The Psycho-symptomatic Mania of the Flu

This past week, I had the pleasure of entertaining one of my dear friends from out of state for New Year’s Eve. She had a lot of firsts while she was here: first plane ride, first big trip, first cab ride, first taste of street meat, etc. But I think her biggest first was seeing a crazed and frothing madwoman nearly faint on the subway before sneezing herself awake.

That madwoman was me.

For the first time in years, I decided not to get a flu shot. Because hey-I’m invincible, right? And so this past week, I learned that the only thing more trying than navigating Times Square (she insisted) over the holidays to head to the Empire State Building is doing so with a 101 fever. I found myself wanting to passive-aggressively lick everything and everyone I could, in between strange fantasies about melting into the sidewalk grates, or of ink pouring out of everyone’s mouths.

But now, one z-pack later and after lots of rest, I can confidently advise others in my situation on how to survive entertaining an out-of-towner when not in peak condition.

First off, relax: this may be easier than you think. Obviously you want to be at the top of your game when friends or family visit-to see as much as possible, to make as many memories. But I found that while I was expecting to sprint from place to place showing off my favorite hidden pockets of the city, those guests who aren’t used to walking all day will be more than grateful to stop and rest, and maybe get a cup of hot tea. And if you’re lucky, they’ll associate those dark circles under your eyes as a symptom of the city that never sleeps, not GI distress.

Secondly, make the flu part of the NYC tour experience. Remember the Rite Aid that used to be a roller rink and still has that crazy disco ball inside? Check it out-and hey, they conveniently sell Day-quil.

And thirdly (now this one was a toughie for me) remember that they’re here to seeyou. While having my friend run to the bodega across the street to pick up broth wasn’t exactly what I wanted of one of her last days in town, it was kind of great to send her out into the world on little adventures, and to let her have that great experience of just walking the streets alone, and exploring Brooklyn solo—if only within a four or five block radius of my apartment.

Now, at some point, you’ll have to rally. For me, it was New Year’s Eve: the festivities started after a leisurely dinner and drinks, where we headed to Prospect Park for a lovely alternative to the Times Square madness before hitting the town.

Here’s where old-school medicine kicks in:

Do not underestimate the power of a hot toddy in times of poor health. And with that logic, do not underestimate the power of multiple hot toddies. Follow these simple guidelines, and despite any illness or speed bump, you can keep your guests happy and (hopefully) healthy.

**Originally published in TwentysomethingNYC on January 3, 2015**

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The Psycho-symptomatic Mania of the Flu

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