It’s been a short-standing family tradition to get our flu shots together at Vote & Vax© on Election Day. So efficient and fun! We leave the polls with the rare feeling that, ‘We are a family who does the right things!’
This year, however, our tradition was interrupted by the flu itself, which arrived in our home a week earlier. My husband was diagnosed on October 29 and our eight-year-old daughter on Halloween morning.
How rude is that!?
It’s been a while since we saw the flu up close and it was a good reminder that it’s not nearly as fun and relaxing as you might think. I myself daydream of catching up on reading, cleaning closets, perusing catalogs, shopping for the holidays, and relaxing in a plump, clean, well-made bed.
Please note: This is a fantasy and couldn’t be further from the truth. Here is a glimpse of what the flu is really like.
The Flu is … All Consuming
The flu steals your health, your humor, your ability to do anything, your desire to shower, your ability to think straight, and really your ability to think about anything much at all. Which wreaks havoc with your conversational skills. But who cares. You have high fever, chills, weird dreams, a cough that keeps you (and everyone within a half-mile) up all night; body aches, sore throat and medicine that irritates your stomach. Some poor souls get stomach flu as well which seems unfathomable. The days are long and the nights are longer and you develop a sneaking suspicion that you might never actually get better.
For the first few days, your family is sympathetic, but after a few days, they become less generous.
The Flu is … Long
While everybody experiences the flu in different ways, expect to feel poorly for a long time. Seven to 10 days is optimistic. And even then, you’re a shadow of yourself. As our doctor told my husband, you’ll hover at 30% for a long time. Indeed. You’ll no doubt return to your life and work before you’re ready and that’s no fun. But neither is using up weeks of vacation time and returning more wan and tired than ever.
The Flu is … Lonely
When you have the flu in your home, nobody is prone to visit and you’re not allowed out. You’re in quarantine. You will miss things that are important to you and you don’t even have the energy to care. Until you’re recovered. Family members keep their distance. If you’re not the stricken ones, there’s nobody to go out with or even chat with. They’re all in bed. And when they begin to feel better, they’re glued to football highlights. You all begin to feel isolated, and bored, and more than a little cranky. Which really isn’t the best nursing style.
The Flu is … Humbling
There are four people in our family. Two got the flu. Two didn’t. Sure, we’re more obstinate than they are, but only by a little. Although we’ve all scoffed at the idea of the flu for years, recently we have a new refrain .. There but for the grace of God go we.
In Closing, a Few Short Tenets
DON’T UNDER-ESTIMATE THE FLU. As my husband brightly announced when clarity began to return several days later: “This is horrible.” He’s right.
IT’S MUCH EASIER TO GET A FLU SHOT THAN GET THE FLU. Plus, when you have the flu, the first question people ask is, “Did you get a flu shot?” And when you say, “No,” or “Not yet,” they stop feeling sorry for you. Even though you were just about to get it next week!
IF YOU GET THE FLU SHOT, AND THEN STILL GET THE FLU, it will be greatly reduced in intensity and longevity.
IF YOU WANT A DAY OR TWO OFF TO RELAX, JUST DO IT. Just don’t bring the flu along with you.
WE’RE ALL BETTER AND STRONGER THAN THE FLU. After we get the flu shot.