One day, many years ago, I had an work day filled with meetings that took place just down the hall from my office. I noticed around lunch that my throat was sore and as the afternoon progressed, I began to feel worse, but wrote it off to a cold/sinus thing/nothing major. By the end of the last meeting, I felt the only way I could get back to my office was to crawl as the pain was so intense, my brain felt so fried, and I was so exhausted I did not have the strength to go on. When I got to my office, I began to feel a sense of delirium and began frantically looking for my purse, because, I knew, if I could just get home, I would be ok. About this time my friend, Denise called to see what my plans were. I explained that there was something seriously wrong with me, to the point that I could not even find my purse in my small office.
Since our field was working with the disabled, she felt qualified to come provide assistance by diagnosing my ailment and send me to the pharmacy after she helped me find my purse. By the time she arrived, I must have looked like I was in quite a state, because she immediately diagnosed that I needed help. Since we could not find my purse and could not get into my house or car, she took me to ER. Even though she had two small children needing her at home, she did not dump me off there, but phoned my parents, and stayed till they arrived. I only know these details because she told me later. I was convinced I was about to pass, and it just could not happen soon enough as I wanted the misery to end.
The diagnosis? The flu.
Even with having endured sinus surgery, brain surgery, and multiple eye surgeries, I had never felt as badly as I felt that night. I remember trying to explain it must be something much worse, but the doctor was correct and sent me home. Only with no house or car keys, my parents took me home, Dad broke into my house, and after getting prescriptions filled, began the process of getting new keys and the window replaced that was broken to obtain access to my house. I know all of this only because they told me because all I did was fall into my bed and woke up several days later.
At my next job, my boss announced in the summer that we would be giving flu shots. I don't know if that was the first time I knew about a shot to prevent the flu, but he warned they were a difficult sale as most people refused to get the shot. I did a ton of research and was shocked at what I learned on the high incidence of death as a result of the flu! Because of this and my own experience, I embraced the events, joined immunization coalitions, educated others,, and I began to do whatever it took to get people to get the flu shot, even rewarding them if they would just get it!
So when I became a mom and the option of having my child immunized against the flu came up, I was quick to sign up.
For the last eight years we managed to avoid the flu.
This year, when the immunization coalitions started sending ominous messages about a really bad flu season, I got my girls in line to get there shots and then breathed a sigh of relief that we would be missed. Except, we weren't. This year has been different from all the other years. Everywhere you go you hear coughing, sneezing, blowing their noses. It made you wish you could either wear a bubble to protect you or else spray shots of Lysol everywhere you go. Everyone has someone in their family who is sick or knows someone who is. Even after having the shot, people are still getting sick. I upped our defense and made everyone eat 2 oranges a day in addition to vegetables and other fruits, as well as vitamins. First my Dad got it. Then my Mom. Then my great niece got it before she could get the booster for babies.
I held my breath sure that it would pass us, but last Wednesday, when Grace told me her skin hurt and her throat was sore, I had a sinking feeling. There aren't a lot of things that can affect your whole body that even your skin hurts, accompanied by a fever. Someone who had been through it sent me a message to get her to the doctor. I am so glad I listened to their advice and hated to but I dragged her to the doctor where it was confirmed, she did have the flu. Tamiflu was prescribed, along with bedrest, liquids, and time.
Time. I have to say that is the hardest part. She still hasn't been able to go back to school and some symptoms seem even worse than they did last week.
One of the big differences in the flu season this year is the ability to see what is going on in other families via Facebook. I keep seeing the desperate messages posted by moms regarding their children's illnesses, then their own, and you just have to feel for them. But it does help to know you aren't alone.
Here's hoping you can escape and keep your family well too!