This is me. I am wearing a mask, because fifty percent of the people in this ER are either almost dead, look like they are already dead, or they are coughing loudly. The other fifty percent drove them here.

I am with my daughter, who chose the week her husband was on a business trip to get sick. She is pale, wan, and dehydrated, but still manages to take four selfies.

I know we will be here for a long, long time. Long enough to revise my will. The word “triage” is bandied about at the front desk – in case somebody whose fever is under 102 gets any funny ideas about just how sick they are.

The woman next to us announces to no one in particular that “See, THIS is why they have flu shots, for God’s sake.”

Two people fall over. A roving nurse passes out hand sanitizer and little boxes of Kleenex. Too little, too late.

We finally get in. One bag of Lactated Ringers, coming right up. It takes exactly one hour, fifteen Tweets and three Facebook posts to empty that bag of fluids. We have been in the ER for four hours.

It helped. My daughter is feeling somewhat perky. There is a flush of pink coming into her cheeks. She smiles.

I, on the other hand, have just realized that by the time I drop her off at her house, the incubation period for something in the air tonight will have expired.

I am prepared to die.

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