For the past 7, or 8.. maybe 9 (I really don’t know, I’ve lost count) days I’ve been a house hobbit spending my days transferring my weight from my bed, to my couch and my office chair. I succumbed to the dreaded influenza, or as we all like to call it the ‘flu’. (I have come to fondly refer to it as death, though)
I must admit I do not remember ever being at this level of ‘sick’ before in my lifetime. Truth be told, this has taken the new top spot on just how sick my human body can really get (that is before I’m hospitalized).
I consider myself a fairly healthy guy, with a pretty strong immune system. In the past 5, maybe 10 years I think I’ve been truly ‘sick’ that required me to barricade myself in my house. It seems the current influenza strain(s) had a very different opinion of me and my so-called immune system.
As a health care provider, I was well aware that Influenza was a tad bit more severe this year. Thanks to the CDC website, and my own personal & professional experience, I knew that my neck of the woods in particular was hit hard with severe strains of Influenza. Not only was I treating many patients with refractory Influenza requiring hospitalization, but many of my friends (at least 3 or 4) were also battling the illness at home.
I also knew that the current Influenza strain was affecting the younger population more than previous years. The healthier middle-aged population was getting side-swiped with this virulent virus.
In retrospect, I was exposed to the virus QUITE a bit over the last 6 weeks. I guess I should not have been shocked when I started developing the signs and symptoms? (I can hear Home Simpson’s voice in my head…. DOH!)
Oh, and for all the naysayers out there, yes, I got the seasonal flu vaccine this season. I get the vaccine every year. Always have, always will. The flu vaccine does not prevent the flu, it doesn’t give you the flu. What it does do is increase your odds of fighting off the virus. It always has, and will always be a gamble, as the vaccine that is produced annually is based on previous disease outbreak evidence. I always get the vaccine to help stack my deck against the susceptibility of the illness.
Needless to say I’ve suffered through a week or more of this nastiness, I’ve been taking the over the counter medications like their vitamins, keeping hydrated and finally raising the white flag and seeing my PCP to make sure I don’t have some additional super-infection festering in the shadows of this darn flu illness.
My recent ‘camping’ trip on my couch over the past 8+ days has proved enlightening. I thought I’d share some thoughts with you concerning how cool it is to get the flu:
- Water tastes the same as coffee
- When you sneeze your truly understand what sinus pressure is all about
- Gravity breathing through one nare is an art and a science
- Your hair hurts.. even when your bald
- You discover a new kind of drunk – alcohol’s got nuthin’ on OTC cold meds. Word.
- The darth vader-like voice you have only pales in comparison to the 1-900 voice you acquire as the illness progresses
- You truly discover just how comfortable (or uncomfortable) your couch truly is
- You become a kleenex connoisseur
- Brushing your teeth is now a full-fledged chore
- This is the one time of the year when showering is truly optional
- You acquire a profound respect for intracranial pressure (ICP) every single time you cough – because your ICP increases so much that your eyeballs slightly pop out of their sockets each time you cough
Be safe out there everyone. Wash your hands. Get the flu shot.
Excuse me while I get another Kleenex…