The Lurgy

I’m tucking the Bearded One back into the den bed where he has been shivering under a pile of blankets all afternoon.  He has a 101.6 degree fever, a wracking cough, and is nauseated.  We’ve pretty much acknowledged that he is sick, perhaps even with the dreaded lurgy — the Australian word for flu — but it has taken the entire day to accept this fate.


Even now he must warn me of the hazards of taking care of the animals tonight, which is usually his job.  Sage the Goat has been standing in front of the aviary door, blocking all coming and going for the chickens, which creates havoc at dusk when the farmer has to get all the chickens into the aviary.

Sage blocking aviary 001

The pull of leftover oatmeal is weakening, the chickens forget about it en route to the aviary, and, the Bearded One says, between hacks, that I should tease it out so Danielle and Spot don’t have to be re-rounded up.

“You might have to…*cough cough*…”poke Sage with a stick,” he says.  “He’s been standing there for an hour!”  *cough cough cough*

“Poor sweet baby,” I say — our tender Charlie Brown and Peanuts verbal hug — and I turn off the light.  “Try to sleep.”

I’m relieved that one of us is well, but I’m also adjusting to being the well one.  We’re on this trek together, deep into the flu forest, and so far my efforts at comforting him — an electric blanket, a humidifier, a basket by his bed to throw up into, rubbing his aching legs — haven’t lifted the gloom.  “If I still feel like this in 3 weeks,” says the Bearded One as I leave, “pull the plug.”

I consider the sadness of widowhood as I go into the kitchen for the pot of oatmeal.  There on the table is the phone and the Bearded One’s broken Sawsall repair hotline numbers. He had decided to make a wooden spoon like the ones made by our fellow farmletters in Tasmania.

Spoons arrive 008

The spoons arrived and are exquisite.  He had been inspired, but he ran into trouble right away when the tool wouldn’t work.

He’d made a few calls, punched his way through a couple of phone trees, and then succumbed.  By noon he declared, “My biorhythms are down,” and went to bed.  Now he coughs and groans as I walk out into the cloudy dusk.

The animals have had a low biorhythm day, too, although they’re not sick.  The goats stayed in the barn all morning chewing their cud, watching me muck out the peeing corner.

Goats in clean barn 008

Danielle and Anna, our two Wyandotte hens, doubled up in a nest, which I hadn’t seen since they were babies.

Goats in clean barn 006

And now, Sage gives me no trouble when I shoo him away from the aviary door.  Maybe they all know the Bearded One is sick.  Animals are sensitive that way.

Back at the house, I start a fire in the woodstove, feed Ruby, who also wants reassurance, and heat a dinner of leftovers for myself in the microwave.  I eat alone at our dining room table, then read the newspaper.

After a quiet hour, the downstairs toilet flushes and minutes later the Bearded One totters into the living room and sits on the edge of the couch, all huddled up.

I crawl up behind him and begin to massage his shoulders.  I am relieved that he’s not coughing, that maybe the Tylenol (“the key to fever” according to our nurse daughter) has kicked in, but I know we’re not out of the woods.

“This is punishment for the sin of pride,” he jokes, and I wonder what in the hell. “What in the hell?” I say.

“Spoon pride,” he says and reminds me that Steve the Spoon Maker had generously offered to tell the Bearded One about a secret spoon-making tool, but the Bearded One had said, to himself, “I don’t need no stinking secret tool.”

“First the saw is broken, and now my body.”  He indicates I should please start massaging his lower back now.

“Yes, that must be it,” I say, and laugh — not too loudly — for the first time all day.  “Poor baby,” I say and kiss his neck.

“Poor SWEET baby,” he says.


12 responses to “The Lurgy

  1. Oh NO! E tu Brute? You have the lurgy?! I wondered where you were and thought that you must be tied up and busy on the farm…now I KNOW that we are going to be hit by the lurgy if my twin sister in Olalla has sucumbed…:(. That bedpan is alarmingly expelling what can only be bodily fluids! Obviously that stick drawing was drawn by a man with extreme delarium! I don’t like that the lurgy is coupled with vomit. That is where I don’t do well…I can handle the fever and the feeling weak and dishevelled but stomachs that get minds of their own when you are at your weakest is something that brings immediate chills to my mind…Your wyandottes are clucky sigh…we have a silver laced exactly like the one on the left…we call her “blondy” and she has been clucky for 3 months now…I actually left 5 eggs underneath her to attempt to lure here to eventually get off the nest but now that they are all enclosed and unable to roam free it seems to legitimise their efforts and we are getting 1 egg a day and the chooks are all sitting tight and crochetty (sigh…) lucky we don’t rely on eggs!
    LOL! Men…”sin of pride” ;). Tell him he is off the hook with Steve who is fast asleep like a baby…Steve is going lateral with his spoons and is currently fixated with teaspoons and tiny little herb measuring spoons…I want a teeny tiny little salt spoon in some sort of precious wood and he is branching out into making guitar picks to die for…I can’t wait to see what B.O’s wonderful (masculine manly Tim-the-toolman-taylor grunty) spoon looks like :). It’s funny how competition and manly pride enters the ring as soon as 2 men meet 🙂 even when they are 30 000 miles apart. Tell the B.O. that Steve is anticompetitive and as soon as someone starts competing he changes his gameplan…I know he does because I am like B.O…type A personality and emminently competitive and Steve is used to me trying to measure up to his artistic efforts and just heads off side left ;). I hope B.O. feels better soon and that you don’t sucumb to the dreaded lurgy. Hugs from Tasmania (but not too close as there is no WAY I want that lurgy before I am due it this winter! 😉 )….

