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My Lost December: Living through the FLU in winter

Updated on February 27, 2014

My Lost December

On December 20th of 2013, I was taken ill and I was admitted to a hospital for pneumonia and bronchitis for the remainder of the month, through January 1st, 2014. I would like to share some of my experiences through this and some suggestions for you, my readers.

Photo Credit to: www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Being stubborn is not healthy

Listen to your body.

I do not like to visit doctors. It is not that I do not like them, nor do I feel intimidated by them. I am just a person that likes to try to resolve problems on my own and in my own way. Flus and colds are no exception for me, as well as minor injuries.

Most things I can work through with no problems and I have some training, having been a Marine, in tending to minor wounds. I have even, in one case, sutured my an injury on my arm on my own.

All this being said, I recognize that there are times when there is no question as to the need to break down and see a doctor. That is where this article is going. To point out that I made a foolish mistake and hoping that I might be able to suggest that others not do what I do.

When you get sick, it is important to make sure that you are not putting your pride above your health or the health of those around you.

In my case, this is what happened. I did not want to see the doctor, even though I could tell that my flu had turned into pneumonia. When I realized the fact that I was waking up three or four times a night soaked in sweat from the constant fever I was running.

It took all that and the pure exhaustion that I was feeling for me to break down and see my doctor. Within two hours, I was in the ER and waiting for a hospital room to open up.

Admitting that you are sick

Listen to your loved one

Hard headed... if you were to talk to my wife and ask her for a brief commentary on me and how I am about being sick, that is what I think that is what she would tell you.

When I finally broke down and went to the doctor, it was at the direction, mostly, of my wife. I would have probably kept trying to tell myself I would be getting over it soon and kept taking NyQuil and Musinex. But she was the driving force in getting me to go.

I am not sure why I am like this about being sick. I know that, from an animal point of view, sickness is also a sign of weakness. So the sicker of the species is more apt to die out. But since I do not expect that any of my fellow technicians are going to see me being sick as a chance to advance with the company through some form of “Promotion through assassination”, I think I was safe there.

No, in my case, I think it was more of something that I think I father would have said, or an action he might have taken. Something more along the lines of, “I do not have time to be sick, I am too busy!”, Or some similar nonsense. I just could not admit that I needed to be sick right now.

Then there is also that part of me that refuses to admit that I am no longer twenty-something and pushing fifty, and no longer a model of youthful masculinity.

My wife is laughing at that last part. Perhaps a little TOO hard.

Going to the Doctor

Listening to your Doctor (Almost as important as listening to your wife.)

So... this sick guy walks into the doctors office...

Yeah... I did. And the moment the receptionist saw me she handed me an over the ears surgical mask. Probably in the hopes that I would not single-handedly start the next plague and send all the other people in the office to their respective doctors.

And after about thirty minutes of waiting, I was taken back where I was weight, temperature taken, a breathing test and some other various tests run. I was then led to one of the exam rooms to review their collection of ancient Hot Rod and Ladies Home Journal magazines.

When my doctor did come in to talk to me, she pointed out the fact that I was having a very hard time breathing. I was running a pretty significant temperature and that there was a great deal of gurgling in my lungs.

More X-Rays and tests later, she advised me that she was sending me across the street to the hospital to be checked in.

Truth be told, at this point I was so exhausted from the coughing and sweating that I did not complain. Meanwhile my wife, who was there with me, had this “I told you so” look on her face.

Stay out of the Hospital!!

There're SICK people in there!

Mercy Downtown and Mercy Southwest are possibly the best hospitals in Bakersfield. That is my opinion, anyway, and this recent experience on my part has done nothing to diminish that feeling.

Understanding the above, I have to say that hospitals are the place I would want to be the least, when I am sick. Especially when you think of the number of other sick people there and the fact that there are always stories about how there are “super-strains” of things like Strep and E-Coli that are being found in hospitals, and to top that off, they are becoming antibiotic resistant.

But I would like to talk about the people, not the problems, with my stay.

I do not like going to the doctor, I do not like going in for tests, I do not like my blood being drawn and I do not like hospitals. But my recent stay at Mercy Downtown was not entirely unpleasant, in spite of the fact I was so sick I barely recall the first four days there. The nurses were pleasant and I never felt like they were doing their job “Just Because”, they really seemed to CARE and did what they could to help.

Nurses are the backbone of the hospital, I have no doubt about that. Yeah, doctors are the ones that make the good money, provide the diagnosis, issue the meds, and make the occasional appearance and spend a five to ten minute period with you, then move on to the next. But it is the nurses that REALLY take care of you. They have to clean the messes, deal with the troublesome patients, put up with the complaining and whining. They are the ones that REALLY deserve the kudos for what they do.

