(To learn why on earth I even took this shot, read more here on my personal blog. I really did have a good reason!)
This week, I tested positive for the flu. Problem is...I knew I had the flu for three days before I finally mustered the energy to go see a doctor. After suffering for three. long. days. The sickest I've been in as long as I can remember. The PA said it was the third case in the last week at their office, which was way too many too early. She shook her head, saying it did not bode well for the upcoming school year.
Last Fall was the first time I didn't get a flu shot in probably well over a decade. I made a bunch of excuses that seemed to make sense- I was extremely busy and still had my baby at home with me. Even breaking away for 25 minutes was a lot to ask. In the evenings and weekends, I was running around on photo shoots during my most successful Fall season in photography. And, all three of my kids got their flu vaccines and they're the ones that I'm most nervous about contracting it and then spreading it to me, right? As long as they're covered, I'm probably fine. Oh, and here's the worst lie I told myself: Cough, chills, body aches.... meh... Can't be that bad, right? It's like a bad cold, right? Well, because of my diligence in getting the shot every year, I actually don't remember the last time I got the flu. I know I've had it, and that's why I was motivated to get my shot, but I have no memory of it. (And now I know why - it's bad...it's really that bad. Kinda like childbirth, you just black out the worst parts!)
Now, if you're wholly against vaccines, that's cool, but this post isn't for you. I respect your right not to get vaccines if you respect my decision to vaccinate myself and my kids.
But if you're like me, and usually get the shot, but find yourself in the upcoming months excusing why you're too busy to get vaccinated....I hope the image above burns in your brain. You're not too busy for 30 minutes to drive to Walgreens. Here's what you're too busy for: Being absolutely miserable for at least 5 days (I'm still not fully better at this writing.) Not sleeping for at least 4 nights because you're hacking like mad in between eating cough drops. Fun. Losing your voice entirely due to said coughing, resulting in not being able to parent effectively. Example 1: Kids ask a million questions. They demand a response. They will "mom, mom, mom, mom" you to death until they actually hear a sufficient answer. Example 2: Children require constant correction and discipline. This is difficult to do with no voice.
You're not too busy for a shot because if you're death warmed over for 5 days, laundry and dishes will accumulate well beyond a manageable pile that you can take of in 30 minutes. You'll either have to be quarantined from your family (might sound nice for a couple days...on a tropical island maybe) or risk infecting them and then dealing with sick people while you're sick or trying to recuperate. You have to be completely OCD about everything you cough on, everything you touch. You must have a razor sharp focus on this, or risk the whole house being sick. But you're too sick to be focused on anything.
That 30 minute trip to Walgreens would save you multiple unenjoyable showers that were absolutely necessary because clammy sick sweats don't just stink of BO. It's a whole 'nother stench. And you're covered in your own cough germs as you try to muffle your hacking in your elbow or shoulder or forearm. Then, your baby runs up and needs you to pick him up and he's touching all over your arm and you just want to scream. But you can't, you have no voice. (How could showers be unenjoyable, you ask? Because you're a hot mess and the only thing that brings you solace is laying down with your eyes closed wishing you were dead. Showers are hard work when you have the flu.)
You're too busy to get a flu shot but risk ruining one of the most anticipated weeks of the summer- the girls being at tennis camp and having time to really get stuff done (and not laying on the couch all day.) A huge styled photo shoot with friends (professionally catered too!) (Yup, missed out on that.) My sister's huge birthday bash (which even if I'm well enough to go, I can't stay very late, get too close to anyone, and worst of all? I can't drink a drop of wine at my favorite restaurant because I'm on so many drugs that I'd probably drop dead. Hey - if one drug said no alcohol, I'd risk it, but three? Yeah, I'm not stupid.)
Oh, so you're too busy for a flu shot? How about an hour at a doctor's office plus co-pay and prescriptions and labs? Because if you don't go, you might not survive. I don't know that I could have. I'm telling you, it's so much worse than a bad cold. I also went in too late to get Tamiflu, which may have helped tremendously.
Now, a final disclaimer - there's absolutely no way that I believe that IF I had gotten a shot last Fall, I could have avoided this. I heard the strains in that shot only prevented about 50% of cases anyway. But...I'd take my chances, honestly. I'd still roll the dice for a shot to avoid feeling this way ever again!
If the PA at the doc's office was right, and this might be a bad season for flu, consider trying to avoid getting it by getting your shot. At least spare your kids this misery. It's not guaranteed, true. But do you buy lottery tickets where your chances are a heck of a lot lower than 50%?
Thanks for letting me step off the couch and onto the soapbox for a moment. Now - to learn why I bothered to take this photo, click here.