At the risk of dooming a long streak of self-proclaimed healthiness from the effects of rampant flu symptoms, I’ve continued to share a house with my ill wife and son. It all began a week ago when I first heard sniffles followed by coughing and sneezing.
At the risk of dooming a long streak of self-proclaimed healthiness from the effects of rampant flu symptoms, I’ve continued to share a house with my ill wife and son.
It all began a week ago when I first heard sniffles followed by coughing and sneezing.
“I don’t feel very well,” my wife said to me while she sat beside me on the couch.
Casually, I moved over as thoughts for an appropriate germ defense mechanism ran through my mind.
Sure, I could have asked her to remain isolated in one room, but what kind of husband would that have made me? Instead, I lovingly suggested that she remain on the couch where I could follow her every move.
Eventually, she decided to lie down, which allowed me to spray down the couch — well, actually the entire upstairs — with Lysol spray.
I made sure to ingest just a little bit of the fumes, also. And the overspray acted much like using a topical ointment while providing a cologne-like smell, making me feel slightly heady.
Once I finished the first aerial spray assault, the family cat vanished and went missing for hours. Apparently, she didn’t want to become ill, either.
While some might compare my desire to remain healthy as a type of germ phobia, it’s really that I just don’t like to be sick ... ever. This condition stems from my youth, when I attended grade school and endured classmates who coughed with their mouths open. These were the same students who wiped their noses on a shirtsleeve and left marks similar to something a slug might leave on a sidewalk.
Then, they encouraged me to participate in football with them at recess where I would inadvertently touch their crusted clothing, thus transferring their germs and a significant amount of mucus onto me.
My classroom was a virtual cesspool of bacteria and fungus — all bent on making me sick.
And, usually, it did.
There were months during the winter when I would have consecutive colds — each one lasting just long enough for another strain to take its place. In those days, my parents should have owned a paper mill to help cover costs of Kleenex I used, when not wiping my own nose on a sleeve.
However, I got to experience many home remedies, which might explain nightmares I have, where my head is forcibly placed inside a sack and I have to breathe steam from pans of hot water containing Vicks VapoRub.
One school year, I even missed the last two weeks of classes — and most importantly, the annual end-of-school party -— because I had somehow ingested the virus causing chicken pox.
For several weeks, I resembled something from a B-movie horror scene, until the virus got tired of me and took up residence in my little sister.
So, as you can see, my undeniable need to remain healthy is legitimate and not some ranting of a crazy person.
A few days after my wife became ill and my son began showing similar symptoms, I upgraded my personal virus alert to Code Orange and immediately administered Lysol wipes and more anti-bacterial spray.
It was a difficult task, considering I feared touching kitchen counters, tables, my wife or son.
Neither thought much of my idea of having each of them rub themselves down with a disinfectant wipe every occasionally, either.
When they finally began to feel better, I thought they should probably thank me for maintaining a clinic-like environment during their illnesses. I could also have used a little vote of confidence for remaining a functioning member of the family during their bouts with viruses – especially since there are plenty of hotels in our town.
Instead, my wife just rolled her eyes at me.
But it still made me feel good to have made a significant contribution in the war against germs in our family.
Now, all that remains is figuring out how to get the smell of Lysol out of the cat.
Ken Knepper is publisher of The Newton Kansan. He can be contacted at email@example.com.