The other day, I attended a Good Friday service at church and washed the tile floors in my house. All in the same day. Without a nap. This may not seem like a huge achievement. However, it had been a week since I had been able to manage more than one or two tasks a day, including taking a shower, without spending an hour or two in bed afterwards.
You see, I flew home from California the preceding Friday. I also flu home from California the preceding Friday. After a delightful trip (more about the trip itself in the coming weeks), I came home with the flu.
In retrospect, maybe I was coming down with it even sooner. Around Wednesday afternoon during our trip, I lost my appetite. Losing my appetite is not something that happens to me very often, unfortunately. I didn’t stop eating or feel nauseous exactly. I just didn’t feel hungry and nothing sounded appealing. I put it down to the fact that I had been eating everything in sight since we got to California on Saturday. I’d eaten more red meat in the first five days we were there, thanks to the accessibility of In and Out Burger, than I typically eat in five months put together. I figured my body was just politely advising me that it was satisfied, thank you very much. On the way home on the plane, I felt bone-weary. I don’t think I read much or did anything to stave off boredom on either of the two legs of the trip. I kind of just stared into space mindlessly, too exhausted to form an idea. Oh, I did form the idea that I hated the fact that I had to drive home from the airport through the dark and rain when we finally landed in Orlando. Again, it didn’t occur to me that I was sick. I figured it was just the travel and not sleeping well on vacation that was creating my lethargy. When we finally reached Orlando and got the car out of valet hock, I sucked it up and got us home safely.
I fell into bed and slept for about twelve straight hours. The next day, I felt okay but still tired and without an appetite. Saturday night, I didn’t sleep. At first, I thought it was because I slept so much the night before, but I realized aches in my body were keeping me awake. I went to the Palm Sunday service that morning, but I was definitely off. The weather inside my body seemed very unstable and bore no resemblance to the temperature experienced by the rest of the world. I felt exceptionally confused. I am not the brightest bulb in the chandelier, but I can usually find my way to church and recognize people I know. Not so much on Palm Sunday. I felt like I had somehow entered a novel or movie in mid-chapter. Nothing looked or felt familiar. Yes, I did recognize people at church I know well, but there were people I see all the time that just baffled me.
That afternoon, the chills and aches started the battle cries. I faced the fact. I was sick.
After sleeping the sleep of the dead again on Sunday night, I dragged myself out of bed long enough to call the doctor on Monday morning. Max drove me to the doctor’s office since it finally sunk in that I probably should not be driving. I was too sick to even get giddy over the fact I had lost five pounds since before I left on vacation (loss of appetite has some benefits!). The doctor took one look at me and asked, “didn’t you get a flu shot?” When I responded that I had not, she conducted a brief examination. I left with a diagnosis- the flu, a prescription for Tamiflu, a warning that I was probably too far along in to the flu infection for the drug to do much good, orders to rest, and advice to eat whatever I wanted. Never, ever in my life has anyone advised me to eat anything I wanted. It would happen at a time when I didn’t want to eat anything.
I spent the next several days in a fevered haze of sleep, trashy tv, and not much else that I recall. I remember telling my brother I had the flu and he mocked me for not getting a flu shot, at my advanced age.
I’ve never had a flu shot in my life. I have not had the flu since I was 14 years old. It isn’t that I have any philosophical objections to vaccines or anything. I just have a philosophical objection to needles. As a diabetic, I punch holes in myself several times a day to test my blood sugar. I think I do my duty in the needle department. I did flirt with the idea of getting a flu shot when my mom was in the skilled living facility because I didn’t want to infect the residents and staff if I got the flu. I looked at my past history and decided, if it isn’t broken…. Don’t break it.
Thursday, I got a little cocky. I did my food delivery route, went to the grocery store, cleaned the kitchen, and went to the Maundy Thursday evening church service. I did not take my requisite nap between activities. I ended up having to leave the church in the middle of the service, convinced that I would not make it home in one piece if I did not act quickly to get to a bed. I did make it to the bed and once more set a new personal best for sleeping.
I’m better now. I am starting to feel hungry again. I am still sleeping rather a lot, but I am making it out of bed before the clock strikes “pm.” I think I may live.
Getting sick on vacation is no fun and is major inconvenient. It does happen, however. So far, I’ve been pretty lucky and have managed to get through most of my travels unscathed. Unfortunately, not this time. Oh, phlooey!
Do you get a flu shot? How long has it been since you got the flu? Do you think vacation has a way of opening you up to sickness? Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a healthy day!
PS Now that I have returned to the land of the living, I have a lot to share about my trip. I will be blogging more about it over the next couple of weeks.