Wednesday, August 19, 2009

And then she had the flu...

No. Not me. Not right now. But there was a time, and a place, when I knew a girl who did. Like all mythic (and somewhat unbelievable... but ultimately true) New Jersey folklore, this one is for the annals of flu history!
Forget about 1918, The Great Scourge has nothing on my cousin's best friend Maggie. To borrow a line from Golden Girls, "picture it!" Red Bank, the winter of 2007...

At the time, Maggie was still a full-time student at Rutgers University. It was her third year, it was her hardest year, and it was finals-season. So, naturally, the girl was run-down. She was low-down, and she was packed into trains, lecture halls, and (industrial-sized) dining halls like a sardine bathed in germy, wintery misery. And with the first flakes of snow, Maggie's immune system tanked into the red. The girl had the flu.

And for any readers out there who didn't have the flu in 2007, it was *not* a good year.

"The aching," she said. "The aching was more than I could take. A good puke now and then... tolerable, understandable. But my body hurt too much to leave my bed for five days, straight. Finally, my boyfriend mustered the courage to visit me on what felt like my deathbed, only to flee in terror. I didn't know I looked that bad. Long story short, I had to reschedule three final exams, quarantine myself away from friends and family, and miss the biggest Christmas party of the season. A few of my friends got me those germ stuffed animals; The Black Plague. I felt really good about myself."

So, friends, how can you avoid this hideous fate? Get a flu shot! I know what you're thinking... "Worldbloc, it's August! You need to relax!" Oh, but how can I, after Maggie? How can any of us really rest assured, knowing that flu season is encroaching on our joyous summer days, lurking in the shorter days, just around the corner?

Officially, flu season doesn't kickoff for a couple of months, but the prudent student, parent, and human being know when to sign up for their dose of misery protection. (That time is now, folks!) And to make it all the better, Passport Health of New Jersey is now offering preservative-free flu vaccine. So call up your ol' friends at Passport Health @ (732) 345-0029, and tell them you don't want the Maggie's this year.

You'll be so glad you did...