25 Lessons I Learned From My Bout With The Flu

pretty girl has flu and fever...
pretty girl has flu and fever...

I don't get sick very often. I eat well -- lots of fruits and vegetables -- I make sure I do not forsake the proteins, I drink alcohol moderately (most days), exercise (a lot) and consume enormous amounts of water on a regular basis. I haven't been to a doctor for anything but a routine check-up in over a year. Which is all part of my rationale as to why I did not get a flu shot this year. Or any other year.

That, and the fact that I detest needles.

There, I admit it. The mere sight of a needle can make me fall faint. For these reasons I will never get a tattoo or shoot up any drug for sport. So unless it is deemed absolutely necessary, I do not raise my arm and offer to have one jabbed into my very delicate and tender skin. That is about to change.

You see, I got hit. Hard. For the better part of the last week I was forced to remove myself from normal, daily life. I am one of those left flat out by this year's so-called "epidemic." Fever, aches, chills, headache, sore throat, intermittent upset stomach and the welcome surprise after a holiday laden with food -- no appetite.

I had a lot of time to think while I lay in a fetal position in my darkened bedroom, my iPhone within easy reach, wondering where the line between clear thinking and hallucination actually was. I learned some lessons. And I kept notes.

  1. Everyone is willing to offer up their remedy for what works best, my new favorite being ginger tea with honey. It didn't cure it, but it tasted really good going down.
  2. Texting is a modern-day miracle that allows people to check in without you having to pretend to be listening to them when your head feels like someone is tightening a vice around it.
  3. When canceling plans you made, there will always be at least one person who instead of saying "I'm sorry to hear that," will type in all capital letters YOU DIDN'T GET A FLU SHOT?
  4. Now that they are owned by Walgreen's, you are able to grocery shop for an entire week in Duane Reade, but those things you are supposed to find in a drugstore, like more than one kind of cough syrup, are scarce.
  5. Judging from the headlines, this is either really an epidemic or it's just a slow news week.
  6. You can still get the flu with a flu shot.
  7. Getting a doctor to prescribe an antibiotic without seeing you, even when you know your sinuses are now infected, is an impossible dream.
  8. Water is the great elixir. So is G2 Grape Gatorade. And nothing makes me feel less nauseous than warm Diet Coke.
  9. Even I, world renowned for how much water I can consume, could not believe how much more water I needed to stay hydrated.
  10. It apparently was not enough to make my skin feel any less dry.
  11. All those fluids make it hard to sleep for more than two hours at a time without a trip to the bathroom.
  12. It was so much easier getting sick when I was a kid. Mom served cinnamon toast points bedside and doctors made house calls.
  13. If you look carefully, you can actually see the dust accumulating through the windows in a New York City apartment
  14. Only in New York can you order a two-dollar bagel from the diner on the corner, have it delivered and have no one look at you funny.
  15. People stay in relationships they shouldn't be in so they have someone to bring them a fresh cold rag for their forehead when they get the flu.
  16. This would all be easier if I didn't hate chicken soup so much. There I said it. Think what you will!
  17. With all this technology, there is no App that has been designed to cure the flu.
  18. The flu is a much less expensive cleanse than five days' worth of juices from Organic Avenue.
  19. Since I banned television from the bedroom, proclaiming it only for sleep and sex and now apparently the flu, it was nice to know that TW Cable now makes it accessible from my iPad.
  20. My Facebook App let me take a peek and see what I was missing while I was out. Turns out, not much. Except this flu thing. It's all the rage.
  21. Anger and frustration and worry over all the things that are not getting done while I am bedridden will not, I repeat not, make the flu go away any quicker.
  22. My body, as it always does when it breaks down, was sending a message to me that maybe, just maybe, I needed to slow things up and rest for a bit.
  23. Given the epidemic proportions of this, maybe the Universe is sending a message to us all.
  24. When you have your health, you really do have everything.
  25. Get a flu shot. Every year.