My doctor told me to get a flu shot months ago.

My pharmacist said I could get one without waiting.

My caring daughter-in-law said it was a smart thing to do for the sake of the whole family.

My senses should have been on red alert from the huge promotional efforts – the billboards and posters, the television and radio advertisements – encouraging the responsible action of getting inoculated. But I hadn’t gotten a bad case of the flu for 20 years and had never in that time gotten a shot. I must have thought I had some special resistance power of my own.

So last Tuesday I’m at the Rose Bowl Parade, to be followed by the football game, when it becomes obvious I’m pretty sick. Arriving home, my doctor sticks wire tips way up my nostrils to confirm I have influenza. I need a chest X-ray to check for pneumonia.

This week’s Mindful Midweek was going to be about how our national healthcare dilemma could be minimized if we all just took more control over our own state of health, made those smart little choices about what to eat, how to stay active, how to stress less. I was going to be a subtle role model in this scenario.

I can’t finish it. I’m too sick. My chest, between deep, painful coughs, is making little creaking sounds I have never heard before. I can’t sleep. I’m searching for a comfortable prone position, but there is none.

This is an obvious situation where the smart personal choice would have been partnering with the pharmaceutical industry, getting the damned shot and playing the “ounce of prevention” game.

And as for me being a subtle role model? Forget about it. I’m not up for that position.

In fact, I haven’t been up for anything since that Rose Bowl Parade.