Here, have some hand sanitizer

By Mir
January 11, 2013

I was doing so well. Getting stuff done! Being a paragon of productivity! I should’ve known it couldn’t last.

So, uh, I don’t know if I mentioned this, but my therapist—who is awesome but seems to find sport in making me freak out about all manner of health-related things—asked me earlier this week if I’d gotten my flu shot this year. I am normally RELIGIOUS about my flu shot, seriously, but my primary care doctor has been out of vaccine and it kind of slipped my mind for a while. Anyway, my therapist was sure to tell me how this is the worst year for flu in a decade, blah blah blah DOOM DESTRUCTION AND CERTAIN DEATH (it’s possible she didn’t SAY that, but I am very good at reading between the lines), so naturally I realized I needed to get it done.

[Sidebar: Having a blog is handy, because I was able to go back and check and see that I last had the flu in March of 2007. What is funny (to me, anyway) is that I never did detail what happened, but I remember it like it was yesterday: I woke up one day with a fever of 104 and was pretty sure I was dying. BUT I was still single-parenting and had to get the kids ready for school somehow. This ended up with me sliding down the stairs and laying in the middle of the kitchen floor and exhorting my perplexed 7- and almost-9-year-olds to please, PLEASE, just eat something, take some money from my purse for school lunch, and for the love of God, DON’T TOUCH ME and DON’T MISS THE BUS. After they left I somehow managed to drive myself to my doctor’s office and also talk my doc out of hospitalizing me. GOOD TIMES.]

Anyway. No, I don’t have the flu. I just thought it would be fun to remember how awful the flu is. Apparently.

No, I went to my local Chain Pharmacy Store (because they have a big sign that says WE HAVE FLU VACCINE) and I got a flu shot. Because I’m a responsible human! And this was in the morning, one day, while Monkey was at Hippie School, so while I was there I also filled out paperwork for him and then I picked him up from school later and took him for HIS shot. BAM. No flu for us!

Of course, I don’t get out all that much, you know. And I’m guessing that Chain Pharmacy Store maybe sees more than its fair share of sick people (just a guess). So I was all pleased with myself, y’know, we got shots, I AM AWESOME AND PROACTIVE, and then a couple of days later…

… oh, God, I woke up SO SICK. Also: PETRIFIED. Had I… gone and gotten the flu by going and getting a flu shot?? A quick inventory of my condition revealed that I wasn’t running a fever, I just had a terrible sore throat and wished I was dead. Phew. Not flu, then. But probably picked up when I was getting my flu shot, so, FABULOUS.

Monkey and I lazed around and tried to decide if we felt well enough to do anything more than watch television, nap, and whine. (Answer: no.) Of course being sick with Monkey is always entertaining, because he isn’t really sure if he’s sick or not. I said I didn’t feel well, and he said, “Well I feel kind of… weird.” This was intriguing to me, because ordinarily he doesn’t admit to feeling anything less than fine until you’re holding his severed limb in your hand, or whatever. Further inquiry revealed that he felt “Kind of sleepy,” which—again—is not a state he usually admits to. So I just assumed he was sick as well. He took a nap, so, you know. Clearly something was off.

Today Monkey is perfectly fine, and had finished the day’s schoolwork by 9:30 or so, just to make me feel even more slackerish. I am still praying for the sweet release of death, a little bit, but also trying to think of all the people I may have infected somehow in my travels this week. Because normally, you know, I just hide in my office and stay away from people and other places entirely. But this week, OF COURSE, I was like a little social butterfly before the plague came to roost. In addition to my two trips to the pharmacy for our shots, I’ve been running back and forth to Hippie School (and cooed over a new baby, OH GOD I hope I didn’t get the baby sick!), I had lunch with a friend, I went to play rehearsal, I ran a bunch of errands… I was EVERYWHERE.


Meanwhile, most of yesterday was spent trying to figure out if maybe I’d managed to get strep even though I haven’t had it since before I had my tonsils out (ten years ago), but today my throat hurts a little less (and my head hurts a little more…), so basically I think I have a random virus and I’m a big baby. Surprise!

Otto doesn’t have any classes to teach today, but he popped right out of bed early and fairly RAN out of the house to his office. I cannot imagine why. I mean, he could’ve hung around here with me while I drink tea and grumble. I fear perhaps the magic is finally gone.


  1. karen

    The flu magic, yes :-)

  2. Chuck

    I had a coupon from work for a free flu shot that was expiring on the 31st of that month (redeemable at A Really Big Pharmacy Chain) so I got a shot on the 30th, while I was on my holiday trip to my hometown. I started getting a really bad chest cold the day after I got my flu shot. It’s just in the last stages now. At least it hasn’t turned into bronchitis, right? Hang in there, Mir!

  3. Little Bird

    I just got over whatever cold it is that’s going around. I can’t get flu shots because they give me the flu (every damn time), so when a birthday card from my aunt who had the flu a few weeks ago arrived, I looked at it, cashed the enclosed check, BURNED the card and envelope and washed my hands. I do NOT want the flu!
    Feel better Mir! The cold, it does not last long!

  4. Jean

    Ugh Mir, that just stinks. Hope you feel better very soon…you are so entitled to whine when you are sick!

  5. Katy

    Thank you for the hand sanitizer. Would you care for a blue paper mask?

