Friday, February 8, 2013

Flu update, end of week 2


Low grade fever only at night; coughing under control, on no more meds save Tylenol. I'm very weak. I tire from short outings, and need to sleep. Now on second bottle of Simply Saline.

The necessary decision I had to make was to forgo some of the needed sleep when you have this to do nasal irrigation to hold off phlegm from going down to my lungs -- and the resulting coughing/risk of pneumonia and risk of re-herniation.

I am doing better. I can actually see now, though light bothers my eyes and they dry easily, so I have some liquid tears to use a few times a day.

FYI for the warning signs you may be getting this bug:

1. Sore throat, sniffles first day or so.

2. Sore throat goes away, nasal passages start to swell.

3. Raging fever 24/7 starts, racking cough, phlegm for the next 3-4 days.

4. If you don't do nasal irrigation, you're in a world of hurt because of the amount of mucus this produces.

5. At the end of the first week your eyes will start producing a gawdawful amount of mucus that you need to irrigate out frequently (diluted tear-free baby shampoo works well). Your eyes will seal shut after even short periods sleeping or with your eyes closed. This went on for 5 days.

The reason that I know this particular symptom is rampant with this bug is during a trip to two drug stores the liquid tears/visine section was ransacked.

6. Only toward the end of this week did I get any decent night sleep (getting up less than 4 times). That would explain why I'm so drained, physically, but doing all of that irrigation has meant I rarely cough at this point.

7. You will be drained of any energy to do much of anything the whole way through this. Submit to it. Your body is working hard to kill this thing.

And a big reminder -- I cannot underscore more that the flu isn't like a head cold; you can't "work through it", people can die. I think folks forget -- there's no quick fix. Antibiotics are for complications, like secondary infections or some forms of pneumonia.  From the CDC:
"Most people who get the flu feel much better within one or two weeks." 
The fact is people need to stay home, recover fully (and not transmit it to others). We've all seen the news reports about people without sick time bringing it to work because they aren't able to recover. Going to the doctor will not produce much to resolve the flu other than basic guidelines -- wash your hands ad nauseum, rest and drink lots of fluids.

And my addition: it goes without saying, use disposable hand towels.  Not only do these reduce the spread of the virus and secondary infection, they are great to soak with water to use as a compress on your eyes.

Even with a flu shot, you can still get it, and Tamiflu is no panacea (boy those TV ads for it are running ad nauseum). You have to recognize you have the flu in the first couple of days and it only shortens it by a day or so.  I also have some chronic health conditions (diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis) that makes me hesistant to take anything that has a motherlode of potential side effects like Tamiflu and many OTC drugs -- so a doc can't do anything about that either. I just have to be vigilant about monitoring temp, blood sugars and letting my body get the chance to fight this off successfully.

I did one post this week on the blog about the Boy Scouts flap and it really did me in, because of my eyesight and inflammation from this bug. Mostly I have short stints on with my phone to go my email boxes to clean them out, make stops on Facebook or Twitter then I bow offline.

As far as my back goes, it's not getting the benefit of the longer daily walks it needs post-surgery, but I simply can't do it. I am doing PT stretches and all, but walking is the best for it, and so this delay is making me stiff. I'm also dealing with a rash from my bandages (they've been off for more than a week now) that may necessitate a call to the doctor if it doesn't clear up.

Related:
Week 3 post-spine surgery, week 2 of the flu
Week 2 post-L5-S1 slice and dice: good news, not so good news
News on life after the L5-S1 slice and dice
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