Sooner or later…… everyone gets sick

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I rang in my birthday this year curled up on the couch in the fetal position trying to survive one of the worst sinusitis infection I have ever had.

I think the source of my illness jumped across the bacterial / viral line quite a few times over that 10-14 day period! One minute I felt it was viral with the body aches, generalized pain everywhere and that energy-zapped life-less body movement thing. I swear it took everything in me just to get out of bed and fall onto the couch. I mean my eyeballs hurt to blink and the hair that I don’t have on my head hurt!

Then it transitioned to the gravity-dependent, my head is going to explode sinus-focused terror. My head felt like a 100lb dumbbell and I reveled during those very brief moments of breathing through both nostrils.

I missed a whole week of school – and that was AFTER spring break. Thankfully I didn’t miss much other than class time.

WHEW

Fast forward about 14 days and a wonderful Z-pack later. I still have some sniffles lingering -nothing like when I was down and out – but annoying none-the-less at times. I’m back at school, back to the gym, back to feeling my humanish self again.

I just wanna know where the heck did I catch that darn bug? What did I do wrong? Do differently??!!

I haven’t had a ‘head-cold’ in over 3 yrs. I quite honestly I cannot remember the last time I was ever that sick?? If I had lost my appetite I surely would have been hospital bound. Thankfully I could consume soup on a daily basis and I forced the fluids as much as I could tolerate.


As a side note – I never, ever realized how dehydrated one can get just from oozing and blowing mucus from their nostrils??!!

Sorry – overshare.


Anyhoo.. Back to me and my immune system. What the heck happened? I mean I work in a hospital. Cross many-a-paths with the sick and ill. My poor wife has battled through a couple dooozy’s of a illness over the past couple years. I’ve been exposed to H1N1. I have had my flu shot annually (including the H1N1 vaccine).

I wash my hands too much in my opinion – since my hands get so dry they crack and split at my fingertips at times.

I don’t use nor abuse the darn hand sanitizer gels (no antibiotic resistance here).

I take my vitamins. I eat right. I sleep a ‘decent’ amount (not great, but decent).

???

The only thing that was new in my ‘equation’ of life has been school. Or should I say Graduate school. I started NP school this past fall.

The only real difference I can postulate is the fact that I’m ‘burning my candle at both ends’. I took a heavy load of classes this semester. I definitely bit off more than I could chew with multiple assignments from different classes pelted at me as if it’s target practice. I commute 4 days a week to class. So my day is choc-full of deadlines on a weekly basis. I do things in ‘chunks’ since I’m either in my car or in class most of my week.

Stress.

I think the self-induced wallop of stress definitely knocked my immune system down a few notches.. And with the right combination one of those damn ‘bugs’ got me.

Ahh well. Live and learn.

Lessons learned:

  • I will never take this many graduate classes at one time ever again
  • I will not commute this many times in one week ever again
  • It doesn’t matter how healthy you think you are – the bugs are stronger
  • It doesn’t matter how strong you think you are – the bugs are stronger
  • Sooner or later…… everyone gets sick

Can you hear me now?

snuffle

Today was the first day since the inception of this darn wicked sinusitis infection that I actually had my normal voice. My infected sinus voice was a mix of Snuffaluffagus and Wolfman Jack. It wasn’t pretty.

Hard Worker or Just Hard Headed?

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Cough! Cough! Cough!

Sniffffff!

Blllfffffffssssssttttt! (That’s the sound you make blowing your nose if you didn’t know Winking)

Excuse me? Are you sick? Do you have a cold? You don’t have a case of the FLU do you?!

Waiting

Then what the HELL are you doing at work?! (I’m referencing this to my fellow nurses, but this applies to ANYONE!)

Why do we insist on going in and working when we are sick? I understand we have labeled ‘sick’ with many different levels of severity, but the bottom line is.. uuhh you’re sick.

Now I’m not talking about your typical hay-fever allergy-type runny-nose eye-watering annoyance. I mean sick. You have the body aches. You may or may not have a fever. You’re sneezing your head off. You’re cough so much your face stay a permanent shade of read and your chest and back start to hurt from all the coughing and sneezing.

This type of cold has you getting rid of all those ‘colorful’ secretions through your Kleenex. (Shades of green and yellow ring any bells?) Being truly sick and not playing hooky.

If this is you (and I used to as guilty). Then why in the world do you think going to work is a good idea?

Oh.. I see. You’ll feel guilty for ‘stiffing’ your co-workers with some added ‘work’. You hate being a burden to anyone. You know how it feels when you go to work and there is a call-off. So you hate being the person responsible. I get it.

But just how effective ARE you at work? How sharp is that fogged brain of yours? Is your medicine-head still floating? Oh, I forgot. Still sneezing and coughing in a ridiculous manner? How many times have you washed your hands in between each cough and sneeze? How many fomites have you infected with you germs? (gee I guess you want to spread the wealth?)

Wait, so you went to work to not ‘screw’ your co-workers with a burden…. buuuuut you’re now at work spreading your ‘love’ (germs) so that your co-workers can feel as great as you!

So when you DO get better, given incubation time, transmission type, immune system capabilities, and the simple game of odds, your co-worker will be the one sick! And then they will play it smart and actually call-off! Doh

So who are you really helping here?

Are you still going to work when you’re sick? I don’t.

Carpe Diem