Okay, so last week the man was stricken by some horrible ill. Death was imminent. Or at least that's what he told me. I told him (gently at first) that perhaps he should get out of bed or at least sit upright for a few seconds before he made the congested decision to call in sick. Which was met with a made-for-Nyquil-commercial "I cad't." But sweetie, I said, your sinuses might drain if you sit up, and if you take some ibuprofen you'll feel like a new man. "I dod't feeeeeel good," he said, and when I was done snickering I called him Napoleon. I almost felt a little bad at that, till I saw the corners of his mouth turn up just a tad, buried there in his battered old navy-issue feather pillow. But the rest of him didn't move, so I cut to the chase. "Listen," I said. "If you're gonna hang out with an ER nurse, you're gonna have to hear a 'suck it up' lecture once in a while. Come on, get up, you'll feel better in an hour." Nope. Out-stubborned, beaten at my own game. He called in and I sprang into best nurse form, bringing meds and fluids and kleenex and codependent smile, throwing away mountains of mucus-globby tissues and fussing over how warm his head felt to the back of my hand. But alas, my clinical skills were no match for whatever dreadful disease had struck. The fevers persisted through the night, of course we didn't have a thermometer to measure with - why on earth would a paramedic and a nurse have real medical equipment? but he truly did feel hot. I hauled his ass to the doctor the next day. Influenza A, they say, and no work until symptom-free. They told me I ought to be covered if I got the flu shot. Which I did. As I always do. Don't all health care professionals?? Oops, all but one, I said, elbow in the ribs to punctuate my funny little joke. Long story short, a batch of homemade chicken soup and some good old fashioned nursing care later, he was feeling a bunch better. And then I started feeling chillish and congested. And the other day, C-dub sported the same symptoms. And today?? Yup, scratchy throat, congestion, and a hacky cough that feels a bit wheezy at the bases. Fun. Guess that's what I get for being a shit.