fluOk, we all know what a life with pain is like. We hurt, we have stiffness, we have aches and we go about our days dealing the best we can….until the dreaded winter cold and flu season hits. Oh boy, look out! You are fine one minute and then you start to notice those dreaded scratchy throat, body aches, cold chills one minute and hot flashes the next. Oh no, this cannot be happening to me, is the first thing that pops in your mind.

Then the worst of the worst hits, that queasy feeling and then the eruptions start and everything you have eaten for a month (or at least it feels that way) leaves our weak bodies. It doesn’t stop, it aims to take you down and take you down hard.

Next, the pain that you live with daily transforms into the Incredible Hulk of pain. Everything hurts: legs, back, neck, head and stomach. It starts at the tip of the toes and goes to the top of your head, even your fingernails and skin hurt. How can there be so much pain? Like many of you, I live with pain, I fight it daily and win but this pain is something from the depths of another world, the twilight zone just re-discovered.

Does this sound familiar? “Stay away from me, leave me alone to lay here and drift in and out of consciousness as I try to fight the alien thing that has invaded my body”. You drift in and out of sleep; you are fevered so you are constantly kicking the blankets off or asking for more blankets. You are reminded that you must drink lots of liquid. What?? Are they crazy!?! The last thing you want to do is drink lots of liquids? All that does is bring the eruptions back.

After 24 to 48 hours you finally come back to life enough to realize you need help, you need to see a doctor. Ok, now you just have to figure out how to gather enough strength to get up, shower and get dressed to leave for the appointment. You start this procedure 3 hours before the appointment because it takes you that long to get ready. With every movement, every step, your body is saying go back to bed. No, you tell yourself that you need to see the doctor, one sock on and 30 minutes later the second sock is on. Now if only you can just get those jeans on, 30 minutes later–accomplished. Now you just have to manage to get your shirt on. You tell yourself, “I can do this”. Ok, one arm at a time and 20 minutes later all that is left is putting on your shoes. Where are those shoes? They were here two days ago; 10 minutes later, they are found and on your feet.

Now the hair and brush the teeth. Oh no, you think “I don’t want to brush my teeth, the toothpaste will make me gag and start those eruptions again”. You start to think: Would the doctor be really offended if your breath smells like something crawled inside and died? Yea, you have to brush your teeth. So, 30 minutes later you are finally dressed, hair combed and teeth brushed and it only took 2 hours. Now you are so weak you’ve forgotten how to put one foot in front of the other.  Oh darn!

Here is the real kicker. I was the one of many who got the flu shot back in October 2014.  I want a refund! How about you? Anyone else have this nightmare experience?

There is really not much we can do besides hide away in our homes during the flu and cold seasons. Do we become hermits or do we take our chances and live life? I vote for living life.

Now if you ask me that question a couple weeks ago, I might have mustered all the strength I could have and yelled, “I am never leaving this house again!” Another way to look at this is this—lower our risk of exposure. Some of the germs that cause virus and flu travel by air and live quite a while on surfaces; you can’t see them when they sneak up and latch hold of you. Here are a few things that we can do to lessen our chances of getting a cold or flu:

  • Wash your hands often with warm soapy water.
  • Avoid touching your face. Without thinking we rub our eyes or nose and that is where the little virus buggers is hiding just waiting to be introduced into our body.
  • Get the flu shot. You can now find many places (walk-in clinics and pharmacies) that offer the flu shots and don’t have to make an appointment to see your doctor.
  • Use disinfectant when you clean your home especially in the bathroom and kitchen.
  • Don’t forget to clean door handles, telephone receivers, television remotes, light switches and other common areas that all your family touches daily.
  • Teach your children to never share food or drink with kids at school.
  • Avoid close contact with family or friends who are sick.
  • Use disposals items like paper cups, paper plates and plastic silverware when someone in the family is sick.
  • Use paper towels in the bathroom and kitchen for hand washing. Germs can live on towels for several hours. If unable to use paper towels, have separate towels for each member of the family.
  • Throw used tissues away immediately. Germs contaminate any surface where they are left.
  • Learn to sneeze into the bend of your elbow instead of your hands or uncovered—don’t spray the air for others to breathe or touch.

Until next flu season, live well and prosper (RIP Mr. Spock).

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