jeanine fritz

'I t's the worst cold and flu season in a decade!" whines the Center for Disease Control, as my co-workers, friends and everyone else in the world are between hacking coughs.

This girl's been sick for about three weeks now, although there's a wild theory floating around (by my doctor) that I was sick, and recovered, and then promptly got the my-head-is-filled-with-cooties-and-the-devil disease again. Twice. (I've GOT to stop licking that damn buffalo at Pearl Street Pub.)

Having watery shit dribble out your eyes and nose wouldn't be notable really, except I never get sick.

Scratch that: I don't fall prey to normal human illnesses. I don't get colds, I never barf, I haven't broken a bone...I've never even been stung by a bee. Instead, I get hives from my feet to my forehead, surprise deafness and weeklong I'm-a-pretty-lady bouts of mud butt.

So when I first got the sniffles, I thought they were kinda cute. I busted out a box of Kleenex, set it on the coffee table and smiled at it. "Maybe I should get some cough drops, too?!" I whispered to my new couch blanket.

By the weekend, there was no doubt: I was sick. Still, I had fun with it for a little while. Unshowered and in stupid elf pajamas, sipping DayQuil and dabbing at my nose, I lay on the couch alternating between episodes of "Poirot" and "Justified." (Belgian detectives plus cowboy-hat-clad U.S. marshals = two great tastes together at last!)

I ordered food from my phone and when the lady delivered my calzones (one for lunch and one for dinner), I didn't bother to fix the previous night's ponytail, which had slid down and was lounging behind my right ear, flat and pressed against my head.

"It's okay to rock a side ponytail," I told myself. "Plus, sick bitches don't do their hair."

That soon turned out to be true. By Sunday morning, my bones ached, my head throbbed, and my nose was rubbed raw from Kleenex. That whole "I'm too sick to fix my hair!" quickly devolved into "I'm too sick to shower today again, get up for more than five seconds without falling over, or even properly whine because now I've lost my voice."

Sunday night I started to feel better and began eyeing the shower and imagining which sweats I could pull off at work the next day. But at 6 a.m., I woke up to all the previous aches and pains, plus mud butt. I called in sick.

Tuesday, I figured I could take a shower without slipping old lady-style and busting my head open, but I had a new problem: the cute, Friday night ponytail that had devolved over the weekend from '80s-style sideways to a weird little Thomas Jefferson-style nubbin, had gnarled itself into one massive dread.

I doused my head in conditioner and let that soak in while I went to work slashing and burning the forest that sprung up on my leg and underarm regions. I teetered into work, mouth-breathing and sniffling and trying not to touch anyone.

Then I snapped and went to Urgent Care Wednesday.

After waiting a full hour, the doctor announced I'd waited too long for him to do anything about shortening the illness. In medical terms: I could jam it. I wandered back to work with a Band-Aid on my arm, a gag reflex from the strep test and instructions to drink lots of black tea.

I'm now busy hacking up the evil that was inside me and I think I'm finally getting better. I guess the take-away here for me is while it was fun to be sick for a little while like a real girl, I think I'd rather have hives again.