Influenza Type A

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

This is my face on Sunday night, right after Kindred registered a fever and I knew she had the flu. 

We had picked Nova up from school on Friday at 1pm for a cousin sleepover. But, around 9pm my sister called and said that the family Nova had been with on Wednesday had come down with the flu the next day, but they had just thought to call her. Since we were around that 48 hour after-exposure window, it was best Nova go home in case she fell ill over night and wanted her mama. Plus, we were hoping to beat the odds against exposure for our family. The next morning, Kat called and lowered the boom as I was shopping at my favorite thrift store. Nova had gotten a fever during the night and had the flu. 

I felt sick to my stomach and immediately drove home. I am very afraid of the flu. I wasn't when Dylan was growing up, but I got the swine flu down in Georgia the year it was killing folks and, for an entire week, I was the sickest I have ever been in my life. It took another week before the fever stopped returning at night. When Kindred was a newborn, the flu was really bad again. The whole family, including me, had a respiratory virus when she was born and everyone had to wear masks. Berg got sick the day after we got home from the hospital and could not even come in the room for almost a week to see his newborn daughter. But, I read something the news...about a small child who had died and it tore my heart out as it imprinted in my brain. If I could get amnesia for just that memory, it would be great.

It did not help matters when Naiya became immune-compromised and we have had to drive home to the girls about how important it is to wash our hands and avoid sickness/the flu so that we can keep our Naiya well. 

So, all of this is the story of how Cam came to have a flu-phobia. 

And, now my niece had the flu and I had less than 48 hours to watch and wait and see if Kindred would come down with it too. To further complicate matters, if you read farther back, you will see that I have a recurrent inner ear infection which flares up in the form of dizziness>headache>fever>intense anxiety that I am going to die. When the steroids & antibiotics have a chance to kick in, all of those symptoms disappear together, but there is a small window of time, usually 3-5 days, that I am fighting the most unusual anxiety. It wears me down so quickly, even though I am constantly saying in my head 'This is anxiety, this is not real.' 

I'll give you one guess about what had flared up on Friday afternoon... 

We were doing a holistic regimen I had started on Saturday morning as soon as we got the news on Nova, but Kindred still came down with the flu. Her fever always trended a couple degrees lower than Nova's but she wound up being sick a day longer. Her body aches were never as bad, but she was vomiting more. I gave her as many popsicles and liquids as she could stand. We did see the nurse practitioner who confirmed the Flu A diagnosis for Kindred, and the ears diagnosis for me. Yes, plural. Both ears. Suuuuuuuuper. But, this time I wasn't anxious about was all about Kindred & the flu and it was the worst it had ever been. I told her I was a nervous wreck and having panic attacks for the first time in over a decade. She advised me to take Benadryl to stay calmer, along with another round of steroids. Berg isn't the most emotionally perceptive person, so I laid it out in black and white...I was having trouble and he was going to help me. I wasn't going to be left alone to handle everything. That may sound like something anyone would do, but until that moment, it wasn't something I am known to do. And, thankfully, he heard me and was supportive.

(we all camped out in the living room for a week)

A lot of things became clearer about my life during that dark night/week of the soul. I mean, like crystal clear. I feel like I was on the edge of a breakdown but I just had to stay silent and power through for Kindred. It was just the perfect storm in its timing...the ear infections and Kindred getting the flu. I cannot imagine what life is like for people who suffer from anxiety every day. I am so grateful that mine is symptomatic of an infection and not chronic. So, I am working on some changes that may leave family and friends a little surprised, but I am going to stay true to myself, come hell or high water. Or, both.
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