Vicious bug could be flu or maybe just a bad cold

Duane Dailey

Bug alert! Stay away from sick friends.

The Sunday morning paper’s top story reports it’s too early to know if this year’s flu vaccine failed. We have more cases, early, it says.

Friday before Christmas I came down with something. It seemed to have all symptoms of flu. After four awful days over a holiday weekend, I self- diagnosed flu.

I wasn’t about ready to die, just close. So I didn’t go to the hospital ER. When I finally saw my internist, his diagnosis was: “It’s something going around.”

The patient ahead of me had the bug. He was better with words than I am. He said it felt like he’d been “hit by a truck.”

I said that every bone, muscle and joint ached. Plus I had a deep cough and my nose flowed like a faucet. Messy me.

My doctor agreed it sounded like flu. But he’d had flu tests run on prior patients. Tests showed: “Not flu.”

Doc told of strong over-the-counter pills. Compared to Rx drugs they were cheap. They worked. Even better, he prescribed Rx cough syrup with codeine. Who says opioids are bad? After the first dose, coughing stopped. Then, I slept all afternoon. Night-after-night of coughing and sleeplessness wore me out.

After the evening dose, I slept through the night. At my age, sleeping through the night is rare. Nature calls. Who says opioids are bad?

After constant coughing stopped, I quit the happy juice. I’ll save that bottle of syrup for the next coughing jag. Codeine is powerful, a miracle drug.

I’ve had big painkillers after surgery. I’m sent away with big bottles of powerful opioids. I recall after heart surgery I knew I didn’t need pain pills. That is until the hospital meds wore off. I was wrong, big time.

I needed them for about three days. After that, I wanted to get off the goofy pills. I wanted my brain back.

I’ve been told by two doctors that I have high tolerance for pain. I think that I learned that as a farm boy. Working for dad, there were no “sick days.”

Chickens, pigs and calves had to be fed. Eggs were gathered. The milk cow was milked. Chores didn’t stop.

I was lucky that only one accident got medical attention. Now, I recall it was mom who took me to the doctor. That Doc gave a pain shot, a stitch and a bandage. No opioids. When Dad got home, he thought that wound wasn’t worthy of a doctor visit.

His unwritten rule: “Suck it up and keep going.

In recent years, some of us who grew up together realize our parents would be arrested for neglect today. What would happen to parents if a group of young teen boys went hunting all afternoon with no idea of where or for how long? We were armed with 22 rifles.

There was not a lot of shooting. Boys knew 22 caliber shells cost lots of money, maybe 50 cents a box. However, we could bring back rabbit or squirrel for supper.

The bug this year affects different people different ways. Symptoms vary; but length of recovery remains about three weeks. If it’s flu, it’s a virus that antibiotic can’t touch. A cold microbe might respond.

If antibiotic is used, that’s not three or four pills. It takes a bottle of pills. Taking partial doses only creates stronger strains. Flu virus evolves continually into something new. That may defeat flu tests.

Farmers learned, the hard way, about not using enough herbicides. Weeds that escape become resistant to chemicals. Use of glyphosate year after year built powerful resistant weeds. Resistant weed populations explode.

Last year dicamba proved a super killer of tough weeds. But, serious side effects damaged plants far beyond known drift patterns.

The warning “read the label and follow directions” means more. Untrained spraying becomes hugely expensive.

Contact or 511 W. Worley, Columbia, Mo., 65203.