Monday, May 18, 2009

The Flu and I

This is on a personal note . . .

I couldn't be more surprised. I am all but certain that I have the influenza--maybe not H1N1, but still, influenza. Tomorrow I'm calling my doctor and my workplace health office to see if either of them want to confirm that by lab analysis. I'm not seeking sympathy, but sharing this information since the influenza news has predictably died off lately. For the past week I've enjoyed some time off work. I planted my flowers, worked on my "collections of things," and even cooked some pretty good family meals for the three of us. I haven't been around any patients for over a week, and even then none of them had flu-like symptoms . . .

My son had a nagging cough recently that resolved without incident . . . he gets some seasonal allergies to the Illinois pollen. After all he grew up in a desert for the first 3/4 of his life. We weren't fortunate enough to have a yard full of trees and flowers--and it was a challenge to even raise grass (lots of water goes on the lawns of El Paso, TX).

My husband got a bit of a nagging cough days after our son was over his completely. I think he picked it up from his buddies at work--the other postal carriers? I felt immune to it; just thought he wasn't quite up to par and, in retrospect, I could have been more sympathetic. : (

Now--husband's symptoms not quite gone and I was ready to go up to Western Illinois to visit my folks for the weekend, when I noticed late Thursday night that something was coming on.

It started with that little tickle behind the breast bone that makes you feel like you should cough--but you can't really produce one. Then that feeling of "yuckiness" that overcomes you with the flu. Next morning, bad headache that was hard to get a handle on despite the ibuprofen and over-the-counter flu meds. Sore throat and a deeper, productive cough joined the symptoms, as did large muscle aches like the thighs, lower legs, back and abdomen. When I look in the mirror my face is pale yellowish and my tongue is white--all signs that, yes, I am sick!!! I thought I might start to feel better today, Sunday--but now the body aches and fever are here. Brrrr! So far just a low-grade temp of 100.6 F . . . I doubt this is the H1N1 (Swine Flu). I checked the national pandemic flu prevalence website and learned the prevalence of diagnosed cases is low in my area. Interestingly, in a press conference last week the CDC acknowledged an unexpected spike in non-H1N1, seasonal influenza.

Did I follow my own advice?

Yes, I pretty much covered all the bases in after writing about the H1N1 (Swine flu) a few weeks ago. I'm avoiding public spaces and particularly vulnerable people (like my aging folks and the auction crowds.) The chicken soup and lemonade have been most satisfying as was a heaping scoop of mashed potatoes and gravy from KFC. Decreased appetite is huge. My Diet Pepsi is not even as appealing as usual . . .

Links to my flu blog articles: my influenza flu blog articles.

What I would do differently:
  • I didn't buy any Popsicles and I really, really want some for my throat!
  • We (my husband) had to replenish our supply of over-the-counter flu-type remedies
  • We also had to stock up on more ibuprofen and Tylenol (remember--NO ASPIRIN with flu-like symptoms--particularly for children)

What to do to prevent the flu?

Obviously avoid me for the next few days . . . Be careful with public surfaces. My husband said he had to wait in line at the grocery store today for a cart--not because of a lack of carts, but because the customers were dilagently wiping down the handles with those bleach-type wipes they have onhand. In an abudance of caution, many high schools and universities are foregoing the traditional graduation handshake at commencement this year to avoid spreading the flu virus!!

Wow! Here's hoping you all stay well . . . and a public "thank you" to my husband for nursing the nurse during my flu-like symptoms. He's doing great now, by the way!

**Follow up at 2 in the afternoon the following day--after a night of fever up to 103. I'm awake & at my normal 96.8 . . . still not well by a long shot . . . have the very productive frequent cough. I could sure give a specimen for lab analysis, but no one is doing flu surveillance via lab analysis here unless the patient is hospitalized . . . My doctor's office in our little town was not surprised--said we've had plenty of flu in our little town recently . . . first I've heard about it . . .

. . .

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