I had several good chances to get a flu shot, but neglected to take advantage of them. As recently as two weeks ago, I could have had a flu shot. It’s too late now. And I’m an idiot.
On Thursday I woke up with a scratchy throat and a general feeling of malaise. You know what malaise is – it’s that general feeling that you would prefer to curl up into a ball in the corner of the bedroom than go outside. But I decided I’d better go about my day, instead — so I did. That afternoon I had an appointment to have some minor eye surgery done, so I did that instead of going to the doctor to get evaluated. By the time I got home, I had developed chest congestion, a sore throat, and a fever of 100.5 degrees, and a feeling of even worse malaise. I went to bed with some Mucinex and a couple of Excedrin, and got up Friday morning feeling even worse, but went to Missouri Southern to teach.
I came home Friday and did not go to the doctor. Here’s my excuse: “There’s not a thing they can do for me other than what I’m doing for me, so why do I want to sit in a waiting room and pay $20 to hear this?” So I spent Friday – the rest of Friday – in bed with more Mucinex, more Excedrin, and frequent gargling sessions with salt water to ease the feeling that someone had dipped my throat and chest in hot melted wax. Oh, and yes, I had a fever of 101.
Saturday I woke up feeling the same, but the fever was gone. I spent most of the day in bed, and was able to eat only Malt-O-Meal, tomato soup, and one cinnamon and brown sugar Pop Tart, with loads of tea and diet Sprite. I continued to pop the Mucinex and the Excedrin, but then decided that the Excedrin was probably a bad idea, so I dropped the Excedrin by 6 p.m. In response, I developed a pounding headache.
Sunday – today. I’m well enough to write about this, so I must be going to live. What an idiot I am for not getting the flu shot! This is a terrible disease, people. Nobody wants this. Larry, my spouse, had a shot, and he is not sick, and I’m grateful for that. But this is not something to wish on one’s worst enemy. I’m very fortunate that I’m getting better and not any worse. I still have extreme congestion in the chest area, but it is better and I’m not coughing up stuff anymore like I was. For example, on Friday and Saturday, the cough produced yellow and green stuff. Today, what little I cough up is clear. I still have a general feeling of not being well, no interest in food, and a very sore throat and a headache that would do any hangover justice. And I know that I have stressed out my immune system to the max, and that it will take some days or weeks to build it back up to what it was before. My whole body aches, partly from the coughing, which continues to be severe and rather spasmodic. I can’t even remember having anything quite like this before, but a quick look at the Internet confirmed my self-diagnosis that yes, this was influenza, and not a cold. The symptoms are classic flu:
- Sudden onset of symptoms
- Extreme tiredness
- Sore Throat
- Runny or Stuffy Nose
- Body Aches
- Lack of interest in food
Now the question is, how long will this last and when can I go back to work? I probably will be OK to go to work tomorrow. I know I SHOULD stay home, but the likelihood of my being contagious is slim (It will be five days from onset) and my fever has been gone for two days. I’m improving, not worsening, so if I make it a short day and come back home and go immediately back to bed mode, I should be fine. Or perhaps I’m still being an idiot.
Postscript: I went to Wal-Mart this afternoon, a seven-mile trip, to get the medicine for my eye that I dropped off Friday; I was too sick Friday to hang around for two hours while they filled it. I’m back home, and fine, but very tired. I still have congestion in the chest and a feeling of general exhaustion, but another thing I noticed is my smell and taste are messed up bad. I can’t taste anything sweet, and everything smells bad. I’ve had this before when I had viruses, but it definitely proves that what I have is a virus. Another thing is, my neck is sore. Not stiff — I would worry if it were stiff — just sore. That is another viral sign. I plan to lay around and rest and sleep the rest of the day.
Postscript #2: OK, I came to work today. I’m doing all right. But I’m still very tired and would have loved to stay home or rest another day. My work is not strenuous, and I’m likely not contagious (cross our fingers here). But I strongly suggest that anyone who can, stay home as long as they need to with this stuff. It is murder.