Someone out there gave me the flu

Before you get started, yes, I had my flu shot. In October.

The four-times stronger version for older adults.

And had enough of a sore arm to be sure it challenged my immune system.

This should be a safe place

There are about 350 of us, most in Independent Living apartments in the main building; fewer than a third in Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing, and Memory Support (downstairs, in the same building).

Most of the 200 staff or so have had the flu shot for a while – if they don’t get it, they have to wear the inconvenient ‘mask of shame’ until they do get it. Visitors like the Fed Ex man wear a mask the entire time they are here if they don’t have the shot.

Because a lot of the people here also came from UC Davis and Davis originally, there are a fair number of guests, though, and I’ve never seen a mask on a guest. OTOH, those are the people who are interested in keeping mom and dad or grandma around.

But we’re not locked in here, not in any way.

There is an ‘out there’

Healthy people can be carriers, even with washing our hands more than we used to.

We go to St. James on Sundays.

Husband rides the bike to the grocery store.

People here go to doctors’ offices.

And somewhere in that mass of people we’re all connected to, someone gave me the flu.

Because I didn’t create this.

I can’t remember

anyone in particular coughing and sneezing a lot, but there was the old lady in church, and the altar boy I didn’t shake hands with for the Kiss of Peace – even though he had a sniffling/sneezing even right before putting his cute little hand out.

And I’ve heard sneezes in the dining venues.

It’s inevitable. And random.

And very hard to avoid coming in contact with someone who is about to come down with the flu tomorrow.

This is practice for the coronavirus pandemic – and also shows how hard it is to prevent contagion.

Milder flu?

‘They’ say the flu shot makes you more likely to have a milder flu.

I think that’s true in my case – I’ve had two days of misery, fever, headaches – the works. But I’m definitely not as sick as I could get.

There is also, because your flu is shorter, a smaller window to pass the flu on – which reduces the spread.

So I’m glad I got the shot. And worried about what is going to happen next in the world.

Do what you can to reduce your chances of getting and passing on the flu – you can still get the shot (and unless you have a documented medical reason not to) this year, and in the future.

Immunocompromised people like me, new babies and youngsters, people too old to tolerate the shot, people who have other illnesses – we would all rather not get sick.

Thank you.

18 thoughts on “Someone out there gave me the flu

  1. joey

    I am sorry you got the flu and am glad it wasn’t severe.
    The big bad virus hit our local hospital on Friday. I have been following regular protocol – hand washing and sleeping long and taking vitamins. I am very concerned for my work Mentor, who has only recently begun to recover from pneumonia.
    I am immunocompromised and I always have a reaction to any vaccine and I still get them. It’s so much better to have a milder version and so much better to control the spread. I got sick after my flu shot (again, normal for me) a little worse this year, but still I didn’t lose a week and I didn’t need medical intervention.
    My anecdotal evidence of the “milder” the CDC claims is that my eldest daughter got chicken pox years after her varicella vaccine and it was, in fact, completely mild. She never ran a fever, had maybe 12-20 spots, torso only, and her medications included an anti-itch pill and calamine lotion. Her pox healed without rupture, scabbing, or pain. I was impressed. When I had it, when my childhood friends had it at her same age, I was out of school for more than a week, ran high fevers, had to go in hospital for hydration, and I was covered in painful itchy pox.

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    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      My two oldest had the chicken pox – for a week – together, because the neighbor boy (who NEVER did this) came over and played with them for a whole afternoon. I felt so bad – I went to work, and the nanny did the oatmeal soothing, and taking care of them. Our youngest daughter had the vaccine – and has never had the chicken pox, plus won’t have to worry about shingles. Matter of a couple (literally) of years between when they were born.

      Glad your daughter had a mild version.

      Vaccines aren’t perfect – but they are a WHOLE heck of a lot better than the alternative, for most.

      Liked by 1 person

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  2. Lynda Dietz

    We all used to get the flu shot when we had a child in the house who was severely compromised. After he died, we got out of the habit of getting the shot, and since my husband always had it offered at his workplace, he got it and I never thought about it again. This is the first year in many that I actually got the flu shot, and I’m glad I did, because I’m one of the few people in my general friend circle/workplace who didn’t get sick at all this winter other than a two-day stuffy nose/cough thing. I get so irritated at people who are so intent on “pushing through” and not allowing themselves to rest and heal, because you know they’re the ones who are passing the illnesses on to everyone else. It’s selfishness.

