I had every intention of starting off 2014 in my most favorite of all ways- as a phoenix rising from the ashes, reborn, glorious, invigorated and raring to go. I had plans, people. I had someone to BE. At the very least, I wanted to walk my dog more, try to remember that my family were loved ones who wanted my time and attention because they loved me, not because they hated me and would stop at nothing to thwart any creative endeavor that might bring me the merest smidgen of joy. Oh, and, though I may have worded it differently in my last blog, I wanted very much to slough off some of this annoying fat that was blocking (from every conceivable angle) the view of my great body. I mean, by the time I get all this annoying chub off of me, who knows what kind of shape my poor, real body is going to be in? Global warming and pollution are the culprit, obviously…they, together, have caused strange atmospheric changes resulting in what I can only describe as “body smog”. Well, I could also describe it as “fat”, but it’s harder to blame on global warming that way. Anyway, the point is (was) that I had hopes for this year. Big ones.
None of them, not even one, included me laying in bed, alternately begging God to spare me and telling my person I would certainly be dead soon. No, seriously, I actually did start crying towards the end of day one and begged person to please not let me die. He, who is perhaps a little TOO used to my theatrics and can no longer tell the difference between a heartfelt plea for Carl’s Jr. at three a.m., and an actual desperate (though fever-fueled) appeal for help, merely sighed and rolled his eyes. He may have also brought me juice, once. Oh, don’t think I won’t remember that, buster. So, point number two- I did not intend to get sick, nor did I think I would, having taken all reasonable precautions ( Oh, yeah, up yours, flu shot.)
All around me, people were wheezing, hacking, pale as corpses save for the red rings around their nostrils…the ones who weren’t already in the throes of illness stepped gingerly through the world of sickies surrounding them, giving them so much polite space that it was actually kind of rude. Me? I whine incessantly about not feeling good, but the truth is, I have one of the most robust immune systems on the planet. In the six years person and I have been doing this…whatever this is…he has never actually seen me sick. So, I marched confidently up to, near, and stood close to every sicky in sight. I’d had my flu shot, and I work at a hospital, for Pete’s sake! My immune system is top shelf. Plus, I never get sick. Oh…except when I do. Right.
Sunday, I lay down for a nap and noticed a tickle in my throat, like dust or a little hair was on my tonsil. I tried to clear it, but nope. I took a nap. I woke up to find my nose running, eyes watering, and my head all congested. My teenaged daughter had come home the day before and slept all day and night claiming she had the “flu”, but as she bounced right out the door looking gorgeous Sunday, I blew it off. “Great” I thought, “She gave me her stupid cold.” but I was fine the rest of the day. I took my dog for a long walk Sunday, and hit the sack early….and when I woke up Monday morning, I felt like an eighty year old pile of shit. Listen, when you have the ability to work from home and you are too sick to even manage that, you are sick. Still, until about eleven or twelve that day, I believed it was bronchitis. And a headache.
I’m not sure when it became clear to me that I was dealing with something way beyond bronchitis, which I would have welcomed, gladly, over this crap, but I kept stubbornly refusing to admit it was the flu. I mean, I had my stupid flu shot! Until somewhere mid day two, when my fever climbed to 101 and my skin and bones ached so badly that there was no way I could position myself so that I didn’t hurt. In the wee hours of day three (three a.m.) I couldn’t sleep anymore, tired as I was. I couldn’t lay there hurting anymore. I had to do something! Also, I kept reflecting on the words my daughter had left me with earlier the previous night- “Like five people have DIED, mom, so, like, be careful.” to which I had responded “DIED? Healthy people? was is because they didn’t seek medical attention?” She thought for a second, and nodded, then added, “Or like, they were already in the hospital but there was nothing they could do. Okay, I have to go, love you!”
Taking strength from her misinterpretation and horrible delivery of what I assume were valid news stories, I called my local ER. “Are you guys busy?” I croaked. “Not at all.” Said the lady on the other end. “Good, I’ll be there in a few.” And I was. Now, it says something when you are willing to show up to the place that also employs you in clothes you have been wearing, sleeping and sweating profusely in for the past several days-without a bra, I might add. Nor did I brush my teeth or even attempt to mess with my hair. I just went. I got into a bed in record time, and when my doctor came in, I said “I know there’s probably nothing you can do for me, I’m just so miserable- I hurt and I can’t sleep, and I want to die.” He smiled and said (PAY ATTENTION, THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART)-
“Well, that was true, at one time…but, now, I can give you tamiflu which will fight the bug and shorten the course of your illness. Also, you need a prescription strength antiinflammatory (Naproxen, he gave me) and something to just knock you out so you can rest, like Norco ( I asked if I could have ativan instead since Norco does strange things to me). He also told me that the flu shot this year was a MISS. That they do the best they can to predict which strains will be the most virulent and widespread, and this year they seem to have gotten it wrong! So, don’t rush out for the flu shot this year, kids. It won’t hurt, but it might not help, either. Just before I left, I said something about how I don’t remember the flu being this bad , to a male nurse who was feeding me drugs. He made that face that people make when they want to disagree without being disagreeable, especially when talking to someone like me, a human of lesser intelligence (…brother), and he said “There are lots of bugs and viruses going around that seem like the flu, but aren’t.” “Oh, ” I replied, then-“same symptoms, same treatment, pretty much, lasts about the same?” to which he nodded. “So it’s basically the flu, then, if we have to call it something, right?” He nodded, gave me my pill cup, and left. Oopsie.
In closing, I would like to say several more things that will make this blog even longer: a) this blog is really long. b) I feel like shit, which is about a thousand times better than I felt yesterday, so basically, I feel awesome. And c) I would still get the flu shot, just to cover you from the other flu bugs, and perhaps lessen the length of illness, if you do get it. Oh, and d) People, there is no such thing as stomach flu. Influenza in a respiratory illness- if you are puking and crapping, you have gastroenteritis of some sort. Look it up.