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COLUMN: A new friend kept me away from games

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'Arnold' is not a laughing matter

By John Herndon

I gave my newest friend a name.

Arnold.

You remember Arnold don’t you? He was that weather-forecasting, lunchbox-toting Wonder Pig from that intellectually-stimulating 60’s classic, Green Acres.

But let’s just say my Arnold was not nearly as lovable as Fred and Doris Ziffel’s, ahem, son. While that Arnold once predicted a snowstorm during warm weather, my Arnold was more into chills after high temperature.

Yep, my Arnold wasn’t an American Yorkshire, but of the H1N1 variety.

After months of jokes about craving corn or being terrified at the mention of the words “Allen Purnell,” swine flu hit my household over Thanksgiving week and finally rooted its way to me on Dec. 6. The following day, I went to the doctor thinking I had a cold, only to learn I was the latest.

Oink, oink.

Suffice it to say, I found that swine flu really is no laughing matter. My fever was high, mood low and I can honestly say that for a few days, I was whipped more than I had been in years.

Thankfully, I felt well enough to watch the Kentucky-UConn game. That one, and Saturday’s win over Indiana, made me feel a LOT better.

I need to interject, though, I did not fully understand Randall Cobb’s Twitter post at the end of the UConn game. He said, “I’ve heard I’m ‘the John Wall’ of UK football..... Plz NEVER compare me to him again! This dude is sick!”

He looked pretty healthy to me and the whole Wildcat team looked to be quite well on Saturday in Bloomington.

But I digress.

Being shut down for a while is no fun. Not being able to get out to Anderson County basketball games drove me nuts. My wife did not think I could stay away for three or four days. But I did.

Well, sort of. Thanks to several Bearcat fans or coaches, I kept abreast of games through text messages and forwarded updates out on Twitter.

And last week, I did come to the realization that I can take only so many showings of Hogan’s Heroes reruns.

Still, I am lucky.

Ten thousand Americans have not made it out of the sickness. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there have been nearly 50 million cases and 200,000 hospitalizations. I apparently got it from a family member and hope I did not spread it to someone else before I knew what had hit me.

And there is a lesson there: This thing is nasty. Don’t just assume you will lick it. If you are feeling bad, go to the doctor. Now.

Meanwhile, back at The Anderson News ranch, we did the best we could on sports coverage. Several coaches graciously sent me detailed reports via e-mail and I worked on them at home. UK journalism student extraordinaire Ryan Alves covered a game for me, Ben Carlson got to see high school wrestling up close and personal and others also chipped in.

Hopefully, you will avoid the flu, Arnold-ish or the regular old this-thing-is-nasty variety. But if you don’t, take it seriously and do not wait.

As for me, it’s time to hit some games, catch up on Christmas shopping and hit the grocery store.

Just keep me away from the corn on the cob.

E-mail John Herndon at jpherndon@theandersonnews.com.