I discovered, once again, that there is a good reason why more women than men are nurses. Women, when around patients – and especially sick men and husbands – are much more matter of fact and have

Bruce Wallace

little sympathy.

That may or may not be a compliment towards women – especially if you have the flu, which was a major part of my life last week.

“Bruce, you look like you’re coming down with something,” said a teacher, female, at last Thursdy’s basketball game.

“I’m afraid it’s been coming on a couple of days,” I replied, actually feeling like death warmed over.

“Well, go to a clinic, go home to bed and stay away from the schools – we’ve had enough of whatever it is around here.”

Gee. What sympathy. Sounded like words straight out of a Hallmark card.

On the other hand, SoBoCo administrators David Shire and Pat Lacy were understanding and sympathetic to the point of hearing all of my ailments and offering words of advice.

Shire: “Man, that stuff’s awful. Go home and have a hot toddy and see if you don’t feel better in the morning.

Lacy: “That’s terrible. I feel for ya – had it last week myself. Don’t go home and have a belt of whiskey – that just makes it worse.”

OK, no diagnostics ability and little good advice – but sympathy nonetheless.

Mom in concession area: “Well, you don’t look that bad – but if you think you’re coming down with something, stay away from my kid.”

See a pattern here?

I tried to whine to my wife when I got home. Her reply?

“Go to bed – you’ll feel better in the morning.”

Of course, my wife was one of those kids who got perfect attendance marks in school every year – what does she know about being sick?

I woke up Friday morning with enough fever to heat Cleveland, couldn’t swallow and ached as though I’d been run over by another Fulton running back on the sidelines of a football game.

“You need to sleep another hour then get up and take a hot shower, that will make you feel better,” my wife said.

I tried moaning about my pain, but the key female in my life was out the door.

I knew what I needed. I needed my mommy.

But mom has been gone for a while – so I called my oldest sister.

Imagine a shorter version of a cross between Crystal Branch and John Wayne.

“Sick? Have they hospitalized you? Prescribed a session in an iron lung? Helicoptered you to Johns Hopkins? You’re not that sick, get in the shower, take some DayQuil and get to work – yer’ burnin’ daylight!” she yelled into the phone.

All these sympathetic females could be taking care of me. Huh. I called into the office: “Listen,” my news clerk Stacy said, “if you think this office runs itself, you’ve got another think coming….”

I reminded her that if the building caught fire, there might be a fire fighter right across the street. And went back to bed.

When I did manage to get to a clinic, the very capable physician’s assistant listened to all my moaning and whining, examined me thoroughly, and proclaimed I had the flu.

I whined some more, letting her know I felt like I was going to die.

“Mr. Wallace, the only way you are going to die is if you continue to whine about this when you get home and your wife smothers you with a pillow,” I think is what she said. Although she may have simply barked out orders for antibiotics, clear liquids and chicken noodle soup, and, “hope you feel better” – but I couldn’t be sure in my blurry near-death world of influenza and disease.

Men are bad patients in that they don’t go seek medical treatment often enough or soon enough. Worse, when something is truly wrong, we moan about it to distraction. And we get zero sympathy.

Only your own mom understands.

News clerk’s note: The boss wrote this, I’m sure while he was still on multiple forms of medication. To all you nurses and medical personnel, really, we love you – you are God’s angels. To his sister – Crystal Branch is a wonderful person, it’s a compliment. To his wife – I’m so, so sorry you had to put up with this all weekend.