The following article was published in the Herald Democrat on Nov. 25 1918.


Confessions and Impressions of a Flu Patient Who Heard Everybody Knock but the Undertaker.

“Yep,” said the convalescent, “after being confined for two weeks to the underside of a green comforter with the flu, asthma, bronchitis, 9½ grains of quinine, more or less, and other undesirables for daily companions, you must admit that having the flu is anything but a parlor entertainment.

“It certainly makes away with all your pep, if you ever had any. Why, after a day or two of it, you wouldn’t give a second glance at a circus parade, Theda Bara or a jigger of whiskey.

“It’s rough medicine, and with all the tribulation it escorts, you might as well get a grin out of it when you see an opening. Why, just yesterday, the postman brot me an inducement from a local insurance agency to take out a sickness and accident insurance. Whom’s the joke on? Them or me? Anyway, they’re progressive, eh! But they ought to have started off earlier in the epidemic — say at about the first sneeze.

“There’s only one redeeming feature about being sick in Leadville. That is, your friends, whether neighbors or not — call them the people generally — are Johnny-on-the-spot with first aid in the way of hot broth, fruits, cooked stuff to eat, errand-runners and what-not. I take my hat off to them every time, in spite of the doctor’s orders to keep my poll covered. Why, say, while we were sick at our house, everybody we know called on us but the undertaker, and I must confess that I’d rather pay him a visit at his headquarters on my own locomotion.

“They put us in quarantine the first day, too, but that didn’t prevent those excellent first-aiders from calling at the door to ask the nurse what we needed. The only good thing, by the way, about a flu quarantine is that it keeps the bill collectors away, being as efficient in the respect as the smallpox or a gatling gun.

“While I was being fashionable with the flu and paying daily attention to the doctor’s orders, I remarked to Friend Wife that I’d bare my bald dome also to the Leadville physicians, criticized as they are at times, like everybody else. They’re overworked just now and fagged out every night, but they’re still going and doing their bit, if anybody is, to get this thing wiped out. I imagine they’ll collect about half of their accounts, but I haven’t heard of an instance where they balked at paying calls on that account. One of them certainly pulled our outfit thru, and as for me myself I think if Doc hadn’t given me a shot of the army-camp dope — in a spot I shouldn’t care to be quoted about — I’d still be picking the flowers on that green comforter and wishing for morning and a tasteless mouth.

“The drug stores, too, they tell me, are filling every prescription regardless of what the credit man knows about their customers. I suppose the undertakers are doing the same, but not having had personal experience with them, I can’t say with precision.

“But, say, what do you think of our nurses from Denver? I’ll bet if they have a sorority pennant it’s the Jolly Roger. They’re getting more money than a plumber on a time job. Sixty-five a week! Say, I wish I could put a tax like that on my boss for about six weeks till all of the cravings of the required attendants for the filthy lucre have been satisfied. But, I suppose, if they can get it, it’s all right, and they seem to be needed. It’s a good opening for a senate committee on the high cost of living to do a little burrowing in. Of course, all of them haven’t taken Jesse James for a working model, God bless ‘em; but, say, what would you think if your old family doc raised the ante just because he could!

“It’s quite natural, of course, that Mayor Nicholson’s board of health’s operations should be criticized along with the doctors and us patients and the others concerned with the epidemic, but you’ll have to admit that it has brot relief to dozens of families in which there would have been none without it, and it seems to be getting results.

“By the way, Doc administered to me along with the morning liquids this yarn: He told one patient with a cold in the head that he thot said patient had a touch of coryza. It sounded awful and said victim consulted another doc with detailed report on the first diagnosis. The second doc grinned and said, ‘I don’t think you need to consult me. You’d better consult a dictionary.’ There are lots of better jobs than being a doctor, eh!

“Well, so long. Thanks for your good wishes. As you say, I feel like an old man on a cold day with no job in sight and with his tobacco pouch empty and a $199 grocer’s bill against him and the last throes of senility in his veins, but otherwise I’m all right and expect to be back at work in another week or two.”

“How did your kid come thru?” Asked the reporter who had to listen to this exordium.

“Oh, thanks to some helpful neighbors, we farmed him out till the rest of the family got well, and he didn’t catch it. But the flu is certainly awful. The kid didn’t learn to walk while he was away, but he learned to talk, and the first dod-blasted thing he said when he got in the house was, ‘Say, Dad, what’s a flu?’”

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