Monday, February 21, 2011

If I had three grand to throw around...

...I'd wear these even in my sleep! Stephanie D., I know you'll understand :)

A Formidable Flu

After six long days spent under the thumb some mysterious, rogue, RELENTLESS illness, I am finally back out in the land of the living and feeling like myself again. I am delighted that the days of shivering, sweating, snorting, aching, and (almost) hacking are finally behind me.

I picked up the bug from my sister, who had been nursing her two toddlers back to good health from the same thing when she and I had lunch last week. A day before she became symptomatic herself. I dropped within another day or two.

It was probably the second most awful bug I've had in years (the first was a frightening throat infection I had last May that just about landed me in the hospital and had several doctors baffled for a few days), but the timing of it made me feel like an utter jerk for even complaining. My 91-year-old granddad recently injured his back and has spent the past two weeks in agonizing pain, barely able to care for himself, much less rest or even get comfortable. His injury has shaken the family, prompting my parents to all but drop their own day-to-day lives to make multiple trips to his house each day to care for him. The incredible pain makes him (as it would anyone else) forgetful, obstinate, and altogether an uneasy patient. And although I made fast plans to visit for the weekend to try and relieve my parents from some of the duties so they could rest and regroup, the sudden onslaught of fever and general respiratory mayhem forced me to stay home and keep from adding to their problems. Same for my sister (although the other one was able to make it in, and I'm going to try again this weekend).

So my granddad and parents are facing real and mounting medical issues, and I was stuck on my couch - shaking, sweating, aching, hacking - feeling guilty and miserable at the same time.

I finally broke down and went to a clinic to find out why I wasn't improving by Day 4, and the NP informed me that I probably have the flu and was developing a secondary sinus infection (fabulous). She gave me drugs for the latter and told me to sit tight and "drink lots of liquids." Feeling less guilty about feeling miserable with this new scary-virus label that I could assign to my symptoms, I picked up my meds and returned to my sickbed(couch).

However, my sister immediately asked me, upon my informing her of the grave nature of my now-diagnosed illness, "Did they test you for flu?" Which really ruined it, because - of course - they hadn't tested me. I hadn't even known they could. I was so perturbed by that fact that I almost went back to the clinic to make them test me. For bragging rights only. The NP already informed me that if I have the flu, it was probably too late to bother with an antiviral like Tamiflu because I was already so far into the thing. I'm confident that she didn't test me because it would've just been for funsies, and it was more important to focus on keeping the sinus infection from getting worse.

So while the rest of my family suffers from "real" problems, as in the kind that land people in hospitals and may require surgery, I am left to slog around with my "maybe-flu" for a few more days. I feel ridiculous for complaining about my symptoms to my mother, who has more than enough on her plate, so I assault my sister with a barrage of text-messaged details about my hour-by-hour progress (which improves leaps and bounds once the virus symptoms fade and the antibiotics go to work on the secondary infection). Bless her, she is very sympathetic and patient :)

It's stupid, I know, but I would've felt better about complaining if I'd just tested positive and been affirmatively diagnosed with the flu. I feel pretty confident that it was the flu, for what it's worth - the symptoms were pretty classic, and the NP didn't seem to consider the fact that it could reasonably be anything else. And the point is that - flu or otherwise - it was bad, and I was really sick, and anyone who saw me in the throes of it would've turned on their heel and walked quickly out of breathing-distance to avoid getting it.

So I'm calling it the flu from now on, tests be damned. And next year, I'll be getting the shot to make sure this doesn't happen again! And I can't wait to see my family this weekend - hopefully we are all much improved. :)