The Flu Sucked

Last week is a blur.

I had been looking forward to the week where our kiddo attends overnight school for pretty much a year. It’s something required for all 6th graders in our school system – a week of camp/overnight school that centers on environmental science and team building. I was excited for Jack to participate AND excited to have a week where Travis and I could spend time together and go on a couple date nights.

As it turns out, I dropped Jack at school on Monday morning… and came down with the worst flu of my life a few hours later.

I told my boss I was going to lie down at lunchtime, because I wasn’t feeling so well… and when my alarm rang, I couldn’t get back out of bed.

Fever, chills, body aches and fatigue hit me like a truck.

I basically spent the next 20 hours sleeping on and off. I only left bed to use the bathroom and let the dog outside, so he could also use the bathroom.

Oh, and my husband was stuck a few states away when a train broke down for 5 hours, blocking the way he needed to go for a delivery.

Where I typically feel better within a day or two, this version of the flu was extra hellish with the fever and chills revisiting again and again. I was sick all week long, to the point where I was taking a nap every single day as soon as I’d shut down my work computer.

It’s been a week, and I still have a gross cough, no appetite, body aches and allover weakness.

This flu is no joke. And apparently, from what I hear, it’s going around. So, here are a couple things that helped me in case you or someone you love also gets it:

  • Prescription Cough Medicine. I finally broke down and let Travis take me to the Patient First on Thursday. They weren’t able to do much for me, but they did give me a prescription cough medicine that actually works.
  • Ibuprofen, not Acetaminophen. If I need to take something, I’ll typically grab Tylenol. The doctor on call said that ibuprofen is better for this kind of flu, due to how it treats inflammation.
  • Vitamin Water. I had absolutely no appetite for the first 5 days and only now am able to eat small portions. Basically, the only thing I was putting in my body was Vitamin Water and it tasted like the best thing in the world. Whether it be regular water, vitamin water, electrolytes, Gatorade or whatever, just have something on hand that you enjoy drinking since food is no longer your friend.
  • A Heating Pad. The chills were intense and lasted for days. In order to relax, I cuddled up with a heating pad to keep myself from shaking. Please note: it is dangerous to sleep with a heating pad because you can burn yourself. A better option is a hot water bottle or a warm snuggly dog (thanks Ollie for your service).
  • Wash Your Hands and Stay Home. I washed my hands a billion times and thankfully I was able to telework all week and didn’t leave the house. If you can, please, please, please stay home. You don’t want to run yourself down and get sicker and you don’t want to spread this mutant flu to anyone else. According to the doctor I saw, you should remain home for at least 24-48 hours after your fever breaks and while you have active symptoms.

Jack’s back home now (and survived overnight school), and I’m finally starting to see signs of improvement. I’m really bummed to have missed out on our ‘date week’, but honestly having just myself to take care of was a gift.

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Source: Photo by Cookie the Pom on Unsplash

I don’t know if it’s due to the holiday season or some recent online gift purchases… but I feel like I am buried in sales emails lately. I’ve found myself hitting delete, delete, delete multiple times a day. So, I set aside 5-10 minutes and had myself an Unsubscribe session.

It’s easy. Just go through the ‘trash’ in your various email boxes and pull up any emails that you really never want to get again. Scroll down to the bottom to find the unsubscribe button they’ve hidden in the small print… and hit unsubscribe. That’s it. BOOM. Check something off your list because you accomplished your goal.

When I did this a couple years ago, my daily influx of junky emails dropped significantly. So, I’m excited to go into the new year with less distracting crap to deal with!

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Here’s Your Friendly Reminder to Use Your PTO

Photo by Manasvita S on Unsplash

If you’re not familiar with the term PTO (paid time off), you can replace that word with vacation time or sick time. At my current company, I get two pots of time – vacation time and sick/personal time.

And each year, I hoard my sick/personal time.

I mean, who knows when a sickness is going to get you?! I could use it for the random doctor’s appointments, orthodontist appointment, pediatrician appointments, eye doctor appointments, and the other NOT FUN appointments that pop up on my schedule, but usually I just end up working extra hours elsewhere (work’s gotta get done, amiright?) and it balances out.

So, towards the end of the year, I inevitably get an email from my HR person telling me I’m only able to carry over a certain number of hours and it’s use it or lose it time.

Last year I got so busy that in January, they paid me out for extra time because I hadn’t used it and reached my carryover limit.

Look. I love me some surprise extra money. BUT I LOVE TIME OFF MORE!

This year I made a plan – starting in September, I make sure to take at least one day off a month as a sick/personal day.

Whether it’s a day that I made a doctor’s appointment, a mental health day or whatever… I look at my calendar at the beginning of the month and BLOCK THAT DAY OFF. Then, when my personal day comes up. I take a personal day. To myself. With my PTO because I EARNED IT.

Yes, I know there’s lots of caps lock, but I get heated about this. We work and earn time off, so we should not feel bad about taking that earned time off.

I do realize how lucky I am to have PTO when there are many people out there in positions that don’t compensate them with days off. However, I also realize that I fall into the trap of thinking I’m just so important that I can’t take a day off without the office burning to the ground. Which is frankly not true for the majority of us.

So yes, if we EARN time off, we should TAKE that time off.

If your company is strict that sick days should be used for sick days or doctor’s appointments — schedule your doctor’s appointment in the afternoon and enjoy the rest of the day off. However, you’re a dang grownup and you can use your time however you want. I’m a firm believer in a mental health day that centers around not working.

I needed a reminder, so I’m giving you a reminder too. TAKE YOUR TIME. Plan around it. Protect it. And if you’re super smart – plan that sick/personal day for a day when your kid is in school so you truly have it all to yourself.

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