Influenza Extravaganza 2016

In Which The Author Recounts The Thrilling Tale of Illness, Recovery, and a Visit to Target

Ever since I changed my eating habits and got healthier, I noticed that I also got sick a lot less, being down to only about once or maybe twice a year. And when I do get sick, I am REKT.

The data checks out.

I have been really, really sick before. I have a fond memory of being in fever-induced delirium in 2003 when my room mate was out of town and my then-boyfriend was spending time with his parents shopping for a weight bench. Why he left me at home sweating, insane, and alone I can’t say, but I remember the time period quite vividly because I was very excited about Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix coming out and I couldn’t wait to come back down in order to read it.

Another previous illness led to my Dayquil Hoedown post, wherein I wound up emotionally compromised after watching the The Fox and The  Hound for the first time in 27 years.

But friends… friends.

I have not been this messed up from an illness in a long, long time.

Read on for the hallucinatory play-by-play, and if nothing else to help convince you to get that flu shot all the cool kids are getting these days!


I get up with a bit of a sore throat, and a general feeling of spaciness. I make my usual breakfast- a two-egg and cheese omelet and an apple, same as I make every day- and head in to work. I find myself not wanting to eat, which is unusual for me, and during the weekly meeting I am spaced out and feeling hot. Back at my desk, I realize that I am probably sick or at least suffering from allergies, and decide to hit the clinic. In a moment of almost tragic hubris, I do not make an appointment ahead of time. A friend tells me I ought to go to CentraCare downtown, where I’ve been before, and rather than do the sensible thing I further compound my folly to Shakespearean proportions by NOT going there.

I arrive at the CVS Minute Clinic and find there is a wait. A loooong wait. A two-hour plus wait. By now, I am Feeling It – hot, achey, short-tempered, and sorely tempted to lay down on the floor and go to sleep.

To whoever originally put this kid on the internet – bless you, you are a GENIUS.

There are three chairs by the clinic door: one is occupied by an actual person, the other is being used to seat a Power Mom’s tote bag full of Mom Things. Her child,  a toddler who doesn’t seem sick in the least, is wandering around elsewhere, but the chair is being reserved for her just in case. I don’t trust myself to not use Harsh Language and/or pass out if I approach Power Mom, so I sit in the chairs in the pharmacy area- where heavy construction is going on. The kind requiring drills with a bore like a soda can, hammers banging on steel panels, and lots of shouting about who lost the goddamn schematics and where they were last seen.

The noise is the hairdryer and the bunny is my face.

Two and a half jolly hours later, I finally get into the clinic. The RN is concerned;  all this time I’d been thinking it was allergies, and in fact it turns out to be Influenza-A. I have a fever of 102 degrees F. The RN prescribes me Tamiflu and some other stuff and tells me that although we caught it very early, I’m in for a rough few days.

I spend ten minutes wandering the store and marveling at the power of the meds, before I remember that I haven’t actually taken any meds yet, and begin to worry. I throw some stuff in my basket, get my prescriptions, and manage the 1.5 mile drive home through back roads that are thankfully empty. I order some Chinese food delivered because I will not be up to cooking or possibly even operating a phone later. This food-hoarding instinct has served me well in the part; it’s not the ideal situation, but calories are calories, and it saved me once again.

The Influenzaning

About 2:30 PM, the headache starts. I thought I was feeling it at the clinic, but I recognize now that was just the tapping that miners do to find the right mineral vein running through the cave wall. Now that the vein has been located, the shift has started and these poor bastards have come straight out of the 19th century, don’t have a union, and are working a 36-hour day. The rest of Thursday, most of Friday, and Saturday morning are basically this:

From something called the ‘Minergate Forum.’ I don’t know what that is but this is pretty much it.

