If anyone offers you the current version of the flu that’s going around, just say, “no”. Opt instead for a soft drink, a burger, two chicken wings. Whatever.

The recent outbreak, into which both my wife and I were swept, along with several others we know, is nasty stuff. It comes with fever, chills, headaches, muscle aches, a persistent and irritating cough, and loss of appetite. It messes with your sleep cycle and with your digestive track.

We’re recovering, but it’s a slow process. The doctor warned us it would be, even while the nurse practionier was telling us we’d waited past the point where TamiFlu would really do us any good. I also caught a lovely secondary infection that required a regimen of anti-biotics.

We’re told that influenza is tougher on folks who are, like us, over 65 years old. I believe it. I really wouldn’t want it to be any worse. It’s been quite bad enough, thank you.

We all know the flu is no laughing matter. That’s why the whole country is encouraged to get flu shots – which we missed, this year. The so-called Spanish Flu Epidemic of 1918 killed more Americans than died in World War I. Because it is viral, it can be vaccinated against, with varying success because the virus is mutating constantly. But otherwise, even anti-viral medications address only the symptoms. There is no cure for the flu, just as there is no cure for the common cold or any other virus. The victim more or less just has to wear it out.

Not that I’m complaining. We didn’t avail ourselves of the vaccine that was available, and paid the price. We had ready access to healthcare providers and to the best medications and treatment options we could get. No issues there.

But the fact that influenza is still with us shows that, despite the wonderful advances in medical technology, and the promise of more to come, there remain diseases to be conquered. I suspect there always will, because viruses and bacteria evolve and mutate.

I’m told that cancer research is very promising. There was a big splash in the media recently about how a research team in Israel believes it has developed a “silver bullet” drug. I haven’t seen much reporting in follow-up, but I do know that the well-known investment blogger John Mauldin is firmly convinced that we are years – not decades, but years – from just such a break-through.

If and when that happens, it will be wonderful. Practically all of us have had cancer touch friends and family. So speed the day when there is a universal cure.

We are now in middle of continuing debate about healthcare. While some of the controversy is about access, much more is about cost.

It’s true that most of us want convenient, fully portable and effective healthcare that someone else pays for. Pardon my cynicism, but I think it’s much more realistic to look forward to a cure for cancer than to believe we’ll ever get a healthcare cost Utopia.

Goodness knows there are always plenty of politicians who will tell us we can have it. A number of them are running around now. “Medicare for all” is one of the more recent mantras. Don’t believe it.

We found out that the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) was not the solution. Neither is “medicare for all”, which will wind up as “rationing for most”. If you are looking for a single, simple solution, you are doomed to keep looking. There isn’t one.

That doesn’t mean that improvements can’t be made. Allowing health insurance to be sold across state lines is one. More use, and greater availability, of the already popular health savings accounts is another.

The hard fact is that improving healthcare is not susceptible of a “silver bullet”. Improvement will come from trying a number of innovative and common sense measures, and won’t come in any other way. We can’t vote our way into it, no matter what some will tell you.

But if in the meantime, someone finds a cure for the flu, let me know. I could’ve used it