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Everything King: Friends are not doctors, but they do play them on Facebook

Wendy got the plague

Heads up, everyone. Or maybe keep them down – this is flu season!  

How do I know this? I am now on the sixth week of the bubonic plague. I diagnosed myself. I did exactly what any sane person is never supposed to do – I Googled my symptoms.

Okay, so maybe it's not the plague, but it well could have been. Of course, every single disease sounds like the flu – aches, congestion, sweats, chills, nausea, coughing, trouble breathing – you name it. Even my hair hurt.

I noticed a few things during this illness due to too much time on the couch in introspection.

I am a lousy patient! I react much like a cat curling up in a dark corner of the house and wanting to be alone while at the same time wanting someone to show up with Molly Maid, a massage therapist and some chicken soup. I don't want to talk but I don't want to be ignored. I wanted to be treated like my 10-year-old self when my mom would cut my toast into "fingers" and poach me an egg.

Yet, I wanted to see and speak to nobody. If someone did call, I just cried at them. Then, I thought about all the people in the world who are really sick and in great pain and who are always praised for being "positive and never complaining". Wow, I thought. That will never be me. I will be complaining on the way to the crematorium that I am too hot.

Next, I noticed that many of my friends are not doctors, but they do play them on Facebook. Hear me when I say, "I appreciated every single wish and message and suggestion on how to feel better." I really, truly did. However, there were a few that didn't really help at the time.

"My aunt, cousin, boss had the exact same thing and never recovered."

"I had that and you're looking at a good 10 weeks before you feel better and then it will come back."

"You definitely have double pneumonia" (Guess I jumped right past single pneumonia and the boogy woogie flu)

"I think it's Legionnaires Disease" (Actually, so did I)

"You need (insert herbal medicine list) here."

I absolutely did take a lot of the advice but it's just that there was so much of it!!

When I was finally brow-beaten into going to the doctor, I was three weeks in. In my defence, I was too sick to drive myself there, figure out the stupid parking machine, walk a mile into the office and then infect everyone else there. I could see the looks of disgust as I sat there with a coughing fit. No one likes a sick person especially at the doctor's office. Plus, if I was dying (which I was sure I was), I was just stubborn enough not to spend my last $9 on the overly pricey parking lot of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie.

Once there, though, I had two nice young medical residents check me out. So many questions.

"Do you feel weak, achy, dizzy, congested?" Check, check, check, check.   

Then, I told him how I had taken some over-the-counter medication that made me all panicky and nervous.

"That was likely an antihistamine that you reacted to," he suggested. 

"You would think a warning about making you loopy would be printed on the box somewhere," I retorted.

Then came the bad news.  

"I think its viral," the doctor said

"Is that the one where you can't help me? I needed this to be bacterial, didn't I?"

"Yeah, afraid so,"  he nodded. "No drug is going to help. Just time."

"It's okay. I can sleep standing up like a horse for a few more nights, I suppose." (At least, my humour was returning)

I paid my debt to the parking meter and went home the same way I'd come in except with an assurance I "likely" was not dying but "if you get worse, feel free to come back."

I know I was sick because I was disinterested in everything. When people dangle the promise of "bacon" or "coffee" or "shopping" and I don't bite, it's a sad situation. I could barely raise my head when the sound of "Breaking News" came on CNN. Whatever this was, I would not have wished it on my worst enemy and I can't stand my worst enemy!

Actually, my point in telling you all this is just to remind you that the old adage that "without your health, you have nothing" is so incredibly true. I want to remember how bad and sad I felt so I will also remember to take better care of myself. That's a good lesson for all of us. We forget on all those glorious days when we can breathe freely and move pain free just how lucky we are.

While I have promised not to offer unsolicited advice to others about their health, I do offer one helpful tip.

Try whiskey! A little whiskey and ginger ale – maybe a dash of honey – seemed to go down well. I don't know that it had any magic powers, but I cared less about the pain and got the giggles.

Here's to health!