Tylenol didn’t touch it. My fever went down from 102 and stayed below 101 most of the time. Although I was lying down, I didn’t sleep much. It was like there was a  continual, chattering thread of gibberish running in the back of my mind, sometimes getting loud enough to knock me out of the doze. I ran hot and cold, and had two very vivid hallucinations:

  • That a mobile mountain creature was passing over me and paused to explain how he had broken pieces of off himself to form the mountains of Egypt, especially the Lower Kingdom, and that this had shaped the formation of the Lower Nile Dynasty during the Old Kingdom. The mountain spoke with the voice of Dolph Lundgren, apparently because Halfthor Bjornssen wasn’t available to appear in this hallucination.
  • That my blanket and I were in a very toxic relationship and while I needed him at times, he smothered me. I would throw him off only to need him once again. We would fight and both end up crying and holding each other.

At one point, I woke up on the couch with no memory of getting there myself. When I got up, I left a me-shaped sweat-stain on the cushions.

I know I did other stuff – I have found that I responded to emails or comments or did things on Facebook. If not for concrete proof, I wouldn’t know what the hell I’d been up to.

I managed to text with friends, and request Gatorade and soup from a friend. She showed up with gallons of both, as well as Kleenexes, some pizza, pretzels, and red pepper jelly. She is wonderful and I tell her so, and also that I will pay her back on Monday.


Saturday morning, I take my temperature again and see that it is again almost back to 101. I decide that I am possibly in real danger, and that perhaps I should call the clinic, or maybe those nice people in the big loud van with the flashing lights. This is a hard decision as I always imagine that EMTs are wasting their time with me when somebody else who really needs them is dying. I find my phone, and it is dead. I plug it into the charger and take moment to think about what I should tell 911. While I’m thinking, I fall asleep.

About noon on Saturday, the pounding stops. The miners clock out and I am left with blissful, if wobbly, silence. If I walk slow, I can get around the house without falling over or needing a twenty-minute nap after. It’s amazing. 

I spend the rest of the day eating everything I couldn’t yesterday, and watching Marvel movies. Friends text if I need anything, I’m pleased that all my responses are now spelled correctly and coherent. I don’t need anything, but it’s nice to know they’re checking up.


Sunday I’m at least to 50% efficiency. I manage to wash my bedlinens to rid them of cooties, and I Febreeze the crap out of my couch. I do dishes and make myself breakfast, albeit only some bacon and some reheated eggs. I rest after doing all that, then I manage to get dressed and go out for some basic groceries, and also just to see if I can.

My first day out of the house since Thursday! And for some crazy-ass reason, it’s only 70 degrees outside! BEAUTIFUL!

Target is not as busy as I expected it would be, which is a blessing because I have to use a cart to lean on to get around. I am shuffling today like I’m 85 years old. Target has the Nolan Batman movies on Blu-Ray for STUPID cheap, and since I had been meaning to replace mine, I bought them. Like, 8 dollars for each! WHAT? With no shame, I roll my cart up to the checkout with 5 items in it. I’m just thrilled to be out of the house.


I was prepared to take a nap in the Target parking lot if necessary, but I’m still feeling spry and I manage a trip to the grocery store too, where I get a wrap for lunch. The young man at the wrap-counter has eyes like sunstruck agates, and he’s the first person in months to know what kind of cheese goes on my wrap – Provalone. Elsewhere, the man stocking the cheese aisle is chatty and has all kinds of things to say about the day. My check-out lady is also cheerful. Everybody is feeling the bright weather today, it seems.

I get home, eat and rest. Then I watched The Dark Knight,  because I can do that while resting. Now I’m about to watch The Dark Knight Rises, my favorite of the Nolan trilogy, and then go to bed.

I did make light of a lot of my situation, but I can’t lie-  it’s scary being sick alone. My heart goes out to people with real, ongoing illnesses who have to take care of themselves. How do they do it? I ought to see about volunteering somewhere for that.

Anyway, thanks for reading my gross recap of my illness! I’m super excited this week because the Florida Film Festival is starting up and I have to figure out what I’m going to see! Decisions, decisions.

Have a great week, I hope the weather is beautiful, wherever you are!

Author: jennnanigans

Orlando-area writerly person.

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