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So, if you haven’t had this year’s version of the flu yet, get ready. It’s called Influenza A (H3N2) or, as I prefer to call it, the worst thing that I’ve ever experienced. And, that includes an allergic reaction to inoculation (malaria symptoms for 2 weeks), passing several kidney stones over the last three decades and getting shot!

According to NBC News, “Every state is reporting influenza outbreaks, and it looks a little worse than last year’s relatively mild season looked at this point, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” Gee, after 8 days of this plague, that seems a lot like a massive understatement.

Now, I’ve had the flu before but, this crud will make you sit up and take notice. Or, I should say, lay down, curl up in fetal position, moan like a big ‘ol wuss and, ride the wave. And, it comes in waves let me tell ya! Just when you think you’ve turned the corner, H3N2A smacks you back down again. I was raised to “suck it up” and “walk it off” but, this bugger don’t play that! The CDC adds, “This particular strain seems to make people sicker. If H3N2 viruses continue to circulate widely, older adults and young children may be more severely impacted.” Amen, brothers, amen!

My wife and, I spent the entire weekend curled up in bed together, drinking Gatorade, eating Jello and Ramen Noodles—you know—like when we were newly-weds! Except, there was nothing romantic about helping each other up to the bathroom and then staggering back to bed, to pass back out and wait for the next round.

I guess 37 years of marriage does make the heart grow fonder because you’ve got to really love someone to see the dark side of not taking a shower for a couple of days! But, when you can’t stand up for more than a few seconds, without keeling over, or, can’t stand the touch of water on sensitive skin–YIKES!

The CDC adds that “flu is rarely an emergency but doctors say to get kids to an emergency room fast if they have these symptoms: fast breathing or trouble breathing, bluish skin, dehydration, or if they cannot be awakened.” And guys, all levity aside, if the little guy or gal has these symptoms don’t mess around with this stuff! They’ve got to stay hydrated or risk a blood pressure drop than can be serious!

My saga started Saturday morning with a dull headache and a weird feeling in my throat and chest. By Sunday night, I was having trouble breathing, pressure in both the chest and abdomen, dizziness, nausea and severe cramping in my kidneys. One trip to the ER later and, the good news was that it was PROBABLY just the flu, so, bedrest and plenty of liquids. That was the only good news for the next 7 days!

The CDC also warns that this particular strain is “especially dangerous… if people have flu-like symptoms, seem to get better, and then symptoms return. That could indicate a second infection and needs quick treatment.” Thank you CDC for the summary. So, dear readers, two observations. First, don’t mess with this strain. It’s not your everyday bug!

Second, I’ve always passed on the annual flu shot because getting a dose that only addresses maybe four of the millions of possible genetic A, B and C variations with “A” being the most difficult to crack seemed like winning the lottery. However, after I get over this crud, I’m going to suck it up and spin that wheel!

Pat Merriman is the Dunn County State Attorney. He is a photographer and also officiates high school and college athletics events in the area.


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