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The Flu Test

I rocked a fever above 101 all day yesterday. No runny nose. Just felt like someone had taken a baseball bat to my lower back. Amazewife went to work at about 5:30 and kept in touch. When she wasn’t talking people down from suicide  or helping parents not beat their children, she was googling flu cases in Omaha.

Google + illnesses = sadness.

I guess there have been hundreds of cases of the flu in Omaha, and that’s just from people getting tested. She texted me later.

“I nawt YOU To tedtes maƱana.”

Spanish? What the heck? Then I realized I had one eye open and my vision was crooked.

I took my temp. 103.1.  

I'm not as cute as this baby.

I’m so not as cute as that baby. That’s just our thermometer.

I put the thermometer down and read the text again.

“I want you to get tested.”

Tested? For what? Oh yeah, the flu. I asked her for the address of the clinic in question. Turns out she had already called and found out they still had flu tests.

Told you. Amazing, isn’t she?

I updated her on my temperature.

“Maybe you should drop the kids off and go tonight,” she responded.

I promised I would go today (Sunday) since I had already sent our naughty Princesses to bed during a fit of feverish, yet righteous father-anger. And what is a flu test anyway? My imagination kicked in. Maybe it was a blood test. Perhaps they would have me sneeze on a Petri dish. Or maybe they would put me in a room with dozens of fuzzy baby bunnies and count how many times they sneezed. Please let it be that one.

I went to bed about 11:30. I didn’t say I went to sleep. I just went to bed. I slept. Kind of. I woke up every hour on the hour. Sometimes I was sweaty. Sometimes I was freezing. Sometimes I just had to go potty, was sweaty and freezing.

8:00 rolled around. I got up and stumbled around the house for a few minutes. Then I showered, got dressed, wandered aimless looking for my keys, and bid my wife and kids adieu as they headed to church.

The thought crossed my mind on the way to the car that I wasn’t very fit to drive. I dismissed it.

I got in the car and fired up all 4 1/2 cylinders of Taurus might. I looked up and saw nothing but frost on the windshield. Not to worry! I looked in the passenger side foot storage bin (or whatever they call it) and grabbed the scraper. A few laps around the outside and I was done. After that, It’s a blur. There are 90 seconds where I might have blacked out. Stared. Drooled maybe. I came to and headed out.

I got to the clinic and was the second one there. They moved me through check-in post haste.

I checked the air for the smell of rabbit feces and straw. No such luck. I tried to peek into the back of the clinic for Petri dishes. I didn’t see any. I don’t know what kind of a clinic doesn’t just store their Petri dishes where feverish patients can find them. Supply and demand, people.

The nurse took my height, fatness and temp measurements.

“99.1,” she said after taking my temperature.

Well that’s just simply not true, I thought. But I didn’t want to be that guy. “Could you test the other ear?” Yeah no. Lame.

She got me set up in an exam room and I met the doctor. She looked me over. She asked about my symptoms. She listened to me breathe for a while. She felt my lymph nodes.

“We are going to flu test you,” she said. She moved to the computer.

“Well, if it has anything to do with dancing, I might be in bad shape,” I said. I was trying to be cute. I was secret in my bunny wishes.

“Oh,” she said. She raised her eyebrows and turned from the computer screen. “It might make you dance. It’s a cotton swab up both nostrils. It’s pretty uncomfortable.”

She left. I drew my phone like a six-shooter and hit Google. What I found were pictures like this:

This (note the garb of the physician):

And this.

I readied myself. That swab in the middle picture seemed to be pretty far back there. I didn’t know if it would hurt. My sinuses felt fine.

The nurse came back in just as I was blowing my nose.

“Don’t blow your nose any more!” she said. She was smiling, but stern.I apologized and sat up on the table.

She got down to business. First, she doused the swab in oil. Then she ran it through glass shavings. Then she lit it on fire. Then she shoved it in my nose.


Exhibit F for FIRE, people. It hurt so bad. I was afraid something was broken. My nose started running. I checked for blood.

She reminded me that the test would take 15 minutes to complete. I thanked her between sobs. She asked me why I was on the floor. I apologized and said it must be the fever. She shrugged.

“Happens more than you’d think,” she said.

Time went by fast. The flu test came back negative. My nose didn’t hurt anymore. The doctor told me it was something viral and I was on bed rest until it cleared. She told me it might take till Friday.

Here I feel it important to remind you that I’m killing my debt. I’m a busy guy. I had to call in both Friday and Saturday. I have a 102+ fever right now, so that’s a full day of work tomorrow and deliveries tomorrow night that I will be missing out on. But you know what? I’m glad I got tested. It was worth every microsecond of searing, terrible, INTENSE pain.



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