If Philip calls home from Runza to ask me if I'd like anything, I'm going to tell him I'd like to die.
I'm that sick.
Yesterday morning, shortly after I gave up on sleeping, I took a bath. I wanted to warm up (I was in one of my 'freezing cold' moments), and I wanted to inhale some of the boys' soothing vapor bath. Well, I poured a generous amount of vapor stuff into the water, but I couldn't smell even the tiniest whiff of it myself. I stayed in the bath for a very, very long time, and I shaved my legs. I did a bunch of thinking about my sickness while I was in there, too. Finally, I forced myself to get out.
Leaving the bathroom was painful. The air inside the bathroom had been delightfully moist and soothing to my nasal passages. Even though the humidistat in the house is set for as "wet" as it can possibly be, the air feels extremely dry. My ears were throbbing and aching as I walked, the air feeling as though it were whooshing
by, so put on a pair of earmuffs. It helped with the ache a little, at least keeping the air a constant and warm temperature.
I really, truly thought I just had a bad cold. However, I've been known to have colds turn into sinus or ear infections before (granted, it usually takes a few days longer to do so), and I figured that might be what was happening. Because I know that a cold has to work itself out, I didn't want to go in to see the doctor. But because I also know that sinus/ear infections need antibiotics, I did. See the dilemma?
So I began getting dressed. I started the car to let it warm up, and I woke Philip. I bumped into a few things as he followed me down the hall (my balance seemed to be getting worse the more my ears hurt), and he offered to drive me. I shook my head no, and I got in the car. When I arrived at the Urgent Care clinic, I filled out the necessary paperwork and then waited. I took a bit of tatting, but I was too exhausted to concentrate on it. I wore earmuffs the entire time, and I'm sure I looked insane to the other folks in the waiting room. No matter - it felt better, and it helped to stifle a bit of the painful noise from the televsision. After an hour, the nurse called me back.
He took all my vitals and listed all of my symptoms. I was running a temp of 102.3°, and I told him that my fever had been running like clockwork. I had been taking ibuprofen every four hours, and it would only work for about an hour and a half before the fever would spike back up again. I told him how the coughing had become so frequent and so bad that I was now crying each time I coughed, and the tears only added to the mucous and throat pain. I explained to him the pain in my ears, but I told him I was baffled by the mucous. If I had a sinus infection, it was unlike any I'd ever had before, as my snot was clear as could be. He left, promising me that the doctor would be in soon.
While I waited, my throat began to hurt even more. The air inside the room was so
. I thought I tasted blood, and I put my thumb inside my mouth to check. Sure enough, my throat was so dry that it had begun bleeding, as well as the roof of my mouth. After twenty minutes, I couldn't take it anymore, and I went out into the hallway to ask if I could use the restroom. The nursing staff let me back into the waiting room, and I ducked into a bathroom. Ahhh, the bathroom seemed to have so much more humidity. Really, I thought that I could sit on the toilet forever, just to breathe in the nicer, wetter air. I was sad to leave the restroom and go back to waiting. On my way back to the examination room, I asked the nursing staff for a mask, and they fished one up for me. My throat experienced instant bliss as soon as I slipped it over my face - hot, steamy air!
When the doctor entered, I'm sure I was a sight: wearing my coat (I was freezing again), donned in earmuffs, and my face virtually covered by a mask. She gave me a sympathetic smile and began examining me and asking questions. I was in absolute disbelief when she told me that my ears were completely clear... then why did they hurt SO MUCH?! She explained that they were seeing so many cases like mine, and that she could run a culture, but it would take one week to come back (and that wouldn't really help me any). She was pretty sure I had the flu.
I shook my head, as that didn't seem right. I told her, "But I don't feel achy and tired." (I'd always heard people say they felt achy with the flu.) She assured me, "It's coming." Great. She said if it was just a cold, I wouldn't be running such a high, regular fever. And if it were an ear infection or a sinus infection, she'd be able to see the evidence of either. She apologized, saying she wished she could give me better news, but instead, she went on, "But you're going to feel worse and worse for the next five days or so."
So she told me that I needed to stay home for the next week. I started to tear up, knowing that my absence from Runza this week would put them in a TIGHT spot (we're short-staffed already, with one person on vacation). I told her I could maybe
take Tuesday off (I was already not on the schedule for Monday), and she interrupted me, shaking her head. "No. No, you have to take off AT LEAST until Thursday. You will not get better otherwise; in fact, you will only get worse." And she wrote a note that said the same.
Because I was still in the 24-48 hour window of "onset of symptoms," she prescribed me Tamiflu. She also gave me a prescription for Tessalon Perles, and I breathed a sigh or relief. I'd had those once before, and they were wonderful: perfect, little muscle relaxers for the throat. I couldn't wait to have one when I got home. Then she sent me on my way.
I guess I've never had the flu before, for I certainly never would have guessed that was what was wrong. I've had the stomach
flu many, many times, but never just THE FLU. Oh, but this sucks. Everything hurts so bad, more than I could ever imagine. I came home, and gave Philip both my note and my prescriptions. He ran out to Target to pick up my meds, more tissues, and some Tylenol (giving me something to alternate with the ibuprofen for the fevers). He took the boys with him, and I tried laying down again. I slept with my mask on (the clinic let me bring it home), and he woke me to take a Perle when he came home. Then they went back out to run some other errands.
I woke again at 6pm, and I was burning up. I was running over 103° then, and I took some Tylenol, my first dose of Tamiflu, and ate a little soup. This continued throughout the night, only I soaked through my pajama, all three of my pillows (each at a different time, as I was switching them out), a handtowel under my head, and my fleece blanket. I was miserable, and I felt disgusting from sweat.
And so I've not been back to sleep again today. Philip keeps telling me to lay down, but he just doesn't understand how NOT restful it is to sleep like that, to soak through everything you own. Somehow, no matter how exhausted I am, at least if I stay awake, I can stay dry. (Hot, yes, but not as hot as I get while sleeping and staying in just one position.) Even now, bedtime is probably only a few hours away, and I am absolutely DREADING it.
I've gone through two boxes of tissues, and at any point in time, I can swab blood from the roof of my mouth. I took a shower earlier, and the steam felt wonderful for that brief time. I also sat on the floor of the bathroom while Philip took a shower, just to benefit from his steam as well. Any other time, and you'll find me wearing my hospital mask. (Which, Philip remarks, is impossible not to smile at, even though he knows how miserable I am.)
This is awful. I've never been this sick in my life. Now I know why people get flu shots (something else I've never had either).