The ultimate equalizer. The flu doesn’t care who you are, where you live, or how many miles you ran last week. The flu certainly doesn’t care if you ate your vegetables or not as a kid. And much to big pharma’s dismay, the flu doesn’t really care if you have had your flu shot.
I can remember vividly the last time I had the flu. I was about 15 or 16. I woke up so chilled and achey I was convinced I was dying. I called my doctors office and left a message for my doctor to call me back, certain she would have a remedy for this madness. Instead, I remember the nurse’s call back stating, “stay in bed, it sounds like you just have the flu.” “JUST THE FLU!!!” I thought to myself. “Are you crazy?! This has to at least resemble what death feels like and that should at least merit a “sounds like you have a BAD case of the flu” not just the flu.” I crawled back into bed and suffered alone as I am sure my cat misty, who wouldn’t have much to do with me on my best of days, was not going to comfort me covered in sweat and shivering.
Let’s take a trip back in time. Back in those days, you know, when this shit was acceptable… wait! Not just acceptable but considered attractive!
Anyway, back in the year 2000 I didn’t have the internet on my cell phone. In fact, I probably didn’t have a cell phone because I repeatedly ran up the minutes and texted too much and my mom was a good parent and took that shit away when I did that. I didn’t have Facebook or myspace or any of the chat features that come with those. No snapchat or instagram, just my bed, an angry cat lurking, and myself. I can remember laying in bed doing nothing but feeling achey and miserable. Sure I could have moved to the sofa and watched television but there was only crap and kid shows on during the day. You know what else I didn’t have? That horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach like I was missing out. Of course I knew that my friends at school were going on without me, but I was so lucky to not have to lay in bed alone and watch it play out on social media.
Even now, as I lay here sick, with my iPhone and laptop sustaining myself on equal doses of organic ginger ale and netflix, I feel this terrible feeling that I need to be accomplishing something. I can see people on Facebook are getting things done today. The news is all a twitter with people doing things. There is an isolating feeling that has come with the flu this time around. A left out, left behind, missing out, and I hate to say it but… worthless feeling.
So flu, yeah, you’re an asshole but I am reminded that it isn’t just the teens that I work with that are overloaded with technology. I am so grateful that I didn’t have social media when I was kid. I got on myspace when I was 19 and had a mostly formed adult brain. I am reminded it isn’t just when we integrate technology into our lives, it is how we balance it that is important. Time out from every day life to fight off a sickness or rest up or even just having time to yourself should never equate feelings of being left out or worthlessness. Life is so much bigger than a few sick days and that these moments of quiet serve to refill my spirit and build character, two things that media has absolutely no interest in promoting.