Source: The Independent


by Jerry Della Femina

January 16, 2013

I think I’m getting a cold. Or is it the flu?

One never rests when one is a hypochondriac during the height of a flu epidemic. It reminds me of this column I wrote another cold or flu ago. Here it is:

Is there anyone out there who is not sick with a cold or the flu? It’s like the plague.

Men, women and tiny children are all walking around sneezing, coughing, snorting and hacking. I’ve been sick with a miserable cold for days.

I’m typing this with one hand, in bed, on my laptop computer, like some Internet pervert, except in my case I’m holding a tissue in the other hand. I can’t go anywhere without my pants pockets bulging with a giant wad of Kleenex. A number of worldly women have noticed the bulge and greeted me with the timeless line: “Do you have a cold or are you just happy to see me?”

I feel like death warmed over. My wife, the beautiful Judy Licht, is trying to be sympathetic, but it isn’t working. (How come your spouse, no matter how he or she tries to be sympathetic to the fact that you’re dying from a cold, can’t seem to communicate that they know how sick you really are?)

When I breathe in and out the wheezing sound that comes out of my asthmatic chest sounds a little like an out-of-tune accordion and so I’m amusing my family by playing “Lady of Spain” with my lungs.

I’m taking everything. Nothing is working. What I know about most modern medicines is that they don’t work.

Before the miracle medicines were around, a cold would come on and all one could do about it was to take aspirin and plenty of hot chicken soup and an occasional Luden’s Honey Lemon Cough Drop.

Then science came on the scene. Sir Alexander Fleming (an interesting last name when I consider my current condition) invented penicillin and the war in our bodies was officially on.

Germs and bacteria or viruses, or whatever those tiny things that inhabit our bodies are called, were killed by the billions. But it was survival of the fittest and those little buggers who survived grew stronger and stronger and now they laugh at our feeble, pitiful attempts to stop them.

So what used to take three days to cure with chicken soup now takes five or 10 days or even a month to cure with expensive antibiotics.

I’m in better shape than my daughter Jodi – she has three children under the age of 10. Do you know what kids that age do for sport? They cough and sneeze in each other’s faces for the fun of it.

They’re sick all the time. A child’s nose starts to run when they are born and it doesn’t dry up until they’re 35 years old, married, and living in another state.

A child under the age of 10 is a walking time bomb.

Dial any pediatrician in the United States and they don’t even say hello anymore. They just shout out: “AMOXICILLIN! AMOXICILLIN! GIVE HIM AMOXICILLIN!”

For would-be grownups like me, the doctors are selecting from a menu of five or six “miracle medicines” which, when they “work,” take a week longer than chicken soup used to take to cure you.

I have the most wonderful, brilliant, talented doctor in the world: Dr. Nathaniel Wisch. He’s cured me of everything but my hypochondria (which I’m convinced will some day kill me), but when I call and report that I’m getting a cold he turns into a fashion coordinator. His first question is, “What color is the stuff you’re bringing up?”

I don’t know. I don’t want to look,” I answer.

“You must look,” he insists.

So I say, “Okay. Okay . . . ” It looks like everything inside of my body is green. It looks like my body is having a secret St. Patrick’s Day party and I’m the only one invited.

So when I went in for an examination he started me with something called Biaxin, pronounced “Bi-oxen.” I must admit the name didn’t give me confidence. How good can a drug that is named after a cow that is sexually attracted to both male and female cows be?

I was right. The Biaxin didn’t work, so I called Dr. Wisch and he asked me to describe the new “color” I was bringing up.

I’m sending him a color chart of Benjamin Moore paints along with the explanation that I’m currently bringing up stuff somewhere between Benjamin Moore’s Pacific Celadon #1674 and Tropical Soho Canary #1693.

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