10 things you can do with the flu… And what you can't.

Flu diagram

The gorey details of how the flu makes you miserable.

I’ve participated in a carefully controlled research project this week, to ascertain from direct evidence what you can do while lying in bed with the flu.

One can imagine getting all kinds of wonderful things accomplished, but it doesn’t actually work that way. You think you can catch up on various planning and strategizing. Perhaps work out a brilliant marketing campaign. But no.

10 things you can’t do:

  1. brilliant marketing campaign
  2. uh… Can’t think of the next one. Sniffle, sneeze… Blarg!

It even turns out that some tasks that look completely harmless will take a surprising turn when you have the flu.

As an example, consider what happened to me on day three of the flu. The fever had come down, and I was feeling more ambitious than the amoeba type creature I was the day before. I thought that while hubby was still asleep, I would take our dog, Baci, out to the backyard. It was a beautiful sunny day, unseasonably warm, seductively inviting me to stretch my face up to the sun in appreciation of the joys of life while the dog took care of his necessities. What could possibly go wrong?

Then I thought to pick up after the dog. Leaning over, bending at the middle towards feet… not such a good idea! I was lightheaded and the woozie factor seemed much more pronounced than expected. And then suddenly, Baci was on the move, aiming vigorously for his soccer ball. I realized at this point that I have made an error of judgement.  My dog is a Samoyed, a sled dog breed. I am much more likely to pass out, and be dragged across the lawn. For a moment I fear that my good intentions will result  in my groggy husband waking to find me lying inert and the dog cheerfully wagging his tail with the leash wrapped around a telephone pole at the end of the driveway.  Mercifully, Baci also seemed to recognize that something was amiss on the other end of the leash, and he eased up before gaining full steam! He escorted me politely back to the door and up the stairs. 

It is essential that you also avoid the hazards of “day three.” Do not let your ambitious nature get the better of you. Stay in bed. You may want to install some kind of seat belt on “day three.”

Ah,  even from here, I can hear you say, “But, but, but! I am a creative, productive professional. I am always busy. I have work to do! I can’t just lay about all day. I simply must do something!”

Dear hearts, I am here to remind you that you must get well before you can romp again with the dog and tackle that brilliant marketing plan.  Nevertheless, for your sakes, I have compiled the definitive list of what can be accomplished safely while you have the flu.

  1. You can order concert tickets for when you are well and feeling like going out again. It helps to have  something to live for.
  2. You can catch up on watching all of Season 2 of Downton Abbey. Pay particular attention to episode eight, where Lavinia dies of The 1918 Spanish flu, or possibly of a broken heart. Do not do that. See #1.
  3. You can design a dandy tea cozy by email with your sister. Choosing yarn colors is exactly the right speed! Besides you are drinking lots of tea. It may as well be cozy, don’t you think?
  4. You can compete with your cat on the Olympic Sleep Team. Your cat will still win, but do not give up. You can definitely give him a run for his money!
  5. You can learn about microbiology. Stay with me on this one. By beginning with a curiosity about the darned flu, you can travel to the CDC web site. Reading about how to wash your hands will leave you terribly unsatisfied. Follow all the links for how the flu works, and how it spreads from ducks to pigs to humans until you unravel the mysteries of how Tamiflu disrupts the Neuraminidase proteins on the surface of the Flu as it tries to bond with the Sialic acid receptors on the respiritory cells in your nose and throat making it impossible (somehow) for the flu to replicate itself. This is why they tell you to get to the doctor as quickly as possible. If the flu has already replicated willy nilly in your system, you are doomed. See #2. You can also use the interactive flu trend maps to verify that you are not alone. Then fall back onto your pillow, relieved to know that somebody is really thinking about the problem.
  6. You can play Golden Globe Bingo. It will take two days, because you will fall asleep in the middle of the broadcast. However, through the wonders of streaming internet television, these days you need not miss Jodie Foster’s acceptance speech, which will probably be on You Tube somewhere. Besides, looking at sparkly dresses and tuxedos in your PJs will inspire you to comb your hair someday. At least we hope so. 
  7. You can learn how to parbuckle your dock lines, for when you feel like sailing, later. 
  8. You can say “Blarg” with conviction. This, I imagine, is what Pirates say when they have the flu. “Blarg!” “Blarg! “BLARG!”  It scares the pants off the flu.
  9. If you have not got an electronic ear thermometer, you can probably order one from Amazon. It will arrive in time for you to have lots of opportunities to press it into your ear gently, awaiting the beep that let’s you know that you still have a fever.
  10. You can thank your gentle caregivers for supplying you with plenty of Jello, which you would never otherwise choose to eat. The fact that it includes a small squirt of whipped cream is particularly delightful for reasons that are not well understood. We suspect that there is a link from the CDC web site that would explain it on a cellular level. 



Obviously, you need a flu soup kit. I will send one off immediately. Until it gets there, remember that garlic is an antiviral, and that rest confuses the flu, so it goes somewhere else, to find those still trying to accomplish more than they're entitled to…