Dodged a Bullet

You mock me for my paranoia. I mock me, too. My dependence on the smelly gel — what the hell is up with that? You know what they say, when a flu germ has your name on it…

Well, flu fever (shall we call it fever fever?) has definitely swept Moscow, with today’s Moscow News reporting that, for example, when it comes to hygiene in the Metro, though they regularly disinfect with chemicals and ultraviolet light, “There’s really no substitute for a surgical mask.” Though try finding a surgical mask in Moscow this week. Baby, they are sold outsky.

So it was with no small trepidation last week when I started to feel the dry cough and tickle in the back of the throat that I personally recognize as flu symptoms. Nor could I overlook my own personal, 100 percent accurate signifier, a night of broken sleep and unusually vivid dreams. That always tells me I’m coming down with something, and it’s never wrong. Call me paranoid, but I knew I was getting sick, and prepared myself for the siege.

But I didn’t get sick. Why? Two possible reasons. First, my translator turned me onto a homeopathic immune system booster called (I hate these tricky Russian words) Immunal. Second, kids, I’d had my flu shot. So while I had the start of something, and then weekend-long hints that something was going on (achy muscles and general malaise being the key indicators), by Sunday night I was fine, and by Monday morning my usual perky self.

So you tell me, campers: Did modern medicine save me from the deluge? Or Russian homeopathy? Or was I just being paranoid and hypochondriacal, and just made the whole thing up? Was I suffering from — oh, let’s call it — smelly gel fever? You can judge as you like, but from now on I’m going to be a belt-and-suspenders type with this sort of thing: always get my flu shot, and keep plenty of Immunal on hand.

Of course, I only got the one flu shot, the annual shot for the annual bug. I’d left the States before the Swine Flu vaccine was available, and who knows when it’ll drift down through the Russian distribution system to somewhere I might get it. So, while the Moscow News calls Russia’s outbreak an outbreak of Swine Flu, I’m hoping that they don’t know what they’re talking about and that it’s just regular flu that’s going around instead. Otherwise, possibly, I’ve dodged just the one bullet, and there’s another bug out there somewhere with my name on it.

Know what? I think I’ll keep the smell gel handy.

More later, -jv

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