Wednesday, May 31, 2006

I now get the deadly flu epidemic of the 1910's

I used to always think it was kind of a joke (sorry, not right way to word it) that so many people died back in the 1910s and 1920s with the flu, which seems like such a nothing.

Now I understand. I am never going to skip a flu shot ever again, for as long as I live Warning: graphic descriptions of grossness ahead.
I've spent the last week in agony, horking my guts up. Incredible headaches (comparable to what i experienced w/meningitis, and they used to give me morphine derivatives for that), epic vomiting (I never knew a person could hork so many times in one night), weakness of the whole body, chills --but with no noticeable fever, weirdly, disturbances of the visual field. The most weird thing: my eyeballs hurt. They really, really hurt. Sensitivity to sound, blah blah blah...

I learned that if you go to my doctor's in mismatched pajamas and a bathrobe, holding what is obviously a vomit bowl, they will take you to a special examination room where there is a bed, and they will put a blanket over you. Then Dr. Scott will send a nurse in to give you a shot to stop your vomiting before she does the exam. Also, Dr. Scott can only stop your vomiting, and that is all she can do. But then she will get your husband and tell him how to take you the secret back way and inform him to take you home BEFORE you go to get her prescription for more antivomiting meds filled.

I haven't taken a shower in over a week. I haven't sent an email in a week. (sorry extra gross ahead) I must have thrown up over 75 times before I felt strong enough to brush my teeth. I went several days without eating at all. I haven't felt well enough to read the newspaper or put on lipstick... things I normally freak out if I can't do.
There's not much worse than having to see the person who drives you the most insane (my mother-in-law) while you are lying on a couch, contacts out, face unwashed for days, teeth unbrushed for days (did I mention all that vomiting), and all you want in the world is for the pain to just stop. Oh, and I'm the most sober housewife around, not having had a drink in about a week and a half.

I've done nothing since last Wed. afternoon around the house (oh, unless you count that I wiped up a scary mess I made in the bathroom). Anton's starting to whine that he hasn't been able to do any work, but I just fixed him with an evil eye and said, "Don't you dare give me a guilt trip." There was no question in anyone's mind that he was going to have to stay home from work. The icing on the cake: Lucy had Coxsackie disease over the weekend, too.

I spent Wed. p.m. through Fri. a.m. lying on my bed, except with vomit breaks, until I was no longer able to rest, then move to couch A, then to couch B, then back to the bed, stopping only for vomit breaks. The worst was Thurs. night, when I threw up several times every half an hour all night.

My ambition tomorrow is to takea shower and wash my hair. This is the first day I've been able to get on my feet and do a few things, but I didn't get dressed, and I didn't feel steady enough on my feet to risk the shower.

This has honestly been worse than all but the first time i had meningitis. Anton, who has seen me through three surgeries and two wretched pregnancies, says it's the most sick I've ever been in the 10 years he's known me. He's convinced, oh tactful husband, that I must have a brain tumor, because there's just no way I could be this sick from the flu. Thank god I'm not a hypochondriac.

Anyhow, I now get it how people, like a friend's great-grandmother, died of flu back before they had anti-emetics. I'm never going to skip a flu shot again, (and yes, I do know that they are not guaranteed to work against the prevailing strain, but I'm not going to take any extra chances).
Anton did okay running the household, but he forgot about a birthday party which Lucy really wanted to go to. He didn't check the calendar I keep. He was unable to get much work done, but it was a holiday weekend, so that might not be so unusual.. Our poor rehabbing inmate moved into the garage because I was spending a lot of time on the couches with my vomit bowl. He seems to be happy down there, funnily enough.

Fuck, I never really had a world class flu before, but I'll never take it lightly again. Isn't flu season supposed to be over, anyhow?


Anonymous said...

Oh God, Carole! I'm so glad things are starting to get a bit better for you... though you know it will be weeks before life starts to feel normal again. I remember having a similar flu back in 93 while in college. It was the sickest I've ever been.


Anonymous said...

Hi Carole! I hope you are quickly on the mend! Sounds like a horrible flu! Thanks for sending the link to your blog. I'm having lots of fun reading it!

Susan (from "the board")