It’s Sunday. A beautiful Sunday I might add. It’s bright and sunny outside, but the chill tells another story. I can hear the soothing sounds of muffled cars at the busy intersection less than a mile away. Slightly louder than the lulling traffic sounds is the gentle buzzing of the heater and the melodramatic scenes of “The Family”. At this very moment, I can breathe out of my nose, my chest doesn’t ache. My joints aren’t sore and I’m awake despite feeling fatigued.
I have the flu.
Thursday was a normal day. I woke up, got the kids ready, kissed the mister as he ran out the door. I ate oatmeal for breakfast and packed a sandwich for lunch. Thursday was a blur, but in a good, steadily busy way. I came home, the family went to the YMCA, we worked out, ate dinner, and watched our weekly ABC T.G.I.T roundup. Aside from the annoying itchy throat, I felt fine. Normal as usual.
The alarm clock rang right on time, 7:00 a.m. I laid in the bed for a little while longer. Maybe it was the Benadryl and late night, but I was tired. My throat felt worse, my body was a little sore. I had a slight headache. I attempted to get the kids ready, but I just couldn’t. Too tired. Jai’la (4) noticed I wasn’t feeling well and cradled my head in her little arms. She’s so sweet and aware of people and their needs. Jai came into the room and noticed I was ill. I called out of work and slept the entire day.
By Saturday, my sore throat was better, but everything else was worse. I had an unbearable cough. I’d cough deeply and couldn’t catch my breath. My eyes would turn red and tear up, my nose would run. My temperature reached 101.7 with chills. No combination of blankets, sweatpants, hoodie, and socks could keep me warm. Jai took me to the ER and within seconds of taking a nasal swab, my specimen “popped hot”, military slang for positive. The ER physician was amused and shared a laugh with my husband at how fast my sample tested for influenza. A test that usually yields results in 15-20 minutes was positive within seconds.
We’ve accomplished many things in medicine. Treating Influenza isn’t one. Tamiflu was prescribed and can reduce the illness by 0.5-1 day with the possible side effects of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. I do feel better with my first dose of Tamiflu with Tylenol and Motrin in rotation, but I dare not attempt to survive the day without medication. I would not survive.
My advice to you is to get the flu vaccination. Unless you’re allergic to eggs, or are chronically ill, or have a suppressed immune system, you definitely should get the flu vaccination. My work with kids in the school setting exposes me to all things: lice, strep throat, ringworm, MRSA, viruses, etc. My younger kids are required to have the flu shot in order to attend the daycare on post. Most elementary schools provide flu shots which is why my oldest stays vaccinated. But this year, I don’t know what happened. Maybe between moving, graduate school, and starting a new job in a new city, the flu shot was forgotten.
The one time I did not get the flu shot is the first time I get the flu.
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