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Small Talk: When the man flu is real

OK, guys. Here’s some advice you’ve never heard before. Talk to your wife.

I’m not saying pour out your heart, but there are some feelings you really ought to share. Consider sharing things like, “I am burning up with fever and feel like crud on a cracker. Perhaps you might bring me the thermometer.”

If you are of an age and/or perhaps have some other health issue going on (admit it, you have something … heart, stomach, liver, something), continuing to be the strong, silent, independent sort may get you killed. And, no, not by your wife. As of last weekend, I have firsthand proof.

It is one of those double-edged sword thingees. It is lovely to have a husband who doesn’t complain. He doesn’t criticize my cooking nor my housekeeping. He doesn’t care how I wear my hair or if I decide to go all day in my sweatpants with no makeup. And, no, he doesn’t need my help with anything, thank you very much.

The other edge of that sword was that he made not a peep about feeling ill until I found him face-down on the floor at 2 a.m. He was calling for help, but he was so weak, I wasn’t sure what I was hearing. I finally got up to investigate, fortunately.

Turns out he was down with Type A influenza and pneumonia. I nearly passed out when I heard the paramedic say, “His temperature is 106!” His GP told him, a few days later; the Type A strain is the one that comes on fast. If you are in a vulnerable condition for any reason, you might go to bed and not wake up.

His next stop was the ER and a short stay at the local hospital while they pumped him full of at least two antibiotics. And thank God for modern medicine, eh?

I always feel sorry for the paramedics and nurses who have to put in his IV and take blood. The man has the worst, skinny, rubbery veins I have ever encountered. I was pretty impressed by the whole group this time, though. They didn’t seem to struggle or even leave bruises.

Despite hanging out on death’s front porch, my hubbie was home and being crabby within two days and is recovering nicely. Why was he crabby? Because I kept asking him how he was feeling.


Jean Gillette is a freelance writer who intends to keep asking, so there. Contact her at [email protected]