It is sort of a macho joke with me, or maybe an anti-macho-mindset joke, that guys never get colds, we only get the flu. Macho or not, you will never hear of me calling in sick to work or complaining about a mere cold.
But the flu is different. I'm just getting over a big bout.
The trouble is, at first you can't tell which you've got. You just feel poorly. By the time aching muscles set in, you have an idea, but you use optimism to thwart it. This works as wonderfully well as denial, which is the same thing.
Bed and the onset of hallucinations are the peaknockle and the epitoam. Now you know it is the flu, because you don't know anything else besides the profusion of heat in your body and brain. Time is buried in sand as it takes you 15 minutes of thinking of how possibly to move from bed to the bathroom. Your body doesn't work anymore, too bad, and the reality occurs to you that you are actually the outlaw Jesse James and have been shot and left to die here. This is as plausible a reason for your demise as anything else, and if you weren't so hot, you could think. Think, Jesse, think.
By day two your identity (Stephen Burke) has re-established itself, and you recognize your surroundings, by the grace of God, whose name you've been intoning since you resumed brain function, and realized you might run out of Poland Spring pretty soon, and need divine intervention.
By day 3, you start to contemplate the day you will be able to shower without physical collapse, and you swear you will never complain about shaving again, anymore than you would about moving or breathing.
By day 4, you are recovering, and you have to check the news online to see if all those stories you heard, or think you heard, on the constantly-playing radio (tethering you to reality) were real. (They were. I'm glad about the Super Bowl; sorry for Philip Seymour Hoffman and his family.)
I just checked my records from work. I hadn't had a sick day since this exact time last year. I see I wrote a message to my boss in the middle of it that I would need to stay home from work because I had turned into a poisonous reptile. Jesse James is a step up, I guess, but guess what: next year, a flu shot.