In fact, when I got out of the hospital, after nine and a half days in, one of the first things I did was have my wife drive me to See’s Candy and we bought them about three pounds of chocolates. I was still very weak, but I wanted to do this for them because they did such a wonderful job.

So STAY OUT OF THE HOSPITAL… but if you have to go in, remember that your nurses are the ones that make things happen… treat them like GOLD.

Live Healthier

Again... listen to your loved ones...

When I got out of the hospital, and I looked back on the ordeal, I decided that I was going to do everything in my power to not let this happen again. This required a serious look at how I was living and what I was doing right and, more importantly, what I was doing wrong. The latter of which I found there was a great deal of, I was just refusing to admit it to myself.

Eating

This was the big one. I realized that I was eating crap. Well… Not LITERALLY, but the foods I was eating were certainly not good for me. While they tasted good, they were garbage. We were also eating out at restaurants a great deal and I was consuming about seven to eight sodas a day.

Since I had already lost a great deal of weight in the hospital, I decided to use that as my catalyst to keep the weight off and lose more.

Thus I am eating better, exercising and trying to lead a less stressful life.

Stress

I am working hard on this part. When you have lived your live thriving on a certain level of stress, it is hard to change. Add to this the fact that I have a three-year-old son, and you can see that the thought is easier than the task. But so far, I think I am doing it well.

This is also were the exercise comes in. Most people will tell you that a great way to relieve stress is to work out, and there is no doubt in my mind that this is factual. If you are troubled about something at work, or something has fired you up and you need a release, then working out is the answer. Whether it is a good run, power-walk, sit-ups, whatever. If it required physical exertion, then it is better than letting the issue fester, causing you stress.

Point is, get rid of the stuff that makes your life miserable. That is what I am doing, that and living for my family. This is something that I lost sight of and now am working to make sure that they are the center of my life.

Fun

Enjoy life. Stop living for your work; yes, it pays the bills and a good career means you live well, but too many of us live for our jobs and then do not enjoy life. Constantly running and trying to make sure that we have enough money for this or that. Tell you a secret… You are wasting your life.

Most of the truly enjoyable things in life are right in front of you. Your family and friends are chief among those. Engrossing yourself in work can distance you from them and then, when you look back at your life at retirement, what have you to look at except all the missed opportunities.

Live now… there will always be other jobs, you only have one family and one life.

Thank you for reading this. I hope you enjoyed it and took something away from it.

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    • SamuraiMarine profile image
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      Samuel Wright 2 years ago from Bakersfield, Ca.

      Thanks... so far so good. Been excersizing some and even have myself up to about 12 miles a week walking and doing a light jog. My goal is to get up to 20 miles a week, or better, by this time next year with mostly jogging.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 2 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I hope you're still feeling well and get through this winter without another flu incident. Stay healthy!

    • SamuraiMarine profile image
      Author

      Samuel Wright 3 years ago from Bakersfield, Ca.

      @georgepmoola2: It is going to take time, but I am on the mend. Thanks for the note.

    • SamuraiMarine profile image
      Author

      Samuel Wright 3 years ago from Bakersfield, Ca.

      @Zeross4: Family flus are the worst, everyone keeps sharing it back and forth. This last time around we sent our three-year-old to stay with his Nana for a week to make sure that he did not get it.

    • SamuraiMarine profile image
      Author

      Samuel Wright 3 years ago from Bakersfield, Ca.

      @SusanDeppner: The flus that we are seeing now really do scare me. Now with China announcing the H7N9, it gets even more worrisome.

    • SamuraiMarine profile image
      Author

      Samuel Wright 3 years ago from Bakersfield, Ca.

      @invest90: Thank you muchly.

    • invest90 profile image

      invest90 3 years ago

      Excellent lens. Just thought I would let you know.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 3 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I'm very glad to hear you're doing well now. You are fortunate. I personally know of three people who had major complications from flu turning into pneumonia. One died, another is struggling to live, in a coma and waiting for a miracle having been in the hospital (and now in a bigger hospital) since the day after Christmas. Fortunately the third is recovering, though she too was in an induced coma for quite some time and has plenty of rehab ahead of her. Very scary stuff! Glad you're eating better and trying to improve your health overall. I wish you the very best!

    • Zeross4 profile image

      Renee Dixon 3 years ago from Kentucky

      Thanks for sharing this, I know we just went through a family wide flu- and everyone in our family got it. Luckily for us it wasn't too bad this year. That was so sweet of you guys to buy them chocolate as soon as you got out- very thoughtful! I'm glad you're all better!

    • georgepmoola2 profile image

      georgepmoola2 3 years ago

      Good lens, good information. Hope you are now restored to full health.