My Battle With Severe Influenza

It’s 1:27 AM. I slept from about 7:30 PM to 10:30 PM tonight, but that was about all the sleep I could muster. 6 days ago, I felt aches, chills, and a cough start to develop in me and I knew I was coming down with something. Three trips to the emergency room and gallons of Gatorade later, little did I realize that I was in for the fight of my life. To say I’ve been sick doesn’t quite do this justice. I feel like I’ve been hit by a bus, steam-rolled, and then put inside a garbage disposal. I know I’m sick when my brain cannot think normally and when I try to think about life and what’s going on, all I get is random colors, shapes, and an incoherent confusion that makes me confused about reality.

Severe influenza forces you to face yourself. You have no choice, regardless of who is around you, but to just sit and lay there and face yourself. My desk is littered with cough drop wrappers, pain pills, Gatorade bottles, and nasal spray. It’s the result of being unable to sleep, and unable to care about where the trash should go. As such, my desk is an accrual of trash and odds and ends that have piled up while I simply just try and survive, out-wait, and push past this nasty bout of influenza.

Severe influenza hammers you in all areas – your head, throat, chest and lungs, stomach, the whole system. Your muscles and joints will ache. You’ll be cold and shivery one moment and then burning up the next. You’ll cough and cough and need a phlegm container to avoid having to get up to the bathroom every time you cough. You’ll feel dizzy, faint, and wonder just who you are as you face this illness. It’s an interesting thing – to exist, but not know exactly who you are as your body is spending all its resources trying to combat the virus. Today, fortunately, I’m having more resources allocated to using my brain and thinking!

I THINK I’m finally starting to win the battle as I can sit here and type words again. This illness has had a profound affect on me. It has made me question everything about myself – my life, and every choice I’ve made to this point. I’ve missed my kids. I’ve missed living at my house, my cats, and the comfort there. I’ve downgraded my lifestyle by moving out, but this was my choice and I accept the responsibility for it. It doesn’t mean that I haven’t second guessed myself – feeling like you’re going to die will do that to you :) The difference, this time, is that I’m swallowing the decision like a man, even if I do wonder if it’s the right thing to do.

It’s made me have a very healthy respect for the life I had in my comfy house. When you’re alone, you have to do everything, even if you’re sick – like laundry or cleaning or dishes. I’ve thought about how well finances were by not having to split the incomes and how much I miss my kids and cats. Yes, I miss my cats! I think any big decision is going to have this as part of it – you second guess it, but in the end, you fight through it. This influenza has given me a lot of time to think. Sometimes I think too much. Being holed up in my apartment for this long has given me time to reflect.

This influenza has given it all to me – every possible pain and symptom imaginable minus vomiting. My emetophobia has come through and even though I’ve had an upset stomach, I’ve not vomited once. I’ve had little to no appetite for 6 days and I wonder how long I can keep that going. This has been my Christmas 2014 holiday – it’s one for the ages I think. And I have to say, outside of this bout of influenza, I feel great :)

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