I am currently not wearing my happy face. In fact, I am a "poorly soldier," as my mother would say when I was a little lad.
Generally speaking, I love three-day weekends, but not this one, because I spent the entire time in bed.
It seems as though, whenever I travel somewhere by plane these days, I end up catching some form of the dreaded lurgy. Last week, I was presenting at ESC Brazil. As soon as my final presentation ended at 6:15 p.m. on Wednesday, I hopped in a taxi and raced for the airport.
While queuing at the Delta check-in desk, and later at the security desk, I noticed a family with a girl about eight years old who was coughing furiously and continuously. "Please, not on my flight," I thought. Guess what? The fates decreed that my plea would go unanswered (or maybe the answer was "Tough luck").
So we flew through the night in our aluminum sky tube. I arrived home on Thursday morning feeling a little tired, but not too bad. By Friday evening, however, I was starting to feel really grotty. (By some strange quirk of fate, this would be just after all the doctors' offices closed down for the holiday weekend.)
By Saturday morning, I was not in good shape. I had a raging headache, a red-raw throat, and a deep, robust cough sounding like an old man who smokes 60 cigarettes a day.
This morning, I stopped off at my doctor's office on the way into work. I was standing at the door looking pitiful when the doctor opened up shop. (My pitiful look is one of a full set my father taught me when I was a young man, and it has served me well over the years.) Even though I didn't have an appointment, my look of woe and despair was sufficient to persuade them to slip me in.
First, they drew blood to check my white blood cell count, and then they swabbed the back of my throat to check for strep (streptococcal pharyngitis). This was not as much fun as it sounds for any of us, because I pride myself on having one of the best gag reflexes on the planet. Hey, I take good news wherever I can get it.
I have bronchitis, and I am highly contagious, which may explain why my wife and mother-in-law (who is visiting for the Labor Day weekend) are now coughing furiously, too. Suffice it to say that the radiance of my wife's smile no longer brightens my life, and let's not even talk about the expression on my mother-in-law's face. I think I'll sleep at the office tonight.
Now I come to think about it, it seems that I've crashed and burned health-wise every time I've flown anywhere recently, either on the outward journey or on my return.
I'm peering at my computer screen through watery eyes with a runny nose and a cough that says "Keep Away" in any language.
It's not like I'm constantly jet-setting around the globe, but I have to travel sometimes. Are there any precautions I can take to keep this from happening in the future?
— Max Maxfield, Editor of All Things Fun & Interesting