Almost there...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Not My Best Week Ever

I generally skip the flu vaccine. I have such a vigorous immune system that I very rarely get sick with anything worse than a mild case of food poisoning. Heck, I haven't gotten sick in 9 years of doing Dickens Fair, and that's during cold and flu season where I dance with something like 30-40 different folks a day. But, the drum beat grew louder than normal this year. A friend having a baby decreed that those wanting to visit said baby should plan for a flu shot and pertussis booster if you wanted to visit in the first few weeks. Since an item on my personal to-do list was to make food for this friend during those weeks, I decided to suck it up and get the flu vax.

I got the vaccinations on Tuesday around 10 a.m. By 6 p.m., I was feeling a bit messed up. The lymph node in the armpit on the flu shot side was swelling painfully. By the end of the evening, I couldn't raise my arm without a lot of pain. I had a powerful headache and my neck and shoulder were also aching.

The next morning I got up and dragged myself to work. I'm not a morning person, so I really can't tell when I'm feeling especially bad in the mornings unless there's some obvious feature like my eyes are glued shut or my nose is doing something untoward. I made it to work, but realized I really wasn't doing very well. The rather conservative 2 ibuprofen I consumed the night before was upped to 4 with my morning coffee (decaf!). Worse yet, I was feeling nauseous, so food sounded bad. I stumbled through my day, mostly powered by Advil, and thinking maybe I was feeling better until a little before 5 when the Advil wore off. Then I was sitting at my desk trying to finish a task so that I could go home. I couldn't seem to manage it and I was sweating. I took more Advil and waited, eventually just putting my head on my desk. By 6, I was up and running again, working on that document that made more sense now. The gospel of Vitamin I was affirmed. I made it home and dinner sounded vaguely interesting. More Advil at bedtime and I'd feel better in the morning, right?

Wrong. So wrong. I took Advil when I got up, but that was no good. I needed it at least a half-hour before getting up. My right arm was on fire. I had to have the husband help put on my bra because I couldn't possibly reach. Finally, I just sat down on the vanity bench in the bedroom and spent about ten minutes trying really hard not to throw up. I had to get to work. There were critical tasks and meetings sprinkled from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and missing it was not an option. I made it, but by 10 a.m., I'd sweated through my clothes due to fever. In my 11 a.m. meeting, people sat on the opposite side of the table from me because I clearly looked that bad. (I probably didn't smell great either.) I emailed my doctor to ask for suggestions. At 12:30, I couldn't eat my lunch. I forced down a few spoonfuls of soup and finally gave up an closed the door of my office to take a nap on the floor. Twenty minutes later I was up again. I took 2 Advil and 2 Tylenol, hoping maybe a little mix and match might help. My 1:30 meeting was productive and valuable. I sent Jo-Ann to the 2:30 meeting alone so that I could finish the testing document for Friday morning. I made it to the quarterly Campus Partners meeting at 4, but by 5 p.m., my fever was spiking again and I was struggling to stay awake. The meeting went over by 20 minutes, and I just sat there praying they'd wrap it up so that I could go take drugs and go home. I took more, and worked on finishing the testing doc, then tried to email it out around 6. I knew that I really shouldn't be driving, so waited a bit for the drugs to work more and finally headed home around 6:30. I forgot my phone on my desk, but didn't realize it til I was home and digging through my purse. I im'd Erik to let him know. Then I curled up on the sofa and focused on not moving. Erik made dinner and I picked at it a bit. He helped me get undressed for a shower, and eventually tucked me in, but the weight of the covers on my arm were enough to make me cringe.

This morning I had Erik get up and feed me Advil when the alarm first went off. I lay there waiting for it to take effect for about 45 minutes, then got up and got ready for work. As I sat in the parking lot at work, I realized I was feeling really feverish again. My normal temp is 97.6-98.0 and a quick check showed me at 99.2. Crap. The testing doc I'd sent the night before never arrived. I can't honestly say what happened. I mailed it at 6 p.m., but it never went. Luckily I'd printed copies and left them in Jo-Ann's chair. She got the testing session up and running and I stayed at my desk. I can't miss my 12:30 meeting, nor the one at 2:30, but after that I'm going home. No Friday Night Waltz for me tonight. In general, if you expected to see me socially this week and didn't, this is why. I'm definitely not "sick" in the traditional, caused by a live virus sense, but I'm experiencing a powerful immune response to a dead virus and I am not my usual self. Also, I can't lift my right arm.

I won't be getting the flu vax again. I can't afford this kind of pain and downtime every year when I don't generally get the flu anyway. The insurance just doesn't pay off for me. Erik got sick from his flu vax last year. Christyn got sick from the flu vax a few years ago and had muscle spasms in her arm for quite some time. If you feel you need it, or you're the type of person who gets sick easily, then go for it. But be warned, you may get more than you bargained for.


  • I gave up on the flu vax awhile ago too. After a couple of bad experiences I tried one more time when I was feeling healthy and hadn't been overly exposed.

    24 hours later I was laid up for 2 days.

    No thanks.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 11:24 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home