Before we dive into today’s important topic I wanted to let my loyal followers know that I have received a JD Powers and Associates Award. Yes, it is true. I recently was informed that I will be recognized as the best blogger in the category of “retired liberal leaning persons relocated to northeast Wisconsin from Maryland who have also recently completed a thru hike of the Appalachian Trail in 2017 and at the same time have begun learning how to make pottery”. Some might think of this as a rather narrow category. Nevertheless, I am humbled by this distinction but do wonder what idiot came up with the criteria associated with this particular award category? I’m lucky that it didn’t include ownership of Chevrolet automobiles as a requirement, which would have immediately disqualified me. Indeed, to the best of my knowledge I have never owned a Chevrolet. Growing up we were a Pontiac family.
Regardless, this ranks high on my list of life accomplishments, right up there with finishing in third place (in the 60 – 65 age group) a few years ago in the local annual Crossroads 10K run. There are those among you who might wonder how many other people actually competed in this age group category. I am appalled by the cynicism such a question suggests, but do admit that, at most, there were 1 or 2 other people 60 or older who ran the 10K that year. This leaves open the important question of what it means to finish in third place in a race in which only you and one other person competed in your age group. I don’t know the answer to this question but will note that, to the best of my knowledge, no athletes from the Russian Federation were entered in the Crossroads 10K that year, thus eliminating the possibility that my standing was due to their subsequent disqualification by the International Olympic Committee.
But, let me move on to the main topic for today – how I stay healthy. My wife recently recovered from what was either a pretty nasty head cold or a case of the flu. It’s that time of year. Just about anywhere here in town where two or more people are assembled, it seems as if at least half of them are hacking or sneezing, or both. Will it seem paranoid to you if I indicate that it is also clear that they are always sneezing or coughing in my direction? Anyway, as luck would have it, my wife became ill. Being a sensitive person and a good husband, my immediate concern was how to best avoid having this illness transmitted to me while continuing to live in the same house. A quick consult of key internet sources told me that I had probably a two week gauntlet to run before she was no longer infectious. What was I to do?
The trick was how to do this while still appearing to be attentive to the needs of my spouse, who was clearly way under the weather. I came up with what seemed to me to be an effective game plan. Since my wife was running a fever, sleeping a lot and thus definitely not thinking straight, she agreed to my plan. Or, I should say, she was not sufficiently alert to offer any resistance. First, I limited her access to certain areas of the house to avoid transmission of infectious agents. I can either describe this by saying that I banned her from the kitchen, living room, office, second bedroom and basement or I can say that she was allowed to be in one of two rooms at any one time – our bedroom or the bathroom. I, of course, started spending my nights in the second bedroom. Regardless, she didn’t seem to object to the rules, although that might have been because she spent most of her time sleeping. This plan had the important bonus benefit of enabling me to conduct an uninterrupted detailed critique, spanning multiple days, of the ESPN daytime programming schedule.
The second part of my game plan involved going out and buying an industrial sized container of hand sanitizer and starting to use it religiously. My wife’s only comment on this, mentioned in one of her brief lucid states, was to reference the fact that we already had 5 bottles of hand sanitizer in the house so why did we need a sixth? This indicated to me that, despite her illness, she was retaining a surprising reserve of cognitive capacities.
Third, having forgotten whether one needed to “feed a cold and starve a fever” or vice versa, I decided to throw caution to the wind and made a grocery store run to stock up on Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup and Crystal Light (fruit punch flavor). I then administered these to her “ad libitum”. For those of you who skipped out on first year Latin, “ad libitum” means that in a very practical sense her travels between the two rooms in which she was permitted showed a distinct and significant uptick in frequency. For me this presented an additional challenge for avoiding possible disease vectors as we have just a single bathroom in our house. In this regard, I admit that the absence of a urinal in our bathroom generated some significant amount of regret on my part, strictly from a disease prevention perspective of course. However, I managed to restrain myself and not bring this fact up, recalling previous discussions with my wife about bathroom fixtures, which had not ended well (see Home Improvement for details).
And thus it went. Eventually, the two weeks did pass. I am happy to report to you and the CDC that these counter measures proved effective and I appear to have avoided succumbing to any illness, at least for now. Should the CDC need to develop a plan for the next Ebola outbreak, I am available for consultation. Perhaps there is another JD Powers and Associates award in here somewhere?
Oh, and yes, in case you are interested, my wife did fully recover and is now allowed free access to the entire house.