The Sick Diaries

Sorry, I missed you last week. Influenza A closed down our household with such sudden nastiness that I found myself both without a column and without the energy to write one. My feeble attempts at writing a message all started sounding like a note a dying man would scrawl out with his last strength. Something like, “Alas, the end is near now. I hoped to accomplish so much more.” To your great benefit, dear readers, I gave that up and went to bed.

The official flu bug hit us last Tuesday evening. As soon as I got home from work (and a meeting of my volunteer board of directors whom I exposed to the sickness – my bad!), I felt the “I may be getting sick” blahs coming on and a temperature of 99.5 clinched it. My dear wife came home early the next day having already stopped to get checked and had come up positive for the flu.

At her suggestion, I crawled into our friendly local Indiana Health Center behind the Save-a-Lot to get swabbed for Influenza A. I expected maybe a little pressure that one would scarcely even feel as they rub a Q-tip in your mouth, but no. The Influenza swab is a little wire brush that they stick in your nose until they see a bump on the top of your head (I may be exaggerating a bit). I believe the procedure is closer to a stab than a swab. But I’m whining again.

Whining is a skill I already possessed, but the near week of illness really helped me up my game. The whimpering and complaining was really a wasted effort, though, as my poor little wife was suffering next to me the entire time. She couldn’t be convinced to help much. Whoever was feeling the least sick between us would scrape up some sort of sustenance to keep us going. Dear friends offered to help but we preferred a quarantine so we didn’t share any more of this flu joy.

Now, as much as I like to make light of my situation, influenza can be very dangerous especially to the old (like me), folks already weak from some other illness, and our precious children. The flu is not a joke. We lost a local resident to complications this week.

Both my wife and I had the “flu shot” which is designed to fight off the most widely expected strains of the disease, but it doesn’t prevent infection by the virus in every case. By preparing our bodies with the vaccine, we likely suffered symptoms at a less severe level and were less contagious than without the shot. Get your flu shot every year if you are able.

As county historian Tony Neff shared in his Owen County Bicentennial article a few weeks ago, our community was stricken with the “Spanish Flu” in 1918. U.S. deaths were 675,000 and around 20 million souls were lost worldwide. So clearly this is a serious topic and our hearts go out to those who have suffered.

The real frustration of being out of commission with a bug like this is you don’t really get to enjoy your down time. Five days alone at home with my best buddy would normally be a joyous experience, but during this time together we just got by. An occasional weak wave from across the room was all the real interaction we had for a couple of the worst days.

And what’s with the horror of TV viewing options through the day. Twenty-four hour news is really thirty minutes of news repeated ad nauseam. And I mean the ad nauseam literally here. All those half-hour home and garden shows are ten minutes of footage cut up and re-edited to fill the time. Lifetime network has the corner on one movie script – one very bad script – that is played by different characters over and over to fill their entire schedule. The only thing that saved us was a very good lawyer we know. We watched hours of recorded Perry Mason episodes. In my delirium I actually burst out with a couple of murder confessions because Perry’s questioning just broke me down.

We lived to tell our flu tale thank goodness. After a sick week we started cleaning up the sick room and getting back to our regular routines. Unfortunately I did infect my two coworkers so this week I manned the office while they recovered at home. I was glad to get back to work this week even though my first visitor covered his face and dropped a donation on my desk and left without taking a breath in my office. The second visitor came in armed with Lysol and led her entry with a cloud of the sickening sweet spray. I’m clean. Really. You can visit us here again any time.

Here’s to a healthy remainder of winter. Can’t wait for spring!

Your Owen County Community Foundation is committed to helping our communities become better places to live, grow, and work. We value community involvement and a charitable spirit. We provide grants to support a healthy Owen County.

If you’d like to learn more about this local charity, give me a call at 812-829-1725, email me at, visit us online at, of stop by and visit us in person at our new office on the south side of the Courthouse Square in Spencer at 60 E. Market Street.

Be sure and mark your calendars and join us as we celebrate our 25th birthday on Saturday, February 16th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. We are asking each guest to bring an item of food to donate to the Backpack Buddies program at the Spencer – Owen Community Schools. Here a list of Backpack Buddies requests:

1.       Small carton of peanut butter or cheese crackers

2.       Fruit cup, fruit snacks

3.       Pull tab topped pasta meals (Spaghetti-O’s, Ravioli, etc.)

4.       Juice boxes

5.       Granola bars

6.       Boxed Saltine, Ritz

7.       Microwave popcorn

8.       Single serving cereal

9.       Shelf-stable single serving white or chocolate milk

10.   Empty grocery bags (Babbs, Walmart, etc.)

We hope you can join us to help celebrate our first 25 years of service to our donors and to the community.