I have discovered true misery. All it takes is a case of old-fashioned, "killer-diller" flu " the kind that can be endured only if you curl up in a fetal position and sleep " combined with a sick dog that needs medicine, meals and doors opened to the back yard approximately 20 times per day.


I don't begrudge the attention to the dog, as Tigger is fighting her own long battle with chronic renal failure. I'm mad as hell about the week I've lost to my stupid virus, even if it is partly my own fault. I didn't get a flu shot this year, figuring that since I'm not around large numbers of students anymore, I wouldn't be exposed. That theory did not predict successfully that I would spend a Saturday in May locked in a room with about 70 children and adults from Oklahoma City, Stillwater and Norman. It only took one of them to get me.


Now, ordinarily, I'm one of those people who gets sick only rarely, and then I wait to get better " and do. That doesn't seem to be happening, so I must assume that some obnoxious complication has added itself to the mix. Ordinarily, one just calls up one's personal physician, makes an appointment and finds out, right? Sadly, the last person I considered "my" doctor moved away from town several years ago. I never quite got around to scheduling an annual checkup or the kind of tests that would signify that somebody else was "my guy" or "my girl." Take my advice: Don't do that. If you don't have a personal physician, schedule something right now. It may be four months away, but this would at least give you some connection to that doctor.


On my ninth call of the morning, I finally found myself talking to a nice woman who seemed to be listening to what I was saying, even if I wasn't on the regular patient list. Holy cow! Or, maybe it was my fascinating delivery, what with my having to take a breath between every word. After asking me to hold for a moment, she came back and offered me an appointment time " a real time " with the doctor for whom she works. A real doctor! Hallelujah!


Trust me. I'm going to be so polite. I'm going to be such a good patient. I even will be a lovely waiting-room waiter. Unless this physician shows up in the examining room in vampire fangs, I am going to hope that after today, I, too, will have a doctor of my own again, and maybe I'll never have to feel this terrible again. (OK, maybe I'll have to feel worse on the final day of my life, but that will be playing for larger stakes.)


I will get a flu shot next year. I have hopes of feeling human again, soon. Then I'll make an effort to look human again, too, but that will be a much bigger task.

Murphy is a freelance writer who lives in Norman.

  • or