By: Marlene Ratledge Buchanen | Gwinnett Citizen
By: Marlene Ratledge Buchanen | Gwinnett Citizen
Marlene Ratledge Buchanen

We have been in a nightmare. We have all had the flu, but Snell was harder than James or me. The doctor told us that the flu shot helped about 10-20% of the people who took it, but this strain that is so powerful wasn’t fazed by the inoculation. I know some people who have had this mess, and it has been devastating. 

You just don’t recover promptly. Even when you are through with the fever and chills a cough lingers, and so does the weakness. It is the inability to regain strength that is giving so many people I know such trouble. They are weak and susceptible to the next bug that comes around. 

My cousin’s wife was in the hospital with the flu for several days because she had to have IVs. The doctor said it was more dangerous in the hospital than at home. You had to wear a mask to come to her floor on the hospital. 

Emergency rooms have been trying to segregate the flu victims from the other illnesses and emergencies coming in for help. Lamar Rutledge was brought in for a stroke and his sons Randy and Barry said the ER waiting room was so crowded with flu patients that they had to go outside and stand. That was probably the best thing they could do. At least they were farther away from the flu germs.
 
Snell rarely gets sick. When he does, he is the worst patient ever. If he were not so sick, I probably would knock a knot on his head. He doesn’t want anything. He doesn’t want anyone around him. He doesn’t want to eat or be spoken to. He doesn’t know that I about to hit him over the head with a bowl of chicken soup. He has lost at least six or seven pounds, and he just doesn’t have the extra fat to lose. 
 

I took him back to Dr. Dronavalli. Snell got an inhaler, more cough meds, and a different antibiotic. He was still running a temperature of 102 last night. I think this is as sick as I have ever known him to be and he has been really sick once or twice before. 

I thought he was dead one night when I couldn’t wake him. He didn’t appear to be breathing. I touched him because he can’t hear me without his hearing aids. He was cold, clammy and didn’t stir. When he has a fever, his eyes don’t completely shut.
 
Think about this. Still, cold, unresponsive, eyes needing pennies. What would you think? I was about to dive in and pull him back from “The Light.” He isn’t going down that tunnel if I can help it.

When I finally shook him enough to open his eyes and look at me, I let out a surprised yelp. That woke James up and he came running. “What’s the matter, Mom? Are you okay?” It is nice to know that I have a scream that can be differentiated from the “spider scream.” This one is “You’re Daddy’s dead” scream.

I said in a shaky breath “Your Daddy is alive.” 

He just went “Okay. I am going back to bed.” 

When the time comes to collect that life insurance policy, I swear I will have earned every penny.