Me, Flu and You!

 

“There are in nature neither rewards nor punishments — there are consequences.” 
Robert G. Ingersoll

You might have noticed I’ve dropped off the face of the Earth these past few weeks.

There’s a reason for that.

I’ve just come face-to-face with a very nasty strain of influenza.

For most people flu is a mild illness that causes sore throat, runny nose, fever and chills which last several days. But for people like me who are immuno-compromised and for other high-risk categories such as the very young, the elderly and people suffering from chronic illness or underlying health conditions such as asthma and diabetes, influenza can be a very different illness.

If you’ve only recently arrived at my blog you might not know that I suffer from late-stage lyme disease, multi-organ and system compromise, and ongoing heart issues among other things. I’ve been to hell and back with my health and more than once in the past few decades the dark bird of death has sat companionably on my shoulder.

Still, I’m so much better now. These past few months I’ve been the strongest and most vital I have been in years. My improved health is the result of a great team, a regime, ongoing management and many, many hours of my life. Most of that hard work is invisible to the world. Instead what I hear is how great I look these days. Thanks. I’m working on it! 35 years worth of working on it, and counting…

When you don’t live in the world of chronic illness you might not realise that even when we look and feel well we usually have ongoing issues we are managing and our underlying immune systems may be weak. If our immune systems are in fact stronger than they have been it still only takes a few bad nights of limited sleep, of stress or of us overdoing our physical energetic limits for us to end up in a place where it is so much easier for us to succumb to infections. Sometimes we succumb anyway, even when we are healthy, because our immunity is just not as strong as other members of the community.

So that’s where Influenza A H3N2 (also known as Aussie Flu) and I collided a few weeks ago.

I’m hypervigilant when it comes to germs. I never touch my face, especially when we’re out. I wash my hands well, and always before eating. If I’m out I’ll use a hand sanitiser before eating and after using a shopping cart or touching any surfaces. On planes and in confined spaces I’ll wear a bamboo fabric mask impregnated with anti-bacterial and anti-microbial essential oils. I avoid people who are ill, and will avoid crowds and places that might put me at a higher risk of infection. I’ve managed to travel overseas, go to festivals and events and to holiday well several times, all without becoming ill and even as those around me have been sick – which I put down to me being vigilant and also having a great medical team caring for me from week to week.

So how did I get sick this time?

A client came to my home while she was recovering from having been very unwell. She didn’t disclose this to me and as she greeted me she coughed directly into my face. She was less than thirty centimetres away from me and her spittle covered my face and went into my eyes. She laughed, a little embarrassed, and wiped at my face with her hands. ‘Sorry, Love,’ she said, ‘just getting over the flu.’

My heart sank. But I tried to be hopeful that nothing would eventuate.

Less than twenty-four hours later I developed a sore throat. My glands came up in my neck, groin and armpits. Within a few hours I had a raging fever and could barely stand. I cancelled the rest of my week and put myself to bed, hoping that rest and an aggressive regime of herbs and Vitamin C might limit the damage and have me up again in a few days.

None of that helped. Overnight I deteriorated in a way that really scared me. I went from high fevers to chills and back to fevers again, was so weak I couldn’t sit upright, my throat inflamed and swollen so it felt like swallowing razor blades, my entire body ached, and I had a stabbing headache bad enough that I lost vision in my left eye. Eventually I could barely breathe, and my heart went into tachycardia. Add in chest pain and vomiting. Yep, awful!

I stayed like that for days, alternating between sleep and delirium. My doctors and cardiologist checked me out and decided I was better managed at home to avoid the risk of pneumonia and advised me to only come back to the hospital if my heart rate went to a certain level and stayed there over an extended time, or if my chest pain or breathing difficulties became too severe.

The last fortnight has been scary and hard, especially with all of the chest pain and arrhythmias. If I am honest I’ve also struggled psychologically with being so ill again after having felt on top of the world just a few weeks ago.

I’m through the worst of it now. A year ago this infection may have killed me (and yes, every day I give thanks for having such awesome doctors in my life, and my amazing local GP-acupuncturist and team whom I’m convinced are my secret weapon in the return to vitality from Lyme – thanks Dr Adam and Jodi!).

My symptoms are slowly easing, although my heart is still misbehaving. I currently look like I went one too many rounds in the boxing ring with a hefty opponent. And I’m earth-shatteringly exhausted. I have no energy for anything at all.

That’s how I know I’m still unwell. All I want to do is sleep. And that’s how I’ll know when I am better. I’ll be itching to get up and do something!

Meanwhile I have made a promise to Ben, my staff and my doctors that I will respect the flu and keep resting. I will not come back to full-on life too quickly. I will not overdo it and set myself back.

So, that’s where I’ve been. You know it’s never good news when I go quiet…

Think you might have the flu? Stay home and in bed if you can. Rest and keep up your fluid intake. Please, if you’re unwell spare a thought for others whose immune systems might not be as robust as yours. Practice good hand hygiene, cover your mouth when you cough, cover your nose when you sneeze, and don’t leave used tissues lying around. If you know someone who is pregnant, elderly, very young or who has a health issue avoid them while you’re unwell.  Seek medical advice or go to hospital if you spike and sustain a high fever, have trouble breathing or become breathless, if you have chest pain or severe abdominal pain, if you become dizzy or confused or if you have sudden severe vomiting. Not sick? Think about getting the flu vaccination, especially if you are in a high-risk category.

