Famous last words

Posted 1/17/24

I had previously written that getting vaccinations for the various possible viruses floating about in the air was not in my repertoire, (although I have obtained the COVID vaccines.)  My excuse …

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Famous last words


I had previously written that getting vaccinations for the various possible viruses floating about in the air was not in my repertoire, (although I have obtained the COVID vaccines.)  My excuse for not getting the “flu shot”, year after year, was that I have never had the flu so why would I get a vaccine? That changed last week, when I developed what I thought was a bad cold.

Hubby and I lived on opposite ends of the house, mostly because my barking cough annoyed the heck out of him and he could not hear television.  However, being the trooper that he is, his community shopping treks have consisted of finding foods that might make me feel better, popsicles, yogurt, chicken broth, rye toast, pudding, grapes and other fruits.

He has made smoothies with orange juice and bananas, and sundaes with strawberries. Except for the rye toast, carbs have not passed through my lips. While eating regular food and favorite snacks like Fritos and potato chips have been impossible, my optimistic heart has cheered on the fact that poundage should be falling off of my body, right?

After being sick for 2 weeks, I have only lost .6 of a pound! Although there is a benefit to keeping my body hydrated, it appears as though it has skewed any weight loss by bloating me up. Unfortunately, my body is conserving its fuel to benefit my illness without any long term thought as to what I will look like in a bathing suit next month when we go to Mexico for my son, Steven’s, wedding. I cannot even exercise to lose weight because with my lack of energy I tire myself out just walking to the bathroom and back. In fact, the walk seemed so long that last night I gave in and laid down on the cold floor of the bathroom, covering myself with a bath towel for warmth and balling the rug into a pillow.

I finally relented and went to the nearby walk-in clinic, concerned that COVID had invaded my bones despite a negative test. Hubby drove me, then seemed to just open the door and roll me out so I wouldn’t contaminate him. I made my way into the waiting room which was full to the brim with people coughing and hacking away. I flung myself across the receptionist’s window, which she wisely kept closed. Taking a look at my license and medical card, she requested I take a seat and informed me that the wait to see a doctor was almost three hours.  Having no place else to go, and at my wits end with the sore throat and coughing, I planted myself on one of the more comfy seats in the waiting room and played entertainingly addictive games on my telephone. It would be a nice story for me to say that the time flew by, but it was just the opposite.

Every five minutes or so, for an indeterminable amount of time, I would cross and uncross my legs, straighten my back to sit up a little higher in the chair, look out the window at the gloomy pouring rain, and glance to observe the ever changing flow of the musical chairs of patients.  While normally I would have loved to have three hours to play Words With Friends, Solitaire and pretend slot machine games, it was difficult to enjoy due my discomfort and the intense barking coughs of the others in the waiting room. Alas, the lure of the addictive game was not enough to give me solace. 

When my time finally came to go into the examination room, both the nurse and the doctor were exceptionally attentive in their care for me, showing none of the burn-out they must have felt after treating so many ill people. They did the poke a Q-tip up my nose into my brain to test for COVID and three other common flu strains, all which were negative.  However, it was determined that I have the respiratory syncytial virus, (RSV.)  While this is not a new virus, it has gained popularity among an older population because of the severe symptoms that can affect us “elderly” whose immune systems may not quite be up to par.  I was given a prescription for a strong cough suppressant and decongestant, but no antibiotic because it is a virus, not a bacteria. (Even thought I am aware of the new policy not to give antibiotics out willy nilly to anyone who was sick, the lack of such medication did leave me feeling wanting.) The doctor informed me that the RSV would have to just “go through my system”, which it has continued to do for the past two weeks. It is not done with me yet, but there are signs that it is waning because of longer periods go between the coughing fits. In the meantime, I will continue to sit in my comfortable Lazy-Boy chair watching all seasons of “Grey’s Anatomy”, sucking on my sugar free popsicles and popping grapes into my mouth. 

Next flu season, I will not be able to say that the vaccine is unnecessary because I have never had RSV, because I HAVE had it and it is miserable. Next year the vaccine will course through my veins preventing a relapse of at least this one respiratory virus. One down, seven different ones to go...


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