Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Flu Game, McNoogin Style

Back in 1997, Michale Jordan, played what has become known as The Flu Game.  He played 44 minutes, of a 48 minute playoff game (game 5, Utah Jazz).  He scored 38 points that night.  The amazing part is that he did this with the flu.  He was dehydrated, had a fever and could barely walk.  He was fed IV fluids during half time, had to be helped off the court and, when it ended, he collapsed from exhaustion.

Anyone who ever questioned the legend status of Michael Jordan, need look no further than this single game as proof of his insane skills and desire to win.

Well, this past week, I made the weak ass motherfucker look like a schoolgirl.

As we all know, today is April 17th.  Tax day.  Deadline day.  The culmination of the worst 2 months of my life.  Until September and October when I do it all over again.

Well, this year was one for the ages. 

So, for starters, for reasons unknown, I was behind in my work.  It could have been a result of my taking an ill advised trip to Universal Studios with the kids but the vacation was a blast so I figured it was worth it.

I'm working my tail off, doing my usual late nights, weekends etc and then, a week ago, my wife takes the kids and heads to Florida.  They have a school break and there's no point in staying home so off they went. 

This was Saturday.

By Monday, I was near dead.

Let me backtrack a bit.  For those not in the know, back in October, my dad wound up in the hospital with pneumonia.  He had this horrific cough and one day he simply couldn't get out of bed.  Fever, cough etc.  Off to the hospital he went.  And there he stayed.  For two weeks. 

So, this time around, I'm overly aware of how late he's working.  During this time, one of my tenants, Rashmi, is walking around hacking and coughing and complaining of a fever.  Come Sunday, the day after my wife and kids left, I'm alone in the office, with Typhoid Rashmi in his office, coughing away.  As he's walking by my office, I mention that he should see a doctor and he says he has, it's nothing to worry about.

Then he goes home.  Says the fever is making it hard to work.


Monday rolls around and I'm feeling great.  Starting to make serious headway with the taxes.  Really kicking ass.

Around 4:00PM I start feeling week.  I'm getting sick.

I sit down in my dad's office, tell him that Typhoid Rashmi infected me.  My dad says he, too, has been feeling like shit.  He coughs and then, from the office next to his I hear Rashmi's partner coughing.

Fucker nailed us all.

By 8:00PM I'm hot to the touch.  I work until 10:45 and walk home.  Shuffle, zombie like is more accurate.  I take my temperature when I get home.  103.8

Sweet jesus, I'm on fire.

I swallow a handfull of advil and try and sleep. 

The constant shivering of my body keeps jolting me awake. 

I realize that there's nobody to do the work.

I realize there's nobody in my apartment to help me.

I take my temperature.  104.3  Great radio station.  Horrible temperature.

I realize I will, most likely, die.

I welcome death.

It never comes.

Asshole that death is, it's letting me suffer.

I start at the clock.  I fall asleep at 1:18.  I jolt awake at 1:20.  Ok, I didn't fall asleep.  I lost consciousness.  This goes on all night long.  I barely sleep.  Instead I slip away from this earth and come plummetting back.

I eat advil.  I eat tylenol.  I shiver and sweat.

I feel like killing myself to make it go away.

The body quakes are so bad I can't pee standing up. 

No worries, I can't pee.  Too fucking dried out.

5:45 am, I give up.  I shower and head to work.  Eating advil and tylenol like m&ms.  The fever is down to 103.6.  By 7:00 the fever is back up to 104.5, regardless of the amount of pills I've swallowed.

I go to a clinic because I can't wait to see a doctor and I certainly can't afford the time it takes to do this.

The doctor tells me I have the flu and gives me a prescription for tamiflu.  Yay.  I'll be better in no time.

I take the tamiflu.  I take advil.  I take tylenol. I wash it all down with Red Bull.  Always drinking red bull.

I never stop working.  104.2 in the afternoon and I am seeing rainbows everywhere.  My brain is scrambled.  I'm quadruple checking shit and then double checking it again.

I'm taking calls, avoiding clients when they come in, telling them I'm under the weather and too busy to talk.

They get out as fast as they can.

I take a half an adderall to help me focus on the task at hand.  I wash it down with Red Bull.  Probably not a good idea.

The piles of tax returns grow during the day.  By 10:00PM, fever still hovering at the 104 mark, I'm barely able to lift my head.  I can't keep my eyes open.  I can't speak in complete sentences.

My father leaves me in the office after I swear I'm ok, feeling much better, just finishing up this one last thing and heading home.

Heading home?  What for? To lie there, shivering with pain, fever and fear?  I stay.  I work.  Until close to 1:00 am.  I walk home.  I shuffle and shamble and I'm probably moaning as I do it.  People move away from as I walk along the street.  I feel like the guy who's got the virus that wipes out the planet.  That first guy.  Patient Zero.

Only I'm not patient zero.  Rashmi is.  And I silently curse him.

Or maybe I do it aloud.  With all the voices in my head, the pounding from the fever, the visions and the delusional thinking, who cares?

I get home and pull back the blanket and notice that my sheet looks like the shroud of turin.  It looks like someone took a Floogin Sized iron and burned my sheets.  It's fucking gross and scary and I don't care.  I lie in the shroud of Floogin.  I stare at the ceiling.

I wonder, how much red bull can I carry on my way to work when I finally give up pretending to sleep.

It's now Wednedsday.  I actually slept for 3 hours.  My fever is down to a respectable 103.0.  I feel like I could run a marathon.

There's a slight spring in my step.

I get to the office.  Take the morning tamiflu, take the other half of the adderall, and the tylenol, and a new addition to the family, dayquill.  Wash it all down with red bull.

Plow through the work.  Like a laser, I'm focused on the task at hand.

Like a laser, I'm burning up.

Take my temperature. 


This is fucking ridiculous.

Will the pain never end?

I call the pharmacist.  Ask how long before tamiflu starts to work.

"if it works, 48 hours."

If it works?  You mean this might not end soon?

No.  Tamiflu only works when you catch the bug very early on.

I did.

It must work.

It has to work.

I have to work.

Back the paperwork.  The taxes.  The clients calling, the happy and unhappy.

Never do I let on that they are speaking to a corpse.

Never do I let on that I am miserable.

That I am dying.  A walking manifestation of cancer.

My kids call.  I pretend to be alive.

My wife calls.  I tell her I'm doing great, the work is getting done.  Everything is fine, how's florida?

The fever breaks some time over night.  Thursday I wake up and I'm at 98.6.


The cough settles in around now.

I can live with that.

I can live with anything because I didn't die from the fever.

A little bit dumber?  Definitely.

I take stock of the office.  It's a disaster.

I did all this work and don't recall doing any of it.

I did half of what I thought I did.

I work more hours in a day than exist.

I catch up and surpass the work.

I am sitting here, typing this out when, normally, I'd be working.


Because I did what no human should ever do.

I worked through the flu.  I didn't sleep off the 104.  I didn't lie around and let the chills and aches get the best of me.

Fuck that. 

And now I realize, after all that work, as I pay my tax bill, that it wasn't fucking worth it.  I've got nothing left to show for it.

Next time, I let the flu win.

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