came the woeful text message.
Our lovely neighbours across the road both have something called "influenza A" - or one of the sub types thereof.
I knew that the husband, M...., had to be feeling ill. He was wearing a sleeveless pullover. M.... only wears a sleeveless pullover in the depths of winter. He had to be running a temperature. His wife, V..., admitted that they were both feeling ill.
I must inquire when I next see them whether they actually had a 'flu vaccination. It's supposed to immunise you against at least three strains of 'flu and I think the Senior Cat and I had the sort which is supposed to immunise you against four strains.
I wouldn't dream of not having the vaccination on a regular basis. I said this to someone else yesterday and they just shrugged and said, "I don't know why you bother."
I bother because, quite apart from the fact that I prefer not to be ill, I live with the Senior Cat. I know a lot of elderly people. Some of them are very elderly indeed but they are still alert and as active as they can be. It would be totally and utterly irresponsible of me to fail to get vaccinated and then pass an illness on to them. Quite possibly it would cause their death and I don't want that on my conscience thank you very much.
The other person I was talking to however feels quite differently. She thinks "the flu is not that serious".
Sorry, we will have to differ on that one. My youngest sister knows someone who has been in hospital for weeks with the flu and the consequent effects. He ended up with a tracheotomy so that he could actually breathe. His mother, a former nursing sister, is concerned about what other damage may have been done. And no, he didn't get a flu shot.
Yesterday afternoon I called in briefly to a nursing home to see an elderly woman. She has no speech and all I ever get is a faint smile of recognition. Her good hand will grip mine so hard that it can hurt. I can ask her questions and she can, just, indicate "yes" or "no". I never stay long because she tires quickly and falls asleep again. She has been like this for months now. She had a stroke at the time she had "the flu" and it affected her capacity to recover...she simply didn't feel well enough.
No, I don't want the flu. I hope we have avoided it. I'll go on having the flu shot and hope I do.