08 February 2010

H1N1 is not a postcode! - A cautionary tale

Valentine’s Day, Pancake Day, Chinese New Year, and the start of Lent.

Can it really be February already? Where has my life gone?

H1N1 is not a UK postcode. But, it is a destination.  A very bad destination!

Dear Reader, this is a cautionary tale. 

Swine flu is no joke. The past two and a half weeks of my life are a largely a blur wherein I have struggled valiantly to remain conscious and vertical; somehow managed to move house, and miraculously gave a coherent, week long series of Shakespeare lectures at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

I can honestly say, I did these things, and much more, only by the assistance of the legendary “force” of Luke Skywalker/Star Wars fame.

Just over three weeks ago, I went to the leisure club one evening for a swim. As is my wont, following my dip in the pool, I rewarded myself with a ‘melt’ in the steam room. While in the steam room, I was joined by a chap who had just finished his workout in the gym. 

As one does, we chatted about the bad weather, and the need to work out more. Shortly within the conversation, my steam room companion revealed that he has had swine flu in the past few days.

Germ-phobe that I am, I was seized by panic and dread instantly. With tact and moderate haste, I excused myself from the steam room. I assured myself quietly that my worst imaginings were unfounded and purely irrational. However, less than 3 days later, I was laid low completely with a high, raging fever.

Day after day, as the illness wore on and on, I blamed myself  -- for not getting the swine flu vaccine. The NHS has been quite adamant about encouraging people to get the vaccine; particularly, those with long-standing conditions, such as asthma, and those in special circumstances, e.g., pregnant women, and those trying to conceive.

In fact, early on, the NHS went so far as to release a statement recommending that women who were thinking of/planning to conceive seriously reconsider, and postpone attempts to conceive due to the potential dangers of swine flu.

My GP – a wonderful lady doctor, originally from South Africa – urged me to get the vaccine, but I thought I knew best. I thought the whole swine flu thing was “much of a much-ness,” that people were making a great deal of fuss over nothing. 

I was wrong!

I have never felt so awful in my life! There were times when I wondered, quite sincerely, whether I could or would ever get better. Sounds quite dramatic, I know, but it is very true.  Three weeks later, and I am still recovering.

The one, superficial benefit from all this is that I have lost nearly half a stone (roughly 5-7 lbs.) of weight as a result of this health nightmare.

Tough lesson learned. 


Kneazle1 said...

Oh my gosh, hope you feel better soon!

I didn't know that they were recommending it for women trying to conceive. I was denied the vaccination by my surgery when I enquired about it, even though they knew we were trying! Not happy!

Iota said...

Wow. These personal stories are much more persuasive than any government health education information.

Victoria Plum said...

Oh no! You poor thing .... glad you are on the road to recovery now.


Well That's a Good Scottish Name... said...

Oh dear! Hope you are feeling better now. I had it in July (pre-vaccine) and too had almost the same bout as you....two to three weeks out of commission, loss of about 5 lbs and a terribly high fever and a few other bad things...... Hopefully you are on the mend and your husband didn't get it!

Spike 1 said...

I'm glad you are on the mend. This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from a movie- "The Devil Wears Prada"-
I'm just one stomach flu away from my goal weight."

Miss you,

Anonymous said...

OMG... I am glad you are ok now... what amazes me is that he was IN THE STEAM ROOM DAYS AFTER HAVING SWINE?? Where is your decency and courtesy for the public? Disgusting guy (sorry if you are friendly with him... but...)