Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

don’t ever get a flu shot

I was supposed to fly to South Bend this afternoon. Adding to the stress of this family visit was the fact that I’d been sick all fucking week due to the stupid flu shot. DON’T GET A FLU SHOT. EVER. Especially don’t get one if you have an immune system already deeply weakened by the fact that I drink a lot of Coke, don’t eat right, and don’t happen to be a marathon runner or mountain climber like everyone else in my office. I’m not going to lay out any kind of  conspiracy about the shots or anything, it’s just that the dead flu stuff got on top of me quickly, or maybe they just took out my defenses and I got infected by some other thing. Either way, I spent all week completely laid out by some kind of fast-acting and brutal flu or viral infection or something. Leaving the house and trying to breathe the air during my quick run to the subway made my chest feel like I was breathing pure kerosene. Sleep helped a lot, but you can only sleep so many hours a day, especially with the whole job thing. I went to a doctor to see if it was maybe some Chernobyl strep throat, but after a swab, he said it was viral. As of today, I’m slowly getting better, but it’s not done yet. I had to cancel a date on Friday which really, really pissed me off, and on Thursday I thought it would be even money that I’d have to cancel the whole trip and spend the week in bed.

So I was sick, and to add to that the fact that organizing anything with my family is like trying to organize a labor dispute between the Teamsters and the WTO or something, and every 7 seconds, I was getting another phone call from another random person wanting to know the obvious. And then, to spice up the whole thing even more, it started snowing.

First, let me say that New Yorkers are horrible when it comes to snow. Yesterday, the stuff was barely coming down, and the ground had the consistency of a Slurpee you left in your car for a few hours in July, and people are running to the grocery store to buy like ten loaves of bread and a few gallons of milk. Why do people buy so much bread and milk? How much do you go through in a weekend? Are they starting a bootleg french toast restaurant? You’d think these Atkins-obsessed health freaks would be buying power bars and backs of bacon or something. Anyway, the stuff was barely dusting down, and people were abandoning their Hummer H2s on Houston or something because they were “snowed in.” Anyway, all day people were giving me shit about how I would miss my flight, and I ignored them, or at least tried to.

I woke up this morning: flight cancelled. I spent about an hour on hold with Delta, hoping they wouldn’t pull some bullshit and say my ticket would not be reassignable and I’d have to pay $27,000 for a new ticket to leave within the next month. Finally, I got an agent, and she was nice enough to push me to a flight that left at 7:00 tonight. So I was happy, it didn’t cost anything, and I went back to bed.

So I woke up at about 2:00, and guess what? That flight got cancelled too. After another hour on hold, I ended up getting on the first flight back I could get, which is… MONDAY. So I get two days trimmed from the vacation, and we have to reschedule christmas, maybe to Wednesday. On the plus side, I get to hide in my apartment and have some time alone to get over this death sickness, and maybe if I feel better, I can reschedule the date for tomorrow.

BTW, the whole low-sodium new diet thing did not work out. It’s impossible to keep on any kind of diet when you’re sick and all you want to eat is soup and grilled cheese. I’ve been reading more about low sodium stuff, and it’s all very depressing. It’s amazing how so much stuff can have sodium in it, even if you don’t know it. I’ll worry more about this when I get back from this trip.

OK, now it’s time to relax…

[Also, please ignore my stupid advice and get a flu shot.]