A decade plus ago I was one of the Lucky Winners in the H1N1 pandemic lottery.
The whole fan-damily & I (along with The Beloved Hound) took a couple weeks and went out to ride horses and hike around the mountains of Wyoming.
It had been a particularly harsh and lengthy winter in The Cowboy/Equality State (u-pick-’em) but being Flatllanders who had not ventured West for a while we stuck with The Plan despite a recommendation from the rancher that we defer.
Balderdash! said I.
Big Wyoming beckoned with snowy peaks and high plains vistas.
So, like The Griswald’s, we loaded up (sans Dead Granny) and made The One Day Dash from the prairie to the Bighorns.
The first two things that happened were a near crash with a Returning Home Drunk Driver at 5AM (early start for us, late night for him) and the loss of my wallet in the bathroom of a Mac & Don’s where we stopped for Egg McMuffins.
Once I realized The Wallet was missing I jack-rabbited back in the vain hope of finding the leather pouch laden with cash and credit cards – and miracle of miracles – there it lay undisturbed on the stall floor where it had fallen.
Two bullets dodged in the first three hours!
What could possibly go wrong next?
Fate had been defeated.
The two bedroom/no running water cabin we had at The Ranch meant we shared The Showerhouse with other guests.
On the first night I went to clean up and there was a pale looking cowpoke (my own personal Patient Zero) hacking and spewing all over the shared sink, shower and indoor one-holer.
By the fourth night I was bed-ridden with a fever pushing 105, wheezing and gasping for breath, babbling worse nonsense than readers of Sparta are regularly subjected to in my unhinged posts and so weak and pale that we pulled up stakes and started home.
If not for an emergency ingestion of copious amounts of Gatorade I would have been in The Real Deep due to dehydration and loss of electrolytes.
It’s just The Flu I said gamely. Don’t worry about me.
Turns out self-diagnosis is not my specialty.
Upon returning home the first stop was Urgent Care as my fever had gone down somewhat thanks to the large and un-recommended doses of Tylenol Extra Strength I was gobbling. (Hey, I grew up in The Sixties. Better Living Through Chemistry, right?)
The attending Doc did a quick eval and history and said you got the H1N1 pal. And it’s turned in Pee-new-moan-ee-ah as a bonus so here’s a 6 pack of Cipro, take these As Directed and you should be better within a week.
Turns out in retrospect that Buffalo, Wyoming (of all places) was an H1N1 hotspot.
A decade down the pike the Old Immune System is older and I’m taking this Woo Han stuff more seriously from the get go than I did the Porcine Flu.
I’m constantly washing my hands, loading up on Gatorade and sure as hell I’m staying the ‘eff outta Buffalo Friggin’ Wyoming…