sudden crash into the flu's first stage had me laying in my bed and wondering if this is what cancer patients feel like in their last days. My head ached, my body ached, my JOINTS ached - I couldn't even sleep because every position, other than "dead," was just too uncomfortable. I was very thirsty, but my intent to hydrate was derailed by my bladder's intent to stay empty. As I lay in my bed, convinced I had parasites eating me from the inside and that soon I would simply cease to exist, a mystery for my family and friends to solve and put on Dateline later this year, I wondered where the rest of it was. You know, the sore throat, coughing, head cold, snot - the works. But as we know, what is the answer to most dilemmas? Patience.
Course 2 - Are You Fucking Serious With This Shit?
Course 1 lasted what I would consider slightly too long - both Tuesday and Wednesday were dedicated entirely to my bodily pain, while honestly I would've rather just skipped that altogether. Thursday revealed a great surprise - my body once again felt normal, but my throat had begun hurting and I could feel the snot building a wall to block my breathing. This flu was no multi-tasker - it put everything it had into each one of its reigns of hell.
At this point I called my parents to tell them that their initial hypothesis of my being hungover was wrong, and I definitely had the flu and how do I survive without my mommy? My dad's answer to anything is "orange juice and aspirin" while my mom said a lot more things that I don't remember. Suffice it to say, Thursday was also spent in bed, but only after a hearty dose of cold meds, orange juice, and a rousing game of "shoot saline up your nose and see what comes out."
Course 3 - Just GO Already.
Friday and Saturday presented themselves without a sore throat but with worsening snot problems, so I felt like I could venture out in to the world. Not for anything spectacular, I just needed food and desperately wanted someone else to prepare it. I thought getting outside would be good for me. Instead, my three-minute drive to Chipotle combined with eating and my three-minute drive home proved to be more physically taxing than climbing the Himalayas, so I napped away the day out of exhaustion instead of my regular boredom.
I also got started on the most addictive medication on the planet - no, not morphine - AFRIN. Nasal spray. It clears you up oh so well and then when you feel the congestion coming on, nothing else will suffice. I knew it was a gamble but I do so love breathing that I took it. I have yet to know if I will regret this decision.
Now at the end of its run, I am currently only battling slight congestion and extreme exhaustion, which sounds terrible but based on the above is actually rather lovely.
This year's flu was nothing spectacular. It didn't provide the 8-hour fever of the 2011 flu, nor did it have anywhere near the efficiency of any of the most recent strains. Drawing it out to a week was petty and unnecessary, but those first few days did pack quite a punch. My sore throat only made it to "mild" pain and my congestion was simply an annoyance. Going forward, this flu should focus on extending its efforts to all areas instead of concentrating them at the beginning, or hell, just going for it all in a couple of days so I can get back on my feet more quickly. Will it be remembered as a bad one? Not particularly. Mediocre at best, I'll likely forget about it in a few months.
I give this flu two thumbs down.