Midwestern friendliness and the flu

A few days ago, I came down with a mild case of what I conclude is the flu. A little headachy, slight body aches, fever that progressed daily from 99.4° to 101.4° to 100.8° to normal today, and a general blah feeling. With my Internet connection, I was comfortable at home, keeping in touch with family and friends via facebook and email. I got a lot of sympathy and good advice.

This morning, my pastor, Kai Nilsen, called to alert me that he was stopping by in a few minutes to drop off some chicken soup and a bagel for me (and he’s not even Jewish!). Kai and his family have become good friends of mine, but I really am not accustomed to church pastors making house calls! I took advantage of the sunny 60° day and went outside to meet Kai. I thanked him for the soup and the bagel – but neglected to thank him for the gifts of his kindness and friendship – and explained I didn’t want to risk giving him the flu, so didn’t give him my traditional hug or invite him in to my virus-laden home. I did say that I was floored by the fact that I had received a house call from my pastor – on his day off – and would be posting the fact on facebook.

Kai’s visit ranks way up there in my book, on a par with my having personally been cooked dinner and served by then-Governor Kathleen Sebelius in her Kansas Governor’s Residence. I’ve told all my family and friends around the world that my life in Ohio is distinguished by the genuine friendliness of people here. Today’s experience is another example of that friendliness.

This is the first time I’ve had the flu since 1988. I’ve been good at getting my seasonal flu shots each fall. I also take Chinese Yin Qiao Jie Du Pian herbal cold pills at the first sign of a sniffle. Despite these precautions, I got the flu – or maybe because of these precautions, my flu was mild. Or perhaps the mildness the result of the midwestern friendliness that I’ve been so blessed with.

In any case, I recalled and stuck by my doctors’ old advice for the flu: “Stay in bed for 3 days. You may feel better the second day and want to go to work. If you do, you’ll relapse and be in bed for 2 weeks.” So I stayed home, drank plenty of fluids, including my Mom’s new recommendation: honey and cinnamon in hot water (I used hot green tea, taking advantage of another friend’s recommendation). I feel almost completely normal now – and very blessed. Still, I’m going to limit my contact with others for the next couple of days to be sure I don’t spread any lingering virus particles.

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