I didn’t get it, I was literally just telling “Prince Player” when he asked how things were going despite my health that I was doing so well and feeling fine .
….continued from My Trapeze Swings
So there I was all happy after meeting with the Director on Friday, ready for my weekend. Watching my state’s team play in the Superbowl. The viewing party I went to was fun! But at one moment, I felt unusually exhausted.
“Shaz, go home” my friends said thinking it was my liver. I thought it was that too… I went home and watched the rest of the Superbowl and “This is Us” and cried a lot.
Monday was fine. I felt energized. But that night, at around 4am I woke up in the middle of my sleep. My throat had a very uncomfortable feeling- I was gasping for air. I had a big day the next morning so I made myself go back to sleep.
But Tuesday morning I woke up sneezing. Water coming out of my eyes. My nose stuffed. Coughing. Sneezing. But I have a meeting with an Alumni who is Mayor of her city! I go to the event and feel uncomfortable. I come back home after the meeting and take a nap before going to night class. I almost slept through class, I was so exhausted and didn’t know why! When I wake up I go and buy coffee to comfort my throat and keep me awake through three hours of accounting night class. Throughout the whole class, I sit uncomfortably blowing my nose. When I get home, I drink some soup. I get into bed, but the next 12 hours of night- I toss and turn. I DID NOT SLEEP. When the clock said 7:30, I told myself there was no use sleeping and decided to get some Starbucks. Starbucks was the only thing that was easy for me to swallow, I could actually taste, and was comforting. I lay back in bed after drinking my coffee. I sound funny. I look terrible. I feel terrible. I tell my Health Accounting study group I’ll have to join our meeting via Facetime. They allow, but I am able to concentrate very little and excuse myself when I start feeling nauseous. I really feel terrible like I can’t breathe. I quickly go and run myself a warm bath, I put the water on the highest it could go- it doesn’t even feel hot. (I would later learn it was because my body temperature was high from fever during that time!) I sit in the bath and it gives me an immense amount of comfort. As soon as I get out, I feel terrible again. I try to go to sleep. Again, my body is having fits- I jump out of bed every five minutes coughing or blowing my nose.
Thursday morning. I wake up just an hour before my class. I feel miserable. My face looks dry, pale. My body is in pain. And the worst, I feel confused. I forget my zipcode!!
I call my mom. “Ma. I’m not going to class, I’m going to the clinic”. She agrees, “Okay sweetie”. I email my Professor. This is the first time in my graduate school career I am missing a class! She is understanding and tells me to “please feel better”. I hate being absent, but what I would hate more- is to be spread my illness to all my public health colleagues who needs to serve others! And of course, not being able to concentrate in class.
I quickly get dressed, covering myself as much as possible for the cold weather. I call an Uber. I’m not in the mood to talk as I have no voice but the driver keeps speaking to me.
“So Public Health huh. So what’s that? Like you gonna be a doctor?”
Sigh for the 100th time.
“No. Doctors treat the disease. We prevent the disease” I say.
“Like how?” he asks.
“Through things like education and vaccines” I say.
“Oh yea? I’m anti-vaccine”. DUN DUN DUN. Every public health practicioners worst nightmare.
“You got the flu shot didn’t you? You got sick because you got the flu shot” he says.
My jaw drops.
“Excuse me. The only reason why I am not sicker than I am right now, is BECAUSE I got the flu shot!” I say.
He goes into a lecture about how he disagrees and all his life he wasn’t sick and the only time he got sick was when he got a flu shot and blah blah blah.
I don’t have the energy to explain to him that:
a) People are DYING from flu. This is a SERIOUS epidemic. If you don’t want to get vaccinated for yourself, vaccinate to protect public health as you are less likely to spread illness to others if you are vaccinated!
b) Just like all preventative measures, the flu shot is only a certain percent effective. And it only protects against a certain strain. There is flu A, B, C, D (multiple strains!!!) One flu shot can’t protect you against every flu virus/strain that exists.
c) Why the hell would the government and CDC release flu shots if they make us sick???? There are safety protocols you know!
He tries to explain I need to was my hands more because “the hands carry DNA that carry germs”.
OH MY GOD. HE MEANS BACTERIA!!!!
Finally, we reach the clinic and I am soooo happy.
Except here’s the thing. Everybody in Boston is practically there, I am given a 60 minute wait. GAH!!!
Finally, it’s my turn. I tell the Nurse Practicioner all my symptoms. “It sounds like you may have a fever or the flu. Let’s take a look” she says.
She looks at my throat and ears and gets my temperature. The thermometer begins beeping.
“Well here’s your answer, you have a high fever!” she says showing me my temperature.
You see. I knew something was wrong!
“Let’s check that you don’t have the flu” she says.
Let me just say, the flu test is really fun. She jabs this thing up my nostril and stirs it.
“OH MY GOD OW!!!!” I say pulling back.
“I know it’s uncomfortable” she says. We laugh. “But I need one more” she says.
Oh fuck me.
“Ok. Go for it” I say. She does it again. “GAH!!! WHAT THE-” I begin screaming again.
“I know I know. All done. Everybody reacts like that don’t worry” she says. We laugh and she grabs me some tissues to wipe my now bloody and mucous filled nose.
She looks at the flu report and smiles. “Negative” she says.
“Yes!” I say.
She writes down the name of medications I should buy and tells me to rest as much as possible and drink as many liquids as I can.
I text my parents. My dad calls immediately.
“How did you manage to get this sick??” he asks.
“I have no idea Dad!” I say. I hadn’t had a fever in two years!
“Well, rest up Shaz. You’ll be home with us soon” he says. “Take some ibuprofen, don’t worry about your liver for now. Treat your fever first. We’ll talk to your doctor when you get here”.
I sigh. It is so hard when you are juggling your health.
I buy some fro-yo and soup and rest all day. I stare at my dress I was supposed to wear to an event I was invited to that night. I sigh. Some other day.
I wake up Friday feeling a little better. I wake up today feeling even more better!
Sometimes, it takes a fever to remind you to PAUSE.
As one of my friends said when I was trying to work on something during my fever, “Don’t over do it Shaz. The world only has ONE Shaz!”
Please stay safe this flu season. Get vaccinated. Cover up in cold weather. Wash your hands and carry hand sanitizer. Stay home if you are sick. Seek medical help quickly if you have any doubts. Practice other good habits such as sleeping enough, drinking lots of fluids, stress management, eating well, and exercising.