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Caught the common cold…

Good morning, Netizens...

Well, I think I've got it, that being the flu, not the porcine variety; just the plain old Spring cold that comes around every year about this time and glares at me from the bottom of my lungs. I awoke yesterday at my appointed time with a cough, a little bit of the infamous post-nasal drip and a general feeling I needed to go back to bed before I'd even gotten out of the rack. About an hour later, I did just that – went back to bed with an over-the-counter decongestant coursing its way through my bloodstream.

What I have constantly been asking since then is, how can I tell whether this is the Big Ugly, Swine Flu Virus, or just the plain old Spring Cold that we all know and love? With the Swine Flu panic still continuing to crest, there are a lot of similarities between a Spring Cold and Swine Flu, so many perhaps that you probably couldn't tell the pair apart, short of a CDC test. Hacking cough? Yes. Runny nose? No. (It's all going down the back of my throat) General aches and pains? Yes. Fever? No. Lethargy? Yes, but that seems to have gone away today. After all, I'm sitting in my bathrobe in the Great Chair where I belong, right? Lack of appetite? No, I am still eating like a horse, and probably will until the day I die. Some people with swine flu also have reported sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. No, I don't have any of those. YET.

Just so we know it, when do I hit the Big Red Button on my forehead and go see the doctor for a Swine Flu test? What the Center for Disease Control doesn't ever mention in any of their advisories is, barring any medical insurance, it could cost you somewhere between $45 and $100 for an office visit, even more if you factor in the cost of lab work to see if you have the bug. Years ago, when you spent that kind of money, you got a sweetly smile, a firm handshake and cordial thank you for your trouble. Today you do not get anything. Just a glazed look that seems to suggest you are just another rube on the ferris wheel of life and a hearty pat on the back for good luck.

That is, God forbid, unless the tests come back positive, that you have the Swine Flu. Then you enter the zone of what I call Perpetual Statistics. In addition to your clinician and your lab all peering at you, probing you with bizarre instruments and wearing face masks, you have medical care on steroids, and I give you the perfect bureaucratic medical solution, the CDC.

However, I do not think I'm there yet. I've caught a cold from my granddaughter who is saintly enough to make you weep, but brought something home from school last week. She opened the door and influenza.


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Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.