The flu virus! Physically not yet.

The quandary began with the onset of the flu season and advertisements that flustered even the most resolute. This constant bombarding triggered the fear factor which I had, over decades, hidden under layers of positive thoughts.

Early in the fall season, my family doc encouraged me to take the flu-shot. I hemmed and hawed. But as the date for my trip drew close, the fear factor took hold. I felt a slight chill. The temperature reading I took over the next couple of days at various point of time returned normal. Just the mind playing sick jokes!

The imminent threat from the flu bug was to my long-awaited India trip.

Monday: The week of my departure; the weather was gloomy. Inside the office, behind drawn blinds, under heating vents, and around cubicles I sensed the BUG. Colleagues coughed and sneezed and dropped like flies. “Bless you” were awarded at the end of the day to avoid exhaustion from repeating it. I considered a face mask and frantically checked the employee handbook. [The new site corporate intranet does make things easy to find even in panic situations.] No mention of a face mask anywhere.

Tuesday: I turned my back to all the ‘sick’ activity and kept my hands clean; washed my hands every 20 minutes with soap and water the way the chart recommended [2 minutes] in the washroom; stretched my sweater sleeves to grab door handles; and used the hand sanitizer on reaching my desk. I also debated on wearing gloves all the time.

Wednesday: I did my best to avoid touching my face; every minor itch got amplified into a scratching sensation. I drank water by the jugful. My mental state see-sawed between every possible sick scenario.

I researched preventive medicines and natural remedies. As is usually the case in such situations, my wife called up our support system of doctors all over the world. The time differences made it easier to talk to them all the time on weekends! All this mental process should have made me sweat and break any onset of the flu. To work up the sweat I furiously used the spin bike twice a day. The projects at work kept my mind off during the day time. At night I’d wake up with a sweat at 3 in the morning.

I took a deep breath and realized that I may be bordering on a deep set paranoia. All this while there was a slight whispering deep in my gut. Gut instinct! Just let it be! And I did; I could feel the tension dropping away by the bucket and as I boarded the flight I was ten pounds lighter. Mentally, at least!

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