Guess what I got for Christmas. SICK! Yes, on Christmas Eve day, I became ill. More specifically, I came down with the flu. Fever, chills, hot-flashes, dizziness, aches, and just that general all-over crappy feeling. We had just loaded up the van with kids, luggage, and presents and started off toward my parents’ house. Yes, my parents, the older folks who have health issues of their own and shouldn’t needlessly be exposed to germs and such.
At that point I wasn’t really feeling sick, just tired and run-down. But it was the day before Christmas. Who wasn’t? The Oldest was behind the wheel, gaining some needed experience to go with his driving permit. I was the responsible Adult Relative riding shotgun, making sure he was following the laws, etc. This meant my beloved husband was in the very back row of our twelve passenger van, leisurely reading a book. About 20 minutes after departure, we had our first request for a bathroom break. It was then, while waiting inside the store for our restroom user to finish…um…resting, that I had had my first icky moment. Everything suddenly seemed all floaty and surreal. I must have looked the part, too, because I was asked by a store clerk if I needed help. “Simply a head cold,” I told myself as we loaded back in the van, this time with me in the back.
Now my son is a fairly good driver, but he is still inexperienced. The little adjustments and lane changes aren’t as smooth as they will be one day. At this point in time, however, these corrections can feel a bit sudden and jerky, especially when riding in the back of a twelve-passenger van. When I asked for another pit-stop, my husband assumed I wasn’t feeling well because of the rough ride (it wasn’t, I just needed to pee). I asked my husband if I felt hot because I was fairly certain I had a slight fever. He briefly put his hand to my forehead as we stood on the windy sidewalk at the rest stop and assured me I didn’t. Yeah, right, I thought. We were not quite to the halfway point to my parents. I contemplated turning around and heading home, but I knew how excited they were to see us so we trekked onward.
That last stretch of the trip was miserable. As soon as we arrived at my parents I waved at them (sparing the germs that could possibly attack them if I offered my usual hug), confirmed which bed I would be sleeping in, and crawled under the covers, consumed by feelings of fever, chills, and exhaustion. As I curled up in the fetal position, I admitted to myself that these were flu-like symptoms.
As I tossed, turned, and dozed, my husband took on all of the jobs that had been awaiting me: grocery shopping, cooking, and preparing a meal and table for twelve, as well as his usual unpacking, etc. And, with the help of the children, he did so beautifully. My brother, his wife, and her sister arrived, and they all had a lovely dinner at the dining room table, while I enjoyed the same lovely dinner in bed. I was able to wrap myself up in a blanket and plop into a chair on the fringe of action in the living room during gift opening, although I was feeling quite miserable. Occasionally, someone would plop a package into my lap, which I would open after several minutes of mustering up the strength to open the gift bag. Despite me, I think everyone had a nice evening.
On Christmas morning, I was still the same: feverish, achy, chills, sweats, etc. (thankfully, never any tummy issues). This time, it was just my husband, kids, and parents. I wandered a bit deeper into the living room, setting up camp in a recliner. A few more presents. Stockings. Christmas stuff. Then it was time for church. Oh, how I hated missing Christmas Mass! But I knew it was for the best. I sat in the recliner coaching my husband and oldest daughter on what was packed for everyone to wear. After they left, I trudged back to bed where I spent the rest of the day drifting in and out of sleep, taking Motrin and Tylenol, and occasionally wandering out to the living room to see the family (after all, it was Christmas day).
On the third day of illness, the flu bug gave to me…a trip to the doctor. Finally! You would think I would have gone the first day. I usually would have, but getting sick at Christmastime is very inconvenient. I don’t recommend it. After the typical uncomfortable wait in a walk-in clinic, staring at several other people who looked just like I did, and at others who harbored unknown illnesses to which I was now potentially exposed, I eventually saw the doctor. I was able to walk out clutching a handful of prescriptions in one hand and my husband’s arm with the other, as I was still a bit dizzy (no jokes from the peanut gallery).
The next day, Saturday, as the drugs were building in my system, I started feeling better for short periods of time, but would again slip into The Great Ick. We left my parents (this time, we took our chances and actually hugged) and headed home where I have set up camp in my own bedroom. Feasting on prescriptions and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches lovingly made by my children, I am slowly starting to feel better. In between naps, I have been able to spend my days electronically killing zombies, leading water to a waiting alligator, and dressing up models in clothing.
Today is…well, heck, I don’t know what day it is, but I feel a whole lot better. I have been out of my room, gotten dressed in real clothing, done a few motherly things, and even ran an errand with my 16-year old chauffer. I haven’t had a fever in over 36 hours, and the only symptom I have left is a cough. Oh, and fatigue, but you have to expect that from someone who has been in bed a week! It will be some time before I am back to my usual self.
Through this constant bout with the flu, my trusty companion Mr. K. has been by my side. At a time when my loved-ones (the people kind) were told to keep away for fear of catching my illness, the dog kept me company. Just feeling his little paws on my legs as he climbed over to settle in behind my knees gave my heart a chance to smile at a time when my face was too weak to. Frankly, a little dog alone isn’t much company on the biggest holiday of the year, but I am glad we were vigilant about the family getting too close to me. No one else in the family is sick. There were times at my parents’ house when I was certain the Oldest or the Curly Girlie would get it because they spent a lot of time in the bedroom with me watching TV, but so far, so good.
I really hope this is the end of the flu for me and it doesn’t happen to anyone else in the family. I still stand by previous PSA about getting a flu shot, but I also want to stress get to the doctor soon if you feel you are getting sick. They told me that Tamiflu works if you get it within 2-3 days of the onset of symptoms. I was pushing the 3-day mark, and I have a hunch it would have helped more if I could have had it sooner.
The saddest part about this Unwanted Christmas Present is that it didn’t come with a gift receipt so I was stuck with it.
Merry Christmas, everyone!