Sunday, October 25, 2009

Notes from the Quarantine: Living with the Swine Flu (or Influenza Type A)

After re-evaluating my bucket list upon being told there was a 50 percent chance I had the Swine flu, I noticed an omission. This post. The world needs to hear (read) my story.

I've opted to tell this story in a chronological, blow-by-blow narrative. Get your H1N1 mask (or remnant Sars mask) and let's embark on this journey together.

Day 1

It all started Tuesday. I awoke and felt my tum tum a-rumblin'. I figured it was the influx of fiber I ingested Monday. (TIP: Shoot for 30g and be sure to hydrate.)

6:42 AM: After a raisin bagel instead of my usual frosted shredded wheat bathed in soy milk, I resumed my morning routine and left for work. As I went through the day, I started to not feel well. I knew I wasn't going to make it to the 5 PM whistle. I finished up my work and notified my boss of my illness at 2:35 PM. Driving home in a daze, I wondered why fiber would do this to me especially when I've been such a strong supporter. Then, I realized it wasn't what I ate.

3:17 PM: Once inside mi casa, I picked out my contacts, switched into my pjs and crawled into bed. The judges gave my face plant an 8.7. My lower back began to ache. Shortly thereafter, every joint and muscle followed suit. I donned a cool rag like a ninja and managed to lull myself to sleep by moaning and groaning. The pain intensified. Tylenol did little to curb the pain. The balance of the day was spent in bed under my flannel sheets, quilt, 2 blankets and an afghan that would've kept Nanook warm.

Day 2

5:58 AM: While an ardent devotee of swimming, in particular, synchronized, I prefer not waking up in an Olympic pool-amount of sweat. My boss told me to text him if I wasn't going to make it in. I reached for my phone and sent a quick text that I was still ill, then drifted back to my sweat lodge. Wednesday featured the development of a cough and increased pain. My lower back felt as though my kidneys had been yoinked out in my sleep. Unless I started growing again, there was no explanation for the shin splints. Each and every muscle and joint ached. I drifted in-and-out of lucidity. The morning was consumed with watching Uncle Buck. I also continued my diet of champions: saltines, ginger ale and toast. Try not to salivate over the keyboard.

2:38 PM: Scrolling through my text messages--they remain entertaining after the fact, even thought they aren't Texts from Last Night caliber--I discovered that I didn't text my boss' mobile, but his desk phone. When will technology prevent me from myself? I sent him an email to ensure he knew where I was--death's doorstep--and again returned to sleep.

Day 3:

8:15AM: The pain continued. Again I woke drenched like a kid in a SuperSoaker commercial. Not just any SS either. I'm talking SS 6000.

10:47AM: At my mom's urging, I went to the doctor. After relaying my litany of symptoms, the doc got a swab and gave a preemptive apology. She proceeded to tickle my brain by way of my left nostril. Fifteen minutes later I got the results.

11:50AM: Positive for Type A Influenza. The doctor told me I had a 50:50 shot of having swine flu. I was also out of the window for TamiFlu. So I was instructed to not go to work, drink lots of fluids, rest, and, the toughest one, not go to Homecoming. She also advised that Motrin works better at relieving muscle aches. Once home, I popped one and returned to the now well-developed rut in my bed, where I'd been the past three days. I quickly dozed off.

2:37PM: When I woke 2 hours later I was soaking wet--so much so that I needed to towel off. I've come out of the shower less wet. I spent the rest of the day eating light and in bed.

Day 4:

This one's a bit of a blur. The days run into each other when all you're really doing is getting up to go to the bathroom or get a tissue to blow your nose. I think I watched episodes of Extras. The cough and pain continued. Only woke in a kiddie pool amount of sweat. There was some disappointment because Friday night was the young alumni homecoming party, which I'd been looking forward to for a while. I celebrated at home with shots of Wal-Tussin.

Day 5:

The pain started to subside a bit, but still present. I received texts from friends who were at the game, which was nice. Plus, the 'Cats pulled out a victory, especially for me. I watched A Fish Called Wanda and Her Alibi with my mom Saturday night, then went to bed.

Day 6:

I didn't wake up in a puddle today. Back still hurts.


If you think you have any of the symptoms I've mentioned, or the CDC mentions, get your sick self to the doctor before you spread it. In the past week I've discovered there are certain things not on their list that distinguish just how sick you are (it reads like a vagrant manifesto):
  • Don't have the energy to brush your teeth.
  • You aren't bothered by your odor.
  • You're fine with wearing the same clothes for 3 days straight.
  • Don't see the point in wearing glasses or putting in contacts.
  • The only movement you did all day was rolling from your left side to your right.
  • Don't have enough energy to turn off People's Court.
In the past week I got a few notes from friends on Facebook, but no cards, no singing telegrams, no care packages. No one visited me. I mean its not like I have Swine flu or anything.