Thanks to everyone who has sent messages and checked up on me. I’m so grateful for your love and support. I promise I’ll be back on deck just as soon as I have my doctors’ blessings and enough energy to share with all of you as well as having enough for myself. Another week or two and I’m sure I’ll be just fine!

Biggest hugs and love, Nicole xx

28 thoughts on “Me, Flu and You!

  1. Oh Beautiful Nicole!
    My heart aches for you.
    Sending you all the healing energy and loving vibes I can muster…
    With love,
    Anne

  2. Thank you Nicole for your blog so it’s awareness can help others be well soon and well done on caring for yourself as best as you can our love and prayers for a speedy and restful recovery.

  3. I’m so sorry to hear this. I’m still getting over the flu, which began 6 weeks ago. Like you, I have chronic illness and am so careful about germs etc. I also caught it from a house guest. Sending you hugs and healing.

  4. I get really mad when I hear about people coming to you and spreading their lurgies – surely they know! So glad you’re through the worst of it and sending love and light for a quick recovery x

  5. I know that this might not sound very loving, but when you are better, I would let that woman know what she did to you. I have chronic sinus problems and when I am around someone with a respiratory illness, I say a bunch of mantras, take lots of immune boasting stuff and hope for the best.
    I attended an art retreat in Mexico the beginning of January. A woman from the US arrived and promptly said “oh, I am allergic to this place”. Well a couple days later, she was making plane reservations to go home. Meanwhile she infected me, my friend, two studio assistants and the instructor. I ended up in the hospital with the flu, sinus infection and the start of pneumonia. AND, I missed most of the art retreat! It took me 6 weeks to finally feel better.
    Sending you healing light and love!

  6. Not nice ! As a suggestion, is it possible to have all people with face to face meetings with you asked not to attend if they have sore throats, getting over colds etc. – like an email specifically advising this, say 24 hours prior to attending? or maybe just Skype is the answer to limiting contact. I am pleased to hear you are not going to jump back in to work also. I’m sure will do some little things, as long as they are just that ! Enough of my finger wagging, but I do get concerned that you over give often. Very pleased to hear you are slowly coming out of this though. Stay warm and snuggled, with a bell to summons the chicken soup 🙂 (Joking of course) xxxxx

  7. So wonderful to hear from you finally….you been in my thoughts ever since I heard abt it…you definitely look beaten & exhausted….can sense how bad it has been….please rest & take good care of yourself Nicole….continuing to send all light,love,prayer & healing energy…love, Kalpa

  8. Oh, goodness, I’m so sorry to learn about your serious, scary bout with the flu! It is so, so awful to be seriously ill. I’ve been trying to fight off a nasty sinus infection and sore throat for about a week and when you said your throat felt like you were swallowing razor blades I can definitely relate. I’ve had to take pain meds just to be able to drink and stay hydrated. I think my illness as come on as a result of some stressful things going on in my life and the lives of those nearby–like the families living on either side of me.

    I’ve never gotten flue shots because I don’t think they are much of a guarantee that you won’t get the flu, but I’m getting pep-talks recently–the pharmacist and the RediCare doc–about how I really should be getting them. What is your take on that issue? And I don’t expect an answer from you until you are well again!

    I do hope that you and your team get you well soon.

  9. Dearest Nicole,

    This post ought to keep us folks a bit wary of your health circumstances, especially if we have to meet you in person. Get well soon and steady.

    Lots of love and hugs

  10. Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry that you’ve been dealing with the flu on top of all the other things you deal with. We all love you Nicole! You are a dear, sweet, kind, brave soul who spreads Love and Light in to the world, in spite of dealing with so much pain and tribulation. You buoy up all of us, even though you have more on your plate than most of us can imagine. We are truly blessed to have the gifts of your wisdom and strength. You are clearly in the soul group ‘teacher’! May blessings, love, and Light surround you and give you strength and support! Feel better! Xoxo

  11. So sorry that you have the flu. The person who came to your home and exposed you to it is a bloody ignoramus! I had an instance of catching something similar from a child I babysat as a favor to his mom. The mom said to me, “Oh, he has been sick, but he is well now.” He wasn’t well. I got sick and spent 12 days in bed. And my immune system is basically ok! I appreciate all you wrote about your health challenges. It has been a tough go for you, and I hope you regain your health soon. You are loved and admired from afar, from the USA-
    Much love and light,
    Cynthia

  12. Dear Nicole, rest, rest, rest and recover to your full potential! Sending Spring energies from Germany 🙂

  13. Dearest Nicole,
    We have only met once but that meeting changed my life, You gave me a perspective on me and my journey that no one else has come close to…you offered me healthy suggestions, good guidance and hopeful visions …..I wish for you the same from the guidance that watches over you, day and night….. l know you have a wide circle of friends to take care of you but if ever you need one more on your team, I’m here in Brisbane.
    Love and admiration,
    Lesley
    PS: You may already have crossed this bridge, but if not, you might find it of value viz, a live blood analysis? I came back from MOrocco last November with a skin condition that made me wretched…. until I discovered Dr Wayne Reilly ( ex CSIRO cell biologist and naturopath) who has been ‘holding my hand’ while I also traverse that rocky road of chelation from heavy metal toxicity…… getting a little stronger every day. Happy to help you connect if you want. xoxoxo

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  15. Oh Nicole, so sorry to read how you became so unwell. Continue to rest. Meantime, sending lots of healing love to you. You’ve been missed but it’s time to let others “care” for you xox

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