Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

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January 12, 2013

Here comes the ‘clank,’ here comes the fool

GLASGOW — Here comes a jinx. It’s going to be one of those moments like when a radio voice describing a basketball game states, “Johnny Doe is 7 for 7 at the foul line tonight. His team needs him to keep that streak alive right now.”

Over the roar of the crowd in the background, an audible “clank” can usually be heard. It’s the curse of recognizing a streak. The jinx that can’t possibly be true, but always seems so.

What’s my jinx? I’ve not had a sick day in more than five years. There is on special secret. There is no particular diet. Nothing should prevent me from getting sick that I do conciously. Just luck.

Sickness is certain to come this weekend now that the streak has been recognized.

I thought I was getting sick midway through 2012. For the first time in years, I decided to visit a doctor. My wife picked out the one to whom I would entrust my well being.

“If I set you up with an appointment, will you go?” she asked.

“Yeah, I’ll go.” The response came with a groan of anguish unrelated to physical pain.

The doctor, after an initial visit, a second visit for blood work, and a third visit for consultation on the results of the blood work, diagnosed me with lethargy.

Being a wordsmith, it struck that he might be calling me lazy, but that was not what he meant, despite the definition of the word: “the quality or state of being drowsy and dull, listless and unenergetic, or indifferent and lazy; apathetic or sluggish inactivity.”

He explained the clinical meaning was my fatigue that made me not feel very well was the result of working too many hours, not getting enough exercise and not eating well.

In order to feel better, he recommended a three-pronged approach — you can guess what was at the end of each prong.

He also suggested I get a flu shot, which I declined. I fully believe in immunizations for children and that the civilized plan for fighting illness and disease is a good one. I’m also a born idiot sometimes because the response given to the doctor was, “The last time I got a flu shot, I got the flu.”

He was kind and patient and politely suggested I am a fool.

With the way this flu season has gone, he likely has me pegged.

“The number of states reporting widespread flu activity is up to 47, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But flu activity nationally fell slightly in the CDC’s most recent data. Five states reported less flu than a week earlier, according to the CDC,” according to an Associated Press report. “CDC officials are still urging people to get vaccinated, and released the first data about how well this year’s vaccine is working. So far, they say the vaccine appears to be about as effective as usual, protecting people about 62 percent of the time this season.

“Vaccination remains the best way to protect against the flu, but there’s no ironclad guarantee. The vaccine is typically about 60 percent effective. So some people can get the flu even though they were vaccinated because the shot just didn’t work for them.”

Certainly, those who are most at risk to being severely affected by the flu — young children and senior citizens — should get the vaccine. No one should follow my foolish attitude, because it is certain to catch up to me someday and I have certainly been operating on borrowed time for many years.

Bring on the jinx, I think I heard a “clank” while writing this column.

James Brown is editor for the Glasgow Daily Times. He can be contacted by e-mail at jbrown @glasgowdailytimes.com.

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