Many of us, living in The Northern Hemisphere, have heard or have said “dying with the flu”. I know I have said it many times. A few of my memories.
I was always a pretty good actor especially with my mother. The weather, where we live, can be damp and cold in the fall, spring and winter. As children we wern’t blessed with the best of foot ware or warm clothing. Most of my clothes was handed down from my older brother. Our house was heated by a wood stove and when the fire went out at night, it was cold inside. So, if I had a test or didn’t feel like going to school, I would fake an illness. This was usually an upset stomach or the above mentioned “dying with the flu” trick.
Sometimes you can cry wolf too many times. I got a little scared when I was around eleven years old when I woke with a sore throat and stayed home from school. It turned out to be the mumps. They were bad, My temperature shot so high that the doctor said that you could fry an egg on my stomach. Then he told my parents that they were going down through me. What did that mean? I could visualize all kinds of strange things happening inside my body. It was scary.
My weight dropped from 130 pounds to less then 100. Not a recommended way to lose weight. The doctor said the only way to stop the downward progression, into my testicles, was to put cold compresses below the pain. Neighbors came to place their meats on my body for defrosting. Eventually, after a few days, the pain subsided and I began to heal.
Later in life I understood that, due to the mumps going down through me, I might not be able to father children. Our friends and family would say, whats wrong with you?? I was beginning to think there was something wrong. A few years after we were married my wife became pregnant. Then the jokes came..the milkman dropped by etc. I could handle the ribbing and thankfully, our sons looked like me and still does. Our two daughters are spits out of their mother’s mouth and look like our son. Even back then, I could laugh at myself. We never had a milkman.
By the way both my wife and I have been, dying with the flu, for the past week. It’s true! Just ask our children.
I wonder where and how the term originated. It may have something to do with the influential epidemics.