This past week I’ve been off work with the flu. It’s only the second time I’ve ever had flu – the first being when I was ten and my whole family caught it at the same time. My mum says I had it the least severely, so maybe I’ve made up for it this week.
Today I feel 90% human, 10% flu. I mostly have leftover sniffles, a horrid rattly cough (hoping I don’t get a chest infection as an early Christmas gift) and not much energy for anything in particular.
I felt very tired on Monday, but it was my day off so I took it fairly easy…but when I was babysitting in the evening I got all headachey and I had a horrible sore throat. By the time I got to bed I felt a little like death warmed up, and I didn’t sleep well, so by the morning I knew I wasn’t completely healthy.
I should have really listened to my body there and then, and taken a sick day, but I’m not very good at that. I went into work and spent the whole day feeling like my head was full of cotton wool. Everything ached and I kept sneezing. The two students in my office were poorly too and we were all rather pathetic about it, and I felt such a numpty for complaining about feeling ill over a little cold.
However – at 4.30am on Wednesday, having had little or no sleep and genuinely feeling like I might die, I checked my symptoms with the NHS and they confirmed that actually, I had the flu and therefore was completely justified in feeling 100% wretched and miserable. It didn’t really help all that much, because I still ached, couldn’t breathe, couldn’t move and kept sneezing…but at least it meant I could stop fighting it and just accept that the next few days were a write off.
And they were. I’d already booked Wednesday off, but I called in sick for Thursday and Friday as well, and I’ve been a relatively well behaved patient. To be quite honest, I’ve not been able to do anything anyway – I’ve slept in, gone from bed to sofa and back again, taken paracetemol every four hours like clockwork and drunk what feels like my body weight in blackcurrant squash. I’ve also watched [read: dozed through] a lot of movies/TV thanks to LoveFilm instant. It’s been vaguely lonely but I doubt I’d have been any kind of company. Tasha was home on Thursday night and she put Despicable Me on, which normally I love, but I just couldn’t stay awake.
Being sick is horrible, mainly because I’m the kind of person who cannot just accept that I’m sick and need to rest. I feel really guilty, because this week I had 5 meetings and a contact to supervise and I’ve had to have my colleagues cover for me, and in the back of my mind I’m thinking that they’ve all managed to come into work when they’re poorly so I’m clearly just a big wimp. I’m trying to remember that I’ve had flu, not just a regular cold, but I don’t think people really appreciate how horrible it is, unless they’ve had it. I think ‘flu’ is over-used.
But I can’t do anything about the past week – I got the flu and needed to rest to get over it. If I’d perservered, it may have taken longer to get better. As it was, there is really no way I could have driven to work and done anything productive. I couldn’t even make myself a cup of tea, because it was too much effort. (Yes, three whole days without tea) I’m thankful that I feel almost better today, but I’m not going to go beserk and over-do it, because I don’t want to go backwards. Next week is the last work week before Christmas and I really need to be able to focus and get things done before I go home for a week. I can be sick there, if it’s gonna happen.
In the meantime, I am celebrating small accomplishments… for example; today I am wearing proper clothes for the first time in 3 days, and I haven’t had to take painkillers yet. Yay me!