    I had the flu last week; I was in bed for five days straight. (Okay, if we’re being honest that fifth day may not have been strictly necessary. Hey, I had tv shows to catch up on!) My point is, it started with a sore throat. Take care of yourself!

  6. Lucinda

    The last time I got a flu shot it made me sick. With a fever and all. That was probably 15 years ago. So I’m on the other side of the spectrum in that I religiously avoid flu shots. But I also have a wonky immune system so there’s that. Anyway, I hope you feel better soon.

  7. Arnebya

    Nah, the magic’s still there. He just has to make sure that he, the keeper of the magic, doesn’t compromise it. Do you have any idea the difficulty in dispensing magic when one is sick? He left for you, Mir. He left FOR you.

    I’m glad Monkey’s better and that you aren’t, well, as bad as you were. The kids and I got our shots back in September and October and all got something flu-like but decidedly not full-on JUST LET ME LAY HERE flu. I’m trying to get out of my head about potential death so I’m having a one-woman bleach party this weekend. And I’m touching no one (I wish the people in my cubicled office would adhere to such.)

  8. Lisa

    I hate to say this, but you could have the flu! It sounds very much lke it. It takes 2 weeks for the flu shot to be effective. So, just sayin. You may want to see the doc, it’s probably too late to take the tamiflu though. The crazy sore throat that felt like strep was part of my bout with the flu this year. Hope you get to feeling better either way!!!

  9. Mandy

    Oh, damn. I have plans to go to my chain pharmacy store today after work.

    Hope you feel better and get in some good naps.

  10. Lisa in NJ

    Well I got my first ever flu shot and feel like I’ve been fighting “something” since that day. I’m not sure but I’m not 100% either. My son, no shot for him. He’s allergic to eggs so I do the pray and wash hands and oh yeah LOTS of hand sanitizer at our house and school :)

  11. My Kids Mom

    I spent New Year’s Eve breathing on a houseful of guests and then woke up the next morning with the mother of all colds. Sorry, everyone.

  12. suburbancorrespondent

    The flu shot is “moderately effective” this year, meaning that approximately 62% of those who receive the shot will not contract flu. Much better than many other years, but not a surefire preventative by any means…

    Never mind me. Just trying to rationalize the fact that I neglected ONCE AGAIN to get everyone immunized and am now too scared to go anywhere near a germy doctor’s office.

  13. jeeni in ks

    We had the flu over Thanksgiving. Well, I came down with it Friday but my daughter had it Thursday and it was the variety going around that doesn’t have much of a fever. Somehow we shielded my month old nephew from it.

  14. Karen

    My husband got the flu shot, I did not and we both got the flu going around with the same intensity. I’m thinking the flu shot is not all it’s cracked up to be.

  15. Kate

    I just heard on the news (oh, so reliable!) that the flu shot is only about 65% effective anyway … Those aren’t the best odds!!

    Carry on, and get well soon!

  16. KarenNM

    I got a terrible stomach flu last week, while I was visiting LA. So instead of spending New Years Eve Day at Disneyland, I spent it in bed in a hotel room while my best friend did a very good job of taking care of me and not appearing to resent me ruining our fun plans. Seriously, that was a miserable 36+ hours.
    I really really hope you feel better soon!

  17. Otto

    I … had students … um … scheduled … LOTS OF THEM.

    No, really – 32 student appointments today. I did not set this up because you are sick, dear.



  18. TC

    You do know that you can have the flu even if you get the flu shot…it would just be one of the strains not covered by the shot. I.e., not the flu that “everyone else” is getting. A special flu, just for you!

  19. Chris G

    I am a nurse whoopie do. I know but you can’t get the flu from the shot its dead virus. What usually happens is you were infected before you knew it and before the shot. The flu virus is contagious a day or two before the person gets sick so of course they were already spreading it before they knew it. Hand sanitizer is great and rest, liquids etc are great to prevent and treat. I have to love Otto for getting out of the house so quick. It reminds me of a time when I was married and note I said I was past tense. My younger son Cheeto and I were home with the flu ( he infected me….I guess after cleaning up all the vomit) Before we hospital workers were required to get the flu shot. We were busy laying around and vomitting and I was cleaning up the misses or splashes (you get the idea here) and my older son french fry got off of the bus and surveyed the damage in the living room and ran to his room and packed a bag and took the phone from his room and called his grandpa to pick him up. I asked him through the screen door what was going on and he replied ” I’m not going in there” When his dad came home from work much later after I wrestled with an overflowing water heater ( I called him and told him that we were dealing with this while being couch ridden (my cheeto had the love seat). He came home much later and said he just couldn’t deal with it and didn’t want to get it. I guess the bar was a great place to avoid it…….He got sick a few days later and the older one left for a few days again and I bleached everything I could think of and we weathered the storm. I bet Otto fears if he gets it he can’t be of much comfort or help either. Also who likes taking care of a grown sick man? They are miserable on so many levels……we whine to ourselves all day and only let them know a little of it. When they are sick we know every pain and cramp and fever…..we could never be as sick as they are……

  20. nicole

    we all had our flu shots but the boy still ended up with the flu. I know that’s not what you want to hear of course but let’s just say it was a much, much milder experience than it would have been had he not had the shot. He was in and out of commission for a week but reasonably well as long