I didn’t mean to take such a big break from writing, but I haven’t really even been able to look at a computer screen for more than a few minutes until a few days ago.
Just over two weeks ago, I woke up to a rainy Saturday morning. I was super excited as it was the day of my long-awaited hair appointment, and we had about a billion things to get done that day. I went for my haircut, did 80 loads of laundry, got groceries, and took S to a birthday party she had been invited to. I stayed with a few other parents, and got to know a few other moms that I really enjoyed chatting with. M made dinner when we got home, and even though I was tired, I was riding a high after a good, busy day.
After we got the kids down, I took the many, many baskets of laundry up to my room and started a “Netflix and Folding” party. I was on my last basket just after 10pm when I suddenly felt dizzy and a little off. It hit me so quickly that I assumed I had just exceeded my “Mom quota” for the day, and decided to finish the basket and just go to bed. I had been tired all week and assumed I just needed a good sleep. I went to bed before 10:30, confident I would wake up right as rain in the morning.
I heard P start moving in his room just after 6:30am the next morning. I’m usually the first one up, so I rolled over and went to get out of bed… and was hit with the most intense dizzy spell I’ve ever had in my life. I tried to stand up and walk, but I couldn’t seem to find my balance and everything was spinning. Instead of waking M immediately like a sane person, I thought I was just still tired and once I got going the dizziness would stop. I used the wall for support to make it the 10ft down the hall to P’s door, and got him up on his change mat before I knew I was going to be sick. I couldn’t see straight and I swear the walls and floor were moving in every direction. I managed to make it down the hall and yell for M, who flew out of bed when he heard the tone of my voice. He took P from me and I was sicker than I’ve ever been in my life.
After bonding with my bathroom floor for a while, I managed to crawl back into bed. The rooms are connected, and I swear it took a Herculean effort to crawl those few steps. For the next 48 hours, I didn’t really get out of bed. I had a lot of trouble walking as I was so off balance, and any time I opened my eyes the room spun so quickly that it immediately made me feel sick. It felt a lot like what I image vertigo would, and it was completely incapacitating. Trying to watch the TV as it went sliding across the wall made me feel sick, so I spent most of the time dozing on and off with a black shirt over my face, trying to block out the movement.
I was able to keep a bit of ginger ale down the first day, but that was it. I managed four crackers on day 2, so that was a win! M was supposed to go back to work on Tuesday after the long weekend, but I was still so unwell he took an extra day off to look after the kids so I could rest. He was an absolute hero through it all, he shut me away in our room so I could rest and took care of absolutely everything.
By Wednesday I was still tired and a little dizzy, but I felt like I was on the mend. M went back to work, and I attempted a slow, careful walk with the kids so I could get S to school. I needed to take a little breather at the school before making the return trip, but it felt good to be outside. By the time we got home I was so tired I was pretty much done for the day. The boys watched movies while I rested on the couch, and we all had naps in the afternoon. M took over again once he got home from work, and I went back to bed.
I felt a bit better on Thursday, and by Friday I felt almost normal. I still didn’t have my normal appetite and I tired verrrrry easily, but I was much less dizzy and able to move around a bit more. I finally felt like I was putting what I lovingly labeled “the demon flu” behind me.
P woke up early on Saturday, so like the weekend before when it all started, I rolled out of bed to get him. As I stood up I realized that the dizziness was back and I felt like I could barely keep my eyes open. I got the boys downstairs and collapsed on the couch, and barely moved all day. I was hoping that the recurrence of the dizziness was because I hadn’t had enough sleep, but when it persisted even after a nap and my appetite disappeared again, I knew something was wrong. I crawled back into bed, ready to finally concede that I needed to see a doctor.
I found a walk-in clinic open on Sundays, and M drove me as I didn’t feel well enough to drive in a straight line. I explained all my symptoms to the doctor on call, and even he seemed a bit perplexed by what was happening in my body. He agreed that I had a nasty flu virus, but that my body might actually be fighting something else on top. He prescribed some antibiotics, and told me that if I didn’t see improvements after four days that I needed to be seen again.
Let me just tell you: antibiotics are wonder drugs.
Within 30 minutes of my first dose, I felt the room stop spinning. I looked down at the floor, and it was only moving a little, instead of looking like moving water. It was magical.
It took until Tuesday for the spinning to stop completely, and it was Thursday before I felt mostly normal again. I was still getting headaches and still felt little off balance, but by the weekend I was hopeful the demon flu was behind me.
It’s now been 2.5 weeks since it all started, and today is really the first day that I feel completely myself. I still don’t feel like I have my usual energy, but for the first time I didn’t have to wait a minute before walking when I woke up–my balance seems better and the dizziness that has been creeping in whenever I’m too tired doesn’t feel like it’s there waiting anymore. My appetite is back, and even though I still find I need to rest a bit in the afternoon, it’s not as hard to make it through the entire day with the kids.
I still don’t know exactly what I had, but it was, hands down, the nastiest “bug” I’ve ever had. I would go through labor twice before having that again.
That being said, I had a lot of time to think while I lay comatose on my bed. While I cursed the demon flu for attacking me, I was also immensely grateful that it happened the way it did.
It came on so fast that I remember the specific time on the clock that I felt it hit on Saturday night…. but it happened after I had been able to get the hair appointment I had waited three weeks for. I had been able to get all the groceries we needed for the week, and I had just finished washing and folding a week’s worth of laundry. Even though I was completely useless for several days, I’m glad my family had clean clothes and fridge full of food.
It also happened on a long weekend, which meant I had M home for and extra day, and that he only needed to miss one day of work to help me. He would’ve booked more off in a minute if I had needed him to, but I’m glad the universe decided to lay me out on a weekend when he had some extra time at home.
It also happened after I finished my courses. For a minute I imagined how I could have managed my course work if this flu had hit me before they ended, and I quickly realized it just wouldn’t happened. I was drowning in work if I got behind my one day, let alone what a two week sickness time-out would have done.
The kids were so understanding that I was sick. After M went back to work, my normally insanely busy boys were quiet and calm. Even P, who is usually climbing the walls non-stop (literally) was content to come and lay with me on the couch as we watched Despicable Me again, and again… and again.
It was also a gentle reminder that I am married to an incredible man. He took care of absolutely everything so that I could rest, and that is no small feat with three small children. He took care of meals, baths, bed times, and even took them on outings and daily trips to the park… all while I lay like a lump on our bed. I was sick over his birthday, and he took it all in stride and just kept on being super Dad. I don’t mean to get all gushy, but he showed me that not all super heroes wear capes, even though he totally deserves one.
So, every day I feel a bit stronger and I’m very excited for this to become a distant memory. I’ve never ever had a flu with symptoms like this, and I hope it never ever happens again!