Don’t get sick

Should anyone out there be wondering, “Hmmm, should I get the swine flu vaccine?” let me just say one thing:

YES. DO IT. AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

Otherwise, you may end up like my generally healthy 35-year-old husband, who we’re pretty sure has H1N1. (He’s been exposed at work.) He has been in bed with fevers of 102 (and occasionally higher) for five straight days. It has been awful. He has been miserable, just wretchedly miserable. Neither of us can recall him ever being this sick…and maybe he hasn’t ever been this sick before. I’m hoping to score a same-day appointment tomorrow at the doctor to have him evaluated, because now I’m starting to get all worried about him developing pneumonia.

My son and I are both taking Tamiflu in the hopes of warding off the illness, since we are both high-risk cases (William has asthma, and I am pregnant). But now I am pining for vaccines for us. Neither of us can take the H1N1 FluMist version of the vaccine, or we’d have already done it. Earlier this fall, I had toyed with the idea of signing up for a national clinical trial for pregnant women to receive the H1N1 vaccine in injection form before deciding against it. I figured, “Oh, I’ll just wait ’til the injection is widely available. It’ll only be another month or so. I can wait. Isn’t that what all this Purell is for?” Then David got sick. And the scales fell from my eyes. And I read up on the vaccine for pregnant women on the CDC’s website (Pregnant Women and the Flu). I just don’t want to take any more chances at this point, not after having seen H1N1 up close and especially not in my condition. I’m going to call my OB tomorrow to discuss enrolling in the trial so I can go ahead and get vaccinated. Even the thought of being as sick as my husband AND being pregnant (and oh yes, still having some sickness associated with pregnancy) just makes me want to cry. Loudly.

As for my son, well…I don’t know. I guess we’ll have to wait ’til the injections are available here in Nashville. And be crazy-vigilant about hand-washing and hand sanitizer use in the meantime. I’m nervous, but I don’t know what else I can do. Hope and pray, I suppose. Try to keep him away from his father as much as possible.

What effect has this whole experience had on my work, you might ask? Well, I had to turn down an assignment on Friday because I simply did not have the time and energy to work on it. It killed me to do it, too, because it was from one of my favorite clients and it focused on a topic that really interests me. But I was just done. I couldn’t do any more than I was already doing.  Caring for a delirious sick husband and an active three-year-old while maintaining a regular workload and also doing some volunteer work and church projects was just enough.

Hopefully we’ll move beyond this soon. As for the rest of you, if you’re in the prime H1N1 target demographics, go take a bath in Purell and then think about where you can get an H1N1 vaccine.

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About jenniferlarsonwrites

I'm a freelance writer and editor based in Nashville, Tennessee. I have a master's degree in journalism from the University of Maryland and a bachelor's degree in English from Rhodes College. I'm a born-and-bred Southerner who spent a few years in Southern California, a rabid baseball fan and a would-be grower of tomatoes. You can also visit me at LinkedIn or on Twitter at @JenniferLarson.
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3 Responses to Don’t get sick

  1. Jenn Mattern says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about your husband, especially with you and your young one being exposed now. It sounds like you’re being vigilant though, and that’s good. I’d been debating the vaccine myself — working alone, not having kids being exposed at school, and never having a flu vaccine (or getting the flu) I really didn’t consider it much of a priority. But this isn’t the first case I’ve heard of a colleague dealing with it in some way, and it certainly sounds like a nasty little bug. Thanks for the reminder that we all need to take better care of ourselves. It’s not worth losing work and feeling miserable for days just because we didn’t want to bother with the vaccine. I mean, to each his own and all, but I’ll be keeping my eye out and jumping at it when the opportunity comes along.

  2. jenniferlarsonwrites says:

    I’ll admit it…I’d been pretty cavalier about H1N1 up ’til now, to be honest. People were flapping their hands about it and clucking “the sky is falling,” and my reaction was, “Eh. It’s the flu. It’s just another form of the flu.” I mean, ever since I had my son, I’ve gotten flu shots, and my husband always gets them because he’s a pediatrician and is subjected to a germ-filled workplace. But neither of us got really worked up over the whole pandemic.

    Then a little girl at our church got very very ill and had to be hospitalized. That was scary. She’s normally a healthy happy kid, bouncing around on the playground and showing off her missing front teeth, and suddenly she was in ICU. And then David got sick…and sicker…and sicker. And I thought about the little guy in my belly and realized at least for me, it’s no longer just about me and feeling miserable for a few days. I thought, “Okay, maybe I should take this a little more seriously.”

    I know some people have reservations about the vaccine, but you know, I really don’t. I interviewed one of the top officials at the NIH about the vaccine a few weeks ago, and he told me himself that he thinks it’s urgent for pregnant women to get vaccinated. Would I still be this concerned if I wasn’t pregnant? No, probably not. But you know, I’d still go get vaccinated. No way would I want to subject myself to what my husband has gone through..and is still going through…and may still go through, if God forbid, he develops the pneumonia or blood clots in his lungs that some health experts are now warning about.

  3. Wyckoff says:

    I agree! Get immunized ASAP! This is especially important for children, teens, and young adults who seem to have little immunity to this particular strain. We have had quite a few cases in the high school where I work.

    Diane

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