Flu season

Husband sneezes five times in a row, and I cringe at the forceful outbursts. They’re so loud I want to cup my palms to my ears. This might be the start of something, and I make a beeline for the kitchen, heading straight for my box of Emergen-C. And do I have enough Fighting Five to slather on the bottoms of my feet tonight, just in case? Husband scoffs at Thieves Oil, but I know better.

We’ve made it so far, so good this flu season. His sneezing done for now, Husband reads me an article online.

“There’s a new killer Aussie flu,” he says with the same emotion as when he tells me he’s heading out to shovel snow. “They’re calling it H3N2.”

I furrow my brow, remembering the H1N1 flu and how it gained traction in the United States—and in our house—eight years ago.

“I’m too sick to drive you to school,” I had said to Flicka, my third grader, one day in early June of 2009.

She was sick too, it turned out, and so was Ricka, my second grader. We languished on our beds for a while, the girls missing their last two days of school before summer break that year. Preschooler Dicka would’ve been there with us too, of course, but my sickness had muffled my memories of her.

When we visited the doctor, he informed us we most likely had H1N1, the Swine Flu. Right on cue, and despite her fever, Ricka made a joke about Miss Piggy.

“So what about this new thing? This H3N2?” I say now. “How bad?”

“You might not make it,” Husband says, his eyes sparkling with humor, “because you’re weak.”

I toss him a look. “Hey, what about you?”

“I’ll be fine, because I’m constantly testing the boundaries of my genetic capabilities.”


I was hardy and generally healthy, except for when I contracted Scarlet Fever last spring.

“Didn’t Beth in Little Women die from that?” I asked the doctor.

“Maybe?” She shrugged, then patted my arm. “But you’ll make it.”

Since the recovery from my archaic-sounding illness, I hadn’t suffered even a sniffle.

Husband unleashes another series of sneezes so violent I’m afraid he’ll shake his brain loose.

Who’s the weak one now?


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*Names in this blog have been changed to protect my family, neighbors, and friends in the neighborhood, and in a nod of appreciation to the beloved Swedish author Maj Lindman, I’ve renamed my three blondies Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka.