Well, this week I was diagnosed (remotely) with swine flu. I wasn’t seen by anyone… No, I wasn’t allowed to venture near the GP surgery(!) I was called by a sympathetic GP who listened to what my symptoms were and said it sounded ‘likely’ that I had SF, and that I was to send a designated ‘special’ person to go and get my prescription and pick it up from the local hospital swine flu base.
Now, just in case you were wondering, my symptoms were aches and pains all over, hot and cold sweats, severe lethargy, headache, sore throat, not to mention the D&V and very sensitive and sore skin. Now, I have never had the flu in my life, so I had no idea what I was dealing with and promptly sent my designated ‘special’ person to fetch me the medication that was to save me. By this time I was REALLY sick and let me tell you, I am not a happy sick person. I was grumpy, could barely move and was near to getting a loo shaped tattoo on my butt!!
I should tell you at this point that rarely do I take prescribed medications, I make an informed decision NOT to put antibiotics’ or other such things into my bod. I prefer the natural route, however I am aware that this is a very personal choice and hopefully one made based on careful research and consideration. After the umpteenth time of spewing I had no desire to make a carefully considered choice, I wanted that Tamiflu and NOW!!!!!
I had previously had contact with a very good PT friend of mine who cheerfully declared (via facebook – obviously) that she was now feeling better after 48hrs on the Tamiflu. I took the tablet in good faith. The Symptoms persisted. I took the second tablet. The symptoms got WORSE.
At this point another very good friend came round despite the grumblings of her well meaning family, and told me “GET OFF THE TAMIFLU – it will make you sicker.” I looked at her through half-open bloodshot eyes and thought that she may well have been mad. ‘What?? Stop taking the medication that is going to save me from this killer virus?????’ I did listen to her argument and lay quietly while she fed me vitamins and garlic with water. I did however glaze over a little when she started telling me that my bedroom could do with a bit of a feng shui overhaul, but hey, I was in no position to argue at this point. After a few hours of no improvement and the words ringing in my ears “GET OFF THE TAMIFLU” I began to tentatively research it on the internet. Over and over again the words sickness, diarrhoea, nausea and retching sprung out at me. All the symptoms that had become worse since taking the medication. As I pondered my decision through my new permanent view of the inside of my toilet, I thought, ‘hey what the hell, how much worse could it be?’
Whilst all this was going on in my house and head and….ahem….The strangest things were happening via text, phone, emails and facebook.
Pandemonium had set in.
My friends were panicked. ‘How did I get it?’ ‘What were my symptoms?’ ‘Who had I seen?’ ‘What IF god-forbid they got it?’ ‘What other disease would I need to have for it to kill me?’ ‘How many people had died?’ (I mean C’mon!!!!!!) ‘You MUST stay indoors for 7 days!’ ‘What did the Dr. Say?’ (Erm, a big fat zilch actually) ‘But YOUR FIT!!! – What can that mean for me?’ ‘I must STAY AWAY’!!! And the best ones have got to be “Oh, I MUST have it then, I ache a little bit today.” My very weary answer was “Mate, I think you would know if you were ill!” Oh, and not forgetting the JOKES!!! ‘How are you and the piggy??’ Hahaha!!! ‘Fantastic, think of the weight you will lose’ (?!?)
To be honest, I cannot blame them all, whilst I have spent the last few months thinking that SF is not the dangerous disease that the media is hyping it up to be, when I was demanding my designated ‘special’ person get my Tamiflu (NOW), I certainly had a teensy winsy thought about death, but interestingly not my own, that of my 9 year old son.
When I became slightly more able to see my computer screen or talk on the phone I seemed to spend a lot of time calming people down about how genuinely it isn’t that bad that it will kill you, that the people who had died had something quite drastic wrong with them prior to getting the illness. Last year for example it was reported in the Guardian in July of 2008 that there would be 75,000 deaths from Bird Flu http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jul/21/pandemic.warning
Did this happen?
Whilst I am not underestimating that people have died from SF I would urge you to be rational and informed in your thinking. Tamiflu certainly isn’t the answer and it is not my place to voice my political opinions in this forum (I do however have a few). I do believe a certain amount of scaremongering is going on, perhaps to sell us the notion of yet another life saving vaccine, rather like the one in 1976? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASibLqwVbsk
Who knows, all I know is that I AM NOT DEAD! I have however, got a very bad case of the flu. Was it SF? I don’t know. I am not sure how a GP can tell me it is without testing me, and I find it even stranger that no-one would assess me, but I was allowed to send my ‘special’ person to collect my prescription from the GP surgery who had obviously been in contact with me.
I had one brave friend who came round to see me, and I love her for that. My son and partner do not have any symptoms and have yet to complain of any. I am still weary and lethargic but have just eaten my first proper meal, yay!!
I am hoping this blog will help lessen the fear and anxiety that there is out there with regards to SF, and well, it has been cathartic writing it, as I certainly haven’t been able to vent my anger out doing exercise for the past 5 days, so figured I may as well have a rant on paper.
Hoping to be my best fighting fit purple best again soon. (Watch out boot-campers!! ;-))