    • Oh, Fran, that “bedpan” is the humidifier!!! lol I brought it (the humidifier) to the marriage from using it for decades with the kids and their ongoing illnesses. It helps with snuffiness and coughs. It’s humming away down there in the den even as I type, moistening the B.O.’s air. He just coughed, thank you very much, he says. 🙂 He is better today, the fever broke and he is feeling less nauseated. Still coughing and headachy and SICK, but not nauseated. I agree, nausea and vomiting are the WORST.

      The B.O. is competitive, but I’m not so much. I tell him he wins, he tells me I’m right, and we are both happy. lol He will make the BIGGEST spoon, of that I feel quite sure…. 🙂

      About your cluckies (we call ’em broody), Danielle (the silver Wyandotte named for our son’s 8th grade girlfriend) really isn’t broody, although she looks it in this photo. She and Anna (the golden Wyandotte who is named for our son’s 11-12th grade girlfriend) were just chillin’. We’ve had our share of broodies, though, and the only sure cure we’ve found is to move them to the broody box, a large cage with a wire floor, for 24 hours, with food and water. Their hot breasts get a chance to cool and they snap out of it. That’s for extreme cases. Spot and Stevie, two of our banties, are spending the night and morning in the nests these days, and are technically broody, but they don’t live on the nest so we’re just waiting it out. For now.

      Thanks for your good wishes for my continued health. Someone’s got to feed the goats! At least that’s what I’m telling the gods. Virtual germ-free hugs back to you!xxxooo

      • The B.O. is going to have to make an HUGE spoon to beat my spoon that I made…it was so big it had to be renamed something appropriate so I came up with “spadle”…spoon + ladle = “spadle”…tell him to get that chainsaw out and he and I have a competition on! 😉

      • LOL Fran! I’ve seen the B.O.’s rough cut-out spoon and it resembled a baseball bat. Good luck! :):)

      • That was so that he could “whittle” my dear! A huntin’, guttin’ fishin’ man like B.O. would need to assume the whittlin’ position and take his time crafting his spoon ;). I still think that was a bedpan in that drawing 😉

  2. So sorry to hear Keith has succumbed to the Kitsap County Crud thats taken over our community. Lots of rest, fluids, steamy baths, and large quantities of Nyquil & this too shall pass. Though it seems to have taken weeks, as this years “Lurgy” is certainly a nasty one, I am coming to the other side of it and I hope the same for him ( only much sooner !).

    • Thanks Momma Goose! The fever broke and he’s less nauseated, so we’re downright giddy over here. 🙂 It’s good to hear you’re on the mend…and thanks for your good vibes. We can feel them across the road.:)

  3. Christine Widman

    Hoping the Bearded One is on the mend and that you stay flu-free.
    I do every kind of magic and prayer and positive thinking that I stay germ flu free. I can’t stand to be sick.
    Yesterday I ran 5 miles with no effort at all. I have not done that before. I know it’s my iShuffle – listening to all the great rock.
    I’m sure this is part of my health strategy.
    Born to be Wild and Brown Sugar and Love the One You’re With and Taking It Easy.
    The music…the flow…the desert…the vast sky.
    Sending all these good “vibes” your way.
    Hugs, hugs, hugs,

  4. The boy child called today to check on the Bearded One and to say that his cover rock band got their first gig! A sorority shindig on March 14. This made the B.O. smile. So many good vibes coming our way, how can he not get well soon? xxoo oh, you were Born to Run, Christine….isn’t that a rock song?! 🙂

  5. Christi, have you discoverd this blog on your travels in the ether before? I was just reading a gardening blog that I follow and this man is a professor at the Puget Sound university and has a wonderful blog about the animals and birds etc. in your local area…gorgeous blog and cram packed FULL of info… thought you might like to take a look if you haven’t already 🙂

    • Wow, what a great critter blog! And his museum is about 20 minutes car ride from here, over the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. How cool would it be if you could just jet over here and we could go to the museum together?? Just sayin’. I’m following his blog now — thanks!

      • I loved the blog and wanted to share with my twin from Olalla :). I WISH I could jet over there and head over to that museum…I am overdue a good museum crawl ;). Oh well…I will just have to be content with watching our birds fight over who gets to have a bath first 😉

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