My Life With Swine Flu

You could call it mother’s intuition, but about 15 minutes into my son’s fever I knew we were not dealing with a regular bug. And we weren’t. Within 48 hours we would learn that our house had been hit with H1N1.

It’s difficult to get across the rapidity which this flu took hold. Our family had plans for dinner on Saturday. At 3:00 my son was fine- bouncing around the yard, hunting for toads and having the kinds of epic imaginary battles only a four-year-old boy can conjure. At 4:45, as we were getting ready to leave, he told me his head hurt and within ten minutes his fever had shot up to 103 degrees. It would drop no lower than 101 for the next two days, despite repeated tepid baths and ibuprofen.

That Saturday night was one of the longest in recent memory. I slept downstairs in the guest room with my son while my husband was upstairs, resting for the “day” shift the following morning. Owen’s persistent fever meant neither one of us slept that night. And poor Owen-he alternated between chills and sweats and he just couldn’t understand why his whole body hurt.

Saturday night faded into Sunday morning and my husband and I, strong coffee in hand, sat down at the table and started juggling schedules. Like many other families my husband and I both work and we don’t have a lot of family around who can just jump in during a pinch. Bleary from a lack of sleep, exhausted with worry, we split our hours at home and at work for the week. It was going to be a challenge, but better to be prepared now, we thought.

 By Sunday evening it was clear that Owen wasn’t the only one battling this bug-so was I. At this point we didn’t have a diagnosis, and I wasn’t seriously considering H1N1, mostly because it felt like I was fighting off whatever it was that had walloped my kid. My throat was a little itchy, as were my eyes, but it’s fall now in Minnesota so itchy throat and eyes are par for the course until the first freeze. I planned on taking Monday off to take Owen to the doctor and get him on the mend- by Wednesday, I thought, I’d get caught up on the work I’d push back while my little guy was sick.

But, like all well-laid plans, those quickly exploded. Monday morning hit and so did the flu. I hurt. Even my teeth ached. I was chilled to the bone, even outside in the sunny mid-70s. Owen and I went to our doctor and they confirmed what at that point I was resigning to–we had H1N1. We lost the next week-and-a-half to recovering from the virus. Owen, true to form, was bouncing around the house by Wednesday. By Friday, even the lingering cough, one of the telltale symptoms of H1N1, was all but gone.

For me the virus was a whole different experience. It may not have hit as fast but it was not letting me go as easy. I spent most of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday alternating between the bed and the couch in utter sick misery. My poor husband had to juggle a recovering preschooler and a suffering type A wife. Thankfully he was able to take two days off of work to tend to Owen and me. Quite honestly I don’t know how I would have managed on Tuesday and Wednesday without it. The fever had me near delirious and I was sliding in and out of sleep as a result. Even Friday, when I was almost a week into the virus and well-past the contagious stage I nearly passed out trying to make lunch for Owen and myself.

Perhaps some context is in order. I do not get sick, and when I do, I “muscle” through it. I’m not saying this is a balanced approach to illness, but it is how I cope. Despite the fact that we have insurance illness is a situation that can tip my family into financial ruin. For instance, the visit to get diagnosed with H1N1 will cost my family close to $300, and again, that is with health insurance. So our strategy has been like the strategy of so many other families- don’t get sick- eat well, exercise, sleep, try to manage stress and strive for simplicity. So to be knocked back for over a week is unheard of for me.

But you won’t hear me complain because, all in all, my family’s experience with H1N1 was mild compared to what could have been. Thankfully my son was able to battle the virus, and while at one time we were moments from an emergency room visit, in the end he was just fine. And the illness struck me at a time when my schedule was lighter- I only had to cancel class once and most of my writing commitments were covered. My husband could take time off work without losing income. Most importantly though, it is just the flu. A mean, nasty variation, but just the flu. A flu to be taken seriously, but, in the end, simply the flu.

READ MORE OF OUR CARE2 H1N1 PROJECT HERE:

THE VACCINE:

Swine Flu Vaccine: What to DO?

H1N1 Vaccine – Tested In Animals First

Safety Concerns Swirl Around H1N1 Vaccine

 

PREVENTION:

Keep Swine Flu Out Of Your House

Swine Flu Symptoms & Prevention

Swine Flu:  The Single Best Way to Prevent Illness

Swine Flu Parties

Swine Flu: Can Cinnamon Fight It?

 

IMPACT:

My Life With Swine Flu

H1N1 A Challenge For Working Mothers

Toxic Pollution And The Swine Flu Vaccine

The Experts: Swine Flu (H1N1) Experts And Bill Maher On The Vaccine And Managing Your Risk

H1N1 And Your Pets (Really!)

20 comments

Jeanne R
Jeanne R4 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R4 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R4 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R4 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R4 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Robert W.
Robert W7 years ago

I just went through the Swine Flu. It's truly not an ordinary flu bug. Take it seriously, folks, and get the vaccine when you can. Pneumonia is a signature symptom, often developing quickly after infection.

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Gabi B.
Gabi B7 years ago

Jessica P- Thanks for the commentary. I have gotten my 2 youngest children a flu shot every year for the last several years. I have never had the flu or a vaccine for it. I have decided that I will get them their regular flu shot this year, but I will not get them the H1N1 vaccine. The decision was difficult and I will confess much stress over my decision. There is such a movement to scare us all into succombing to this vaccine. I believe that in our county, they are no longer testing for it unless the individual is hospitalized. I find that to be peculiar.

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Tara W.
Tara O7 years ago

I'm anxious to know how your doctor knew it was H1N1 so quickly. It has to be sent to the CDC in Atlanta, GA and it takes 5 days for it to be confirmed. Also, In Ky, my nephew was diagnosed with the flu last week and when his dad asked about testing for H1N1, he was told they weren't testing for H1N1, no medical facility in the state was. My sister then called her local health dept. because she didn't believe that, I mean we are hearing of cases of it popping up all over the state, but the health dept. confirmed that they were only testing for H1N1 in extreme cases. How do they know how many people have it if noone is testing for it ? Call your local health depts. and see what they say, I'm curious to know.

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P H.
P H7 years ago

Ashleigh,

That is simply not true, H1 N1 has nothing to do with GE or GMO products. There will always be flu pandemics because ALL FLU viruses are avian in origin, that is where the human flu virus came from originally.

The real issue is CAFOs and their role in selecting for the more virulent form of the virus. CAFOs are nothing but virus factories, all those animals crammed into close quarters, unhealthy and given large amount of antibiotics which leads to the development of resistant forms of bacteria.


But bacteria are not viruses, and do not confuse the two.

An excellent book on this subject is "Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching" by Dr Michael Greger.

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Ashleigh S.
Ashleigh S7 years ago

H1N1 originated when we started feeding animals genetically modified products-therefore we should look seriously at how food is produced.

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