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H1N1–No One’s Invincible

Posted Nov 13 2009 10:01pm


Even bubble-wrap can' t protect you from this pandemic.

I am honestly a terrible patient. I work so hard to stay healthy year-round (i.e., eating well, exercising regularly, limiting alcohol, etc.) that when I get sick, it feels like a slap in the face, like my body is letting me down.

While most people probably love the idea of being forced to lounge on the couch and sleep all day, as a hyper-active person, I have to admit, that makes me pretty nuts … and yet it’s exactly what I need to be doing when I’m sick.

And sick I am …

You see, when I woke up Wednesday morning (after two weeks of constant travel and very little rest), I knew something was off.

No matter how healthy I am, usually after long flights (i.e., Tuesday night, heading back east from San Diego), I end up with some kind of upper-respiratory infection; it’s come to be expected over the years.

But this time something felt different. I was feverish, achy, had a sore throat. I was coughing, had a runny nose. I was congested and freezing cold, felt weak, etc.

For a moment, I feared H1N1, but pushed those fears aside, thinking I was just caught up in the media frenzy. In reality, just seemed like a wicked, wicked cold, and I made it through the day.

But when I got home, and went to bed at 7 PM on Wed. and slept nearly 12 hours (seriously unheard of for me), and woke Thursday feeling even worse (chest even tighter, cough even deeper, head feeling like it weighed 900 lbs) I saw my doctor straight away.

After I shared my symptoms, and explained how it felt like it came on like a ton of bricks, he put on a gown and mask and did one of those in-office tests (they swab your nose–ugh!). The preliminary results (ready in 15 min.) came  back positive for H1N1.

Yup, I’m one of those statistics.

And knowing how deadly this illness can be, I’m being extra vigilant. I’m home from work til at least Monday, and I’ll need to sleep in a separate room from my husband, so as not to get him sick (especially since he leaves for a school-related trip to Germany on Sat.!). I’m washing my hands religiously, using antibac wipes on everything I touch, and am not leaving my house.

In all honesty, I don’t know that I could have prevented getting it; I think I just got “lucky.” I’ve always been pretty OCD about hand-washing, but we haven’t done our flu shots at work yet — and even if I could have had the H1N1 vaccine, I wouldn’t have been eligible for it anyway, given my age and the fact that I’m not pregnant.

So now I’m stuck at home for the next 4-5 days, on TAMIFLU (which was $50 even WITH insurance …), Robitussin DM (for the cough/congestion), and popping ColdEeze (to soothe my throat and symptoms). I’ve gone through a box of Kleenex and I’m keeping Panera Bread in business (I love their chicken noodle soup!)

Clearly, I have no energy to do much of anything, let alone exercise, which would have thrown me into a tizzy a year or two ago. And my appetite is minimal at best, ironic since as my dad always teases, “You were born hungry”!

In a way, as my mom noted to me, I think the timing was a blessing: I got sick after my trip to NJ, big work event in Chicago and conference in San Diego. It’s no fun being sick, but at least it’s after those two weeks of a ton going on.

All too often I find myself being critical of my body, but times like this, I just want my body–as it is–to heal, and will do whatever I need to in order to get better.

I’m just glad I got to the doctor early (within a day of feeling sick) and am resting and recovering at home. For people like me who can’t sit still and are always on the go …  sometimes I think being sick is actually a blessing.

Not that I wish H1N1 upon anyone (it’s quite miserable) but hopefully I caught it early enough and will be on the mend soon.

Til then, please, no oink-oink jokes. It hurts to laugh.

How about you? Have you (or your kids) been vaccinated? Have you (or your kids) gotten it yet?

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