Saturday, February 23, 2008

Two and a half bottles of NyQuil and a half gallon of Orange Juice.

That's what I am going to remember from this bout with influenza. Of course, since it happened to me, it seems like this is the center of the universe, the biggest story of the year should be how they flubbed up the flu vaccine, and when I saw a piece about the flu season on CNN I began wondering why every major news organization wasn't leading with it.

I had been telling people that this was the most sick I have been since I last had the flu in 1997. I am revising that comment upwards, this is the sickest I have ever been in my entire life. Of course, that declaration partially reflects the fact that I have lived a life relatively free of serious illness, but I can easily see that this bug could kill people. I am a big, strong man. On Tuesday and Wednesday it took all of the strength I could muster to partially stand up to get to the bathroom.

Today, I am particularly enjoying being able to stand up straight. It feels great to straighten my spine and walk upright. This is the first time I've been able to do this in five days. I'll never take it for granted again.

I noticed last night that I felt better but I felt foggy and had a terrible taste in my mouth. I elected to see if I could go off the NyQuil because I had a niggling feeling this was more about the side effects of those meds. I was right. I woke up this morning with a clear head and a relatively pleasant tasting mouth. Thank you to the enlightened pharmacists who concocted this potion originally.

Of course, it originally had pseudophedrine in it too, but it was reformulated in 2006 so it could be sold without being logged due to the anti-meth legislation that requires all products with manufacturing precursors to bathtub speed be kept behind the counter and logged. I didn't miss the pseudophedrine, congestion wasn't a huge issue for me.

I don't know what to tell you guys about protecting yourselves from this that you don't already know. I'm pretty sure I caught it on the road to Minneapolis. I should have washed my hands more maybe, I don't know, sometimes things just happen.

I would tell you to take it seriously when you get it, but that's a bit like telling you to take the hardness of the wood of a baseball bat seriously when someone cracks you across the forehead with it. There's no way not to take it seriously. I have never slept around the clock for more than 24 hours before. I slept around the clock from Monday evening until Friday morning this week. I would wake up about once every 4-6 hours to go to the bathroom, on Tuesday and Wednesday it would take me 10-15 minutes to get partially upright in order to hold on to walls and furniture and get to the bathroom, then I would sit in there for a good 30 minutes afterward to gather up enough strength to hold on to walls and furniture in order to navigate the 20 feet back to bed. I would absolutely collapse in bed, exhausted as if I had just climbed dozens of flights of stairs and fall immediately back into a deep sleep.

Five stars to my immune system for fighting this thing back. I won't gross you out with details of my symptoms, but I wasn't having any symptoms that would suggest to me that antibiotics would have been of any use, so I just kept drinking NyQuil, sipping on water, and taking a glass of OJ every once in a while to give my body some minimal energy input.

Food? I had absolutely no interest in it. None. I went on a four day juice-fast.

I knew I was getting better when I began to dream about food. I broke the fast with crackers and peanut butter, then I had some apples and cheese. I still have yet to have a hot meal, but I went out for a wrap today at my local Starbucks clone. I now feel like a have a mild head cold, I have a nasal drip and some upper airway congestion, but this is like perfect health compared to where I have been.

I realize this is all a lot more interesting to me than you, but it really will persist as a landmark even in my life, the sickest I have ever been in my 47 years on the planet. This is one memorable flu season for me.

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