[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/HEALTH/02/05/birdflu.virus/art.chickens.gi.jpg caption="Human-to-human transmission of avian flu is rare, but in some cases, the virus has passed from poultry to humans. There's a good chance Jack has confused bird flu with the common cold."]
AC360° Associate Producer
There is nothing worse than a drama queen. A thought that came to me as I lay in bed this morning clinging to life. You see, I am suffering from bird flu. All the signs are there. Headache, sore throat, runny nose. Definitely bird flu.
Have no fear, though, I am getting medical treatment. In fact, I did what anyone with nasal congestion should do: I called my doctor at 3am. Unfortunately, there must have been a problem with the phone line because as soon as I said, “Hi Doc, I’ve been coughing all night, I’ll need you to phone me in a prescription for twenty-five Vicodin,” I heard a dial tone.
So, today, I experience that grandest of American traditions: the sick day. The concept being that, by staying home, I will recuperate faster and my co-workers will be spared from catching what I have…in this case, bird flu.
But, as we all know, no one at work ever believes you’re sick. You could be at home in an iron lung and your colleagues would still be walking around the office saying, “Did you hear about Jack? Yeah, he took a (makes quote marks with their hands) sick day.”
And the thing about being sick in New York is no one cares. Seriously. No one. Not my mailman. Not Susan Sarandon. Definitely not my dog. I got a text message from her that read “If you say you’re sick as a dog one more time I will end you.”
Naturally, I find this lack of humanity entirely unacceptable. As I wobble over to CVS to pick up whatever generic brand over-the-counter horse tranquilizers are on sale I am appalled to see my fellow New Yorkers going about their daily lives as if my suffering hasn’t affected them at all. I look them in the eyes, ready to accept their unsolicited offers of Kleenex and Bouillabaisse. But they just walk by, rushing with the unmistakable urgency of people who are late for yoga.
I consider my other options. I live near one of the world’s most famous supermodels. Surely she will be sympathetic and nurse me back to health. Especially when I tell her that my plane just went down in the Hudson.
“Maybe it’s the bird flu talking,” I will say as she spoon-feeds me Robitussin, “but I think the time has come for us to have octuplets.”
But before I do anything, I call my sister, Rose. She tells me to stop complaining and to be grateful I even have a job in this economic downturn. Let alone a job that will pay me when I’m sick. Something about millions of Americans who have recently been laid off and millions more who don’t have health insurance.
I try to explain to her that they are the ones who should be grateful. Grateful they don’t have bird flu.
But she stands her ground, arguing that that we must not lose perspective on how dire the financial and employment situation has become all across America.
What can I say? That’s my sister for you. Completely missing the point about my bird flu.
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