However, I delayed too long and in mid-January, the bloggers were asking each other what the topic for the month is, and somehow in the course of the discussion, the topic switched to: NEW BEGINNINGS. It's nice to know that other people have memories as bad as mine. Since I am becoming accustomed to the vagaries of growing older, one of which is that I forget absolutely EVERYTHING, I've gotten in the habit of keeping almost every email I receive. Then I just have to remind myself to look at those emails when I want to remember something. Unfortunately, due to a really bad case of the flu that sidelined me for three weeks and then an auto accident that sidelined me for another week, I completely missed out on the discussion among my fellow bloggers about the January topic. By the time I got around to reading that particular set of emails, the topic had already changed.
So NEW BEGINNINGS it is. And I gotta tell you, I'm ready for a new beginning because quite frankly, the beginning of this year has pretty much sucked. In the previous paragraph I mentioned my bad case of flu. First, let me say that I am seldom sick. I will admit to being accident prone and to constantly being sidelined by really weird things (a brown recluse spider bite, receiving a concussion from my cat, receiving a concussion by falling in an elevator, having three pairs of broken glasses within a few days courtesy of my sharpei), but I almost am never actually sick. I may run a fever and be miserable for a day or two, but I can usually function, and certainly am never affected for more than a couple of days.
However, the Sunday before Christmas, I woke up with the worst case of flu I've ever had. My throat hurt like the dickens; I couldn't stop coughing; my head ached; my eyes hurt; I couldn't sit up without getting dizzy; I lost my voice; my temperature was spiking, and I couldn't concentrate on anything. I slept all day Sunday and woke up on Christmas Eve feeling even worse, which I'd have been willing to bet wasn't possible. So I slept all day Christmas Eve and woke up on Christmas Day feeling worse still.
[***Extremely long, boring passage about my illness moved to the bottom of this post in case someone REALLY wants to read about my three weeks of misery. I would delete it entirely, but it does have a few gems in it, such as the bit about the cats. Besides, I need to get some kind of play out of being sick for three whole weeks!]
What was I supposed to be writing about? Oh yeah, NEW BEGINNINGS. So now that I've mostly recovered from the flu (I still have a lot of congestion and a cough) and I've survived wrecking my [new] car in Austin, I am going to pretend that January just didn't happen. My 2008 is going to start in February (which is why I am writing January's blog in February!) This month I am going to write a Nobel winning novel, lose 150 pounds, earn one million dollars and achieve world peace. And next month I'm going to come back and tell you all about how I did it.
***[Here is the passage I removed in case any of you are gluttons of punishment enough to actually want to read it.]
The day after Christmas my daughter drove me to a doctor (not my regular one) who stuck a stick up my nose and then comfortingly told me, "Yep, you've got the flu. If you'd gotten here in the first 48 hours, we could have given you a shot and taken care of it, but since you waited, you'll just have to let it run its course." Like I purposely planned to get the flu on the Sunday before Christmas when the doctor's office was closed.
He assured me that I should be on the downward slope and would be feeling better in a few days, so I went home and crawled back in bed… where I stayed for the next seven days. I had no choice; if I tried to get out of bed I couldn't remain upright for more than a split second or so. I actually had to sleep sitting propped up on pillows because my lungs were so congested I couldn't breathe any other way. One time I woke up and I had four of our six cats curled up on top of me, enjoying the radiant warmth from my body (humans running temps of more than 100 make great heated mattresses!)
On New Year's Day I was still sick and was worried because I was supposed to resume my day job the next day. By this point I had been bedridden (and voiceless) for 10 days, most of which passed in a sleep-induced haze. When I woke up the day after New Year's, I immediately realized that there was no way I was going to make it back to work, so again I went to the doctor, this time seeing my regular doctor who was absolutely thrilled that I had an officially verified case of the flu. I was his first
official case this year he announced happily. I guess doctors run a pool on things like that.
However he agreed with the previous doctor that it was too late for me to receive any anti-flu wonder drugs, although he did give me a vitamin shot and a steroid shot to help dry up my congestion so I could at least get my voice back and bolster my immune system. He also said that I would not be able to return to my day job until Monday at the earliest, if then.
So back home I went and crawled back into bed, where I pretty much stayed until Sunday night, which was the 15th day of my illness. The next day I got up and dragged myself to work to attend a majorly important meeting. After the meeting I came home and went back to bed. The next day I tried again. I lasted two hours, then started vomiting and decided I'd better come back home. Wednesday I managed to make it through the morning, barely, although I don't think I actually accomplished much. I mostly sat at my computer with my head reeling, wondering if I should go home or not.
Thursday morning things finally shifted. I stood without dizziness for the first time in 19 days. My voice, although weak, was back, and I noticed a weird, strange feeling. After a few minutes of introspection, I realized what it was-- I actually felt kind of good. My body didn't ache; my throat wasn't sore, and my head was actually sort of clear. Although weak and somewhat wobbly, I was able to get through the final days of the work week without coming home early.
At first when people asked me what was wrong and I replied that I had the flu, I would get kind of an incredulous, "Oh, just the flu?" sort of response. However, I have started hearing of other people who, like me, missed the 48 hour threshold and ended up being knocked out of commission for two weeks or more by the flu.
In our society we are used to the miracles of modern medicine. Got the flu? Get a shot and get cured. Got pneumonia? Take antibiotics and get cured. Got gallstones? Have band-aid surgery and get cured.
We forget that the flu used to kill millions of people, that it used to be considered a very serious disease. I won't say I was ever afraid for my life during my three week battle, but I was concerned that I would develop a secondary infection of some type that would lengthen the duration of my illness.
We take a lot of things for granted in our world today, and I am certainly not going to make a resolution to stop doing so. I LIKE the knowledge that… (This is where I interrupted myself and got back to the topic of NEW BEGINNINGS).