I Should Have Stayed Home by
(118 Stories)

Prompted By Snowy Days

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Judging by the store I went to, I can place this story some time in the late 90s.

Gina was away in Lawrence, Kansas doing some collaborative research with a scientist at KU. Of course I picked THEN to get the flu. After a couple of days, I started to feel very ill.

I had a fever, I knew that. The alternating sweats and shivers was a dead giveaway. But when I went to take my temperature, the digital thermometer blinked on for a second then went dark. Dead battery.

We lived only three or four blocks from a large supermarket, so I got heavily dressed and started trudging through the sleet to get a new one. I felt weak and weird and disoriented. The snow piles I needed to climb over seemed to have formed a dirty white obstacle course. It was a slow and miserable trek. But I got there, found my battery, paid and left.

I did wonder why the cashier looked at me in such a peculiar manner.

Returning home at last, I rested a while, then installed the battery, stuck the thermometer under my tongue and waited for the beep.

106 F. And I normally run pretty low; around 96.

I knew that this was not good, but the idea of doing anything grandiose about it seemed to elude my feverish mind. I took four ibuprofens, then drew a cool bath and laid in it for over an hour, reading. This did the trick; the fever returned to more normal 102-ish levels. It never went back up much higher, and was gone in a couple more days.

Only the next day did I realize why that cashier was looking at me as she did. She was obviously afraid that the dead had risen and were shopping at Jewel-Osco!

Profile photo of Dave Ventre Dave Ventre
A hyper-annuated wannabee scientist with a lovely wife and a mountain biking problem.

Characterizations: funny, well written


  1. Marian says:

    Ugh, Dave, that was a scary experience indeed. And trudging through the slush, yet. So glad it all turned out OK.

  2. Wow Dave, very wise, thankfully the cold bath apparently did the trick.

    Of course nowadays you could’ve ordered a new thermometer battery from Instacart!

  3. Khati Hendry says:

    106!! Now that is scary. I’m impressed you could get out of bed, let alone drag yourself through the snow. Good thing you were able to bring it down and recuperate on your own.

  4. Betsy Pfau says:

    That check-out clerk probably did think you looked like death-warmed over, with a fever so high. I, too, am amazed you could even move, much less get dressed and go out in such awful weather. Glad you took that long bath and your fever came down. Goodness, such a scary bought of the flu!

  5. Laurie Levy says:

    That’s quite a story, Dave. 106 is rather frightening, but perhaps the cold weather trek helped the Advil to lower your fever.

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