As the weather cools off and the Christmas carols start to appear, many people bundle up and look forward to the season ahead. Except for teachers and parents. And anyone who works around other people regularly.
It’s all part of a cosmic balancing act that one of the coziest, cheeriest times of year is also the most virulent: Flu season.
If you have had children or can draw on your childhood experiences, you know that when one kid gets it, all of them will. Lock-down, quarantine, load up on the meds and the fluids because you’re all pariahs now and have to deal with this thing on your own.
It’s especially bad because the people who are charged with the care of the littles are not exempt from their own suffering. Moms and dads still have to find a way to power through and take care of everything.
Well, some dads. There is a common phenomenon known as the “man cold” or the “man flu.” Not all men get it, but those who do get it bad.
One mom named Sydney has witnessed what is probably one of the most violent cases of man flu. She runs Strollin With My Homies, where she documents the ups and downs of motherhood and wrote to Love What Matters to explain the situation.
It started in 2014 when she was 9 months pregnant. She felt ill and kept throwing up, and chalked it up to morning sickness — but it soon became clear that she had the flu.
“Then 6 p.m. rolls around… it was definitely not morning sickness because I watched my husband transform right before my eyes, stumbling around saying he’s going to puke. Grreeeeeat. The moment he says he’s feeling sick, my eyes automatically roll into the back of my head and touch my spine. Instant dread.”
“Did he take my advice? Nope. First stop is our kitchen sink. He pukes all over a week’s worth of dirty dishes. He’s obnoxiously loud when he’s barfing to make sure I know this is the real deal. The neighbors know it’s the real deal. The next town over knows too. Cue me hating my life.”
“‘Seriously Ty?! Go into the bathroom!! Why would you do that?! It’s like 5 feet away and the garbage can is RIGHT HERE.’”
“He starts waddling to the bathroom and I breathe a sigh of relief. Thank God he’s in there, maybe he’ll pull it together. PSYCH. He’s being so noisy and dramatic with his heaving that I have no choice but to check on him and pretend I don’t want to murder him. I walk in and encounter vomit. Everywhere. But not in the toilet folks, nawwwww. In the bathtub. The freaking bathtub. BUT. WHY.”
Soon he begins complaining of a brand-new flu symptom, a new travesty. He claims that he can no longer see. Sydney, dealing with her own state and still able to hold it together, gives it to him straight and tells him to buck up.
“My voice was really serious at this point. He knew he poked the bear way too hard, or so I thought. He took the alternative route and decided to become unresponsive. Yes. Literally. He played dead like a possum. I’m standing over him about to puke myself and he starts whispering:
“‘Syd..Call 911. Syd. I’m dying… call 911. Call 9….1…..1……'”
“He was sick for maybe an hour tops at this point. He’s a first responder. He’s the father of my children. He’s my best friend. He’s a combat vet. He’s a devil dog. He’s a biiiiigg baby. And then I made the dreaded call.”
The series of events that leads them to the hospital is swift and unforgiving. Her husband poops himself, the paramedics come to pick him up, and Sydney has to follow the ambulance in her own car.
Once they get to the hospital, the nurses are doubly concerned for the exhausted mom: First, because having the flu while pregnant is actually dangerous, and second, because they knew exactly what was up with the man flu.
“We made eye contact and nodded. Solidarity. She’s all, ‘SIR. GET IT TOGETHER. YOU NEED TO GET IT TOGETHER. DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?’ And I’m all, ‘THANK YOU JESUS, SING IT SISTER.'”
“The nurses keep coming in to give me the ‘I’m so sorry’ look. The nod all women know. When someone says their man is sick we take a moment of silence for each other. United we stand.”
Fortunately they pulled through, but the experience has left its mark on them. And these are just a few of the hilarious excerpts — you can visit the Love What Matters link above to read the text in its amusing entirety.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.