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Surviving swine flu and gift guidelines

by Rajkhet Dirzhud-Rashid - SGN A&E Writer

Ignore the fear campaign by the media, but don't get cocky, amigo. The swine flu is like having your worst enemy kick you in the gut over and over again, or being Dracula's bitch for about four days (complete with that pale, death-warmed-over pallor, too. Yikes!). I know now because, yes, this one, who thought until two weekends ago that she was immune to all things truly horrid (having suffered enough hell in my stormy childhood to scare any normal person), did get that awful bug. And honey, even as I sit here making my hands write this column (I'm still a bit shaky on my "land legs" after five days of living in hell), things still are "settling" in the bone cave this one lives in.

But hey, at least I know what only those of us who've been on the real side of this horror can know: You can survive this. True, in the throes of fever and chills, I thought I was going to die at one point and prayed to every known deity I've ever called upon - and even urged my cats to pray to Bastet or Sekhmet for me. But then again, not every person who got the plague back in the day died from that, either, so don't let the media's fear campaign stop you in your tracks. Just don't ignore your body telling you to rest, drink lots of fluids, and avoid parties where there aren't utensils aside from other folks' hands (you never know where those have been now, honey, do you?). And, yes, you can help yourself by gobbling down as much elderberry extract or lozenges (don't overdose; that won't help you, trust me) and zinc as you can prior to any symptoms.

If you do get sick, keep on that regimen, but add lots of ginger tea, baked lemons (just eat the inside and chuck the rind), organic yogurt (if you're not nauseous), and hot mustard plasters for congested chests - that and plenty of cherry juice with two splashes of apple cider vinegar got me through the "dark valley," honey, trust me. No shot, just my own now-healthy immune system. Not fun, but hey, it makes me trust this body even more and love life and good health like you wouldn't believe. I'll never take being healthy for granted, believe me.

The upside (if there was one, and yes, there was at one point) to being sick for five days was getting to watch programs I haven't seen before, like Ugly Betty (which this one watched with my sweetie/slave/lifepartner last Friday, as my recovery finally took hold). Fun, sexy and with some of the wildest clothes I've ever seen on any show, Ugly Betty is my new favorite show if I'm ever home on a Friday evening again. And I do still love Being Erica and Supernatural, which - along with a tasty episode of Vampire Diaries - got me from "I'm going to die of this flu" to "thank Goddess I can stand up and not fall down" to "yay, I'm better today, at last!" Television and my honey bunny were the best cures for what ailed me last week. May you be so lucky if this bug harpoons you like it did me.

So, what else has this one been up to, besides fighting like my life depended on it and watching the Arts Channel and one really bad (but entertaining) horror movie on Professor Fred's Movie Marvels (check this show out on Channel 28 on Fridays and you'll howl with laughter more than fright)? Well, before and after the rigors of dealing with the pig flu, I was making my list and checking it twice for old and new friends and my honey bunny's siblings, wanting to get ahead on my Christmas shopping. I have already received the delish things I ordered as presents and as things we'll use in another hot scene (when health returns completely for both of us - honey didn't get the flu, but some sniffles have been troubling that one for over a week now, darn it!) from Fabulous Furs. Check out their catalogue at www.fabulousfurs.com.

I can't wait to celebrate my first Thanksgiving with his family this year, and here's hoping his employer doesn't make my baby work so we can just get into our best outfits and head over for feasting on the big day, instead of cutting things short due to that one's work. Looking forward to giving those new folks on my list presents come Christmas, too. And, if you haven't decided on what to give your special ones, let me suggest a pair of Wellingtons (I'm wearing mine now and my feet are happy) from Victorian Trading Company's catalogue (www.victoriantradingcompany.com). They are pretty and practical for this awful weather.

Also, you might visit Nordstrom (which I did before falling under the swine flu's evil sway) and pick up some of Tom Ford's Tuscan Leather eau de parfum, or Lacoste Challenge eau de toilette (both of which make one smell yummy. For you bois out there, this is the stuff of dreams, trust me!). Also Starborn Alchemy's Hades Blend lip balm will keep your lips soft and sexy even in the worst windstorm, and you can order from them locally at www.starbornalchemy.com. I picked some up at Crypticon back in March, and have been using it under my lip gloss and lipstick every since and loving it. It makes a good gift and they have other, equally provocatively named balms, too.

So that's it for now, my little pet tigers, and remember the elderberry extract, lozenges or throat spray to not get sick, or even if you do get sick. You'll thank yourself for it. Also, great news for Mr. Clint Eastwood: He's now been added to the French Foreign Legion's ranks via an appointment by France's prez, so congrats, Mr. Eastwood - err, Sir Eastwood. Couldn't happen to a better gent, if you ask me. Just goes to show that us older folks know a thing or two about being elegant and lasting, eh? You're damned right.

And before I go, here are a few of my own "guidelines" for keeping the flu in check that I think should be adopted immediately by every public place: Folks who can't contain their coughs behind a sleeve or hankie should be first warned, then fined or thrown out on their ear in the rain, lest they infect again. Hand sanitizer and wipes should be on every Metro bus at the entry and use should be encouraged briskly by everyone not wanting to be sick as a dog for five days like me (and several other "warriors of the flu" who I've met recently). Bitch-slaps to the head or face or kicks to the groin should be visited on those who refuse to cover coughs or who sneeze without using even a hand to block spew from innocents, particularly those with vulnerable immune systems. Only the offending "coughees" or "sneezees" should be punished. It's a freaking plague, folks; stop acting like it's a walk in the park and get tougher to keep it from spreading. The health you save may be your own, or that of someone you love. Peace out and fist bump. Buhbye!

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