    I’m sorry you got the flu! And since I’m about a week late in reading this, I hope you’re in decent health again now without having had any further complications.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      I am so sorry. I didn’t know. My deepest sympathies.

      I had a mild case (for which I credit the shot). Monday – Wednesday morning, 2.5 days with fever chills, Feb. 24-26. It’s been ten days. Husband is fine, I’m more of less fine, with a little tickle in my chest I hope is getting better.

      I hope I’m fully recovered by the time the next flu – the bad one with no vaccine – hits.

      I get so irritated when people when people list people like ME – older, sicker, vulnerable – and say it will only affect US. Well, you know, I don’t plan to make life safer for the able-bodied by improving the statistics. The attitude sucks for the people I’m coming to call friends and to love and will be sharing a community with the REST of my life: 98% of them are older than we are, and we’ve lost too many already – the turnover in a place like this is around 10% annually – 35 people.

      We always got the flu shot, even before I was ill. There’s that – and the kids keep doing it, to please me, and for their own reasons, I hope.

      Anti-vaxxers are selfish. They want the rest of us to take the (small) risks, and let their children enjoy herd immunity – but they are destroying it by their myriad exemptions. There is an anti-science vibe to this country that is going to hamstring our ability to respond to crises, and already started you know where.

      I pray I make it – but at least I DO everything I can.

      Please stay safe – as much as possible.

      Liked by 1 person

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    2. acflory

      ‘ I get so irritated at people who are so intent on “pushing through” and not allowing themselves to rest and heal, because you know they’re the ones who are passing the illnesses on to everyone else. It’s selfishness.’

      Yes!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

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    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      I got so annoyed at someone on a FB group who said it was a marketing ploy and a myth that the flu shot reduces the length and severity of the flu if you DO get it – and told them off. Nicely, sort of – but I’m glad I’m not the only case I know personally.

      Fine, if you’re not interested in science: don’t learn much about it. But try hard to listen – sometimes the scientists actually do know what they’re talking about!

      Liked by 2 people

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        1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

          The good ones are. There are too many now who aren’t, who cling to their theories even in the face of overwhelming evidence that they are dead wrong. We have a bunch of those in the ME/CFS field who insist all we need is a better mental attitude and more exercise, and they are unfortunately seen to save (in the egregious case I’m thinking of) money for their governments, and so these same governments are reluctant to act. Worse, if people don’t follow their recommendations, these ‘scientific’ frauds have led to sick people being denied benefits. Too many have died, and we have a horribly high suicide rate.

          Fortunately, we also have champions.

          But, as you know, Truth is still tying its shoelaces while Lie is winning the race.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Sharon

    In the past I have avoided getting the flu shot but not this year and I will make sure everyone in our household gets it. Maybe authorities should do an advertising campaign around the idea that getting the flu shot is not just of benefit to you but it can help stop the contagion spreading to vulnerable sections of the community. Hope you are feeling better soon!

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    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      I’m coming out of it, and it was only significantly bad for the first two days. I’m not even sure I had fever yesterday.

      They DO public advertising campaigns, and the anti-vaxxers are sexier – everyone loves a good conspiracy!

      The only good thing to come out of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, is a bigger awareness of how much we depend on medical personnel and national practices when we DO get sick.

      Then the clamoring for the government to DO SOMETHING is deafening – even by the supporters of the head of said government gutting every governmental science group he can lay his hands on.

      I’m disgusted – and a LOT of people will die needlessly.

      Liked by 1 person

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  4. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

    I know it’s not completely effective, but CDC (pre-Trump) said getting the shot often makes the flu less severe if you get it. That’s what I’m hoping – I could really be a lot sicker than I am. Hope it doesn’t last too long.

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  5. Lloyd Lofthouse

    The annual flu shot isn’t a guarantee, because whoever makes the stuff has to guess what strain of the flu is going to hit. From what I’ve read, there is about a 60 percent chance that they will get it right each year and a 40 percent chance they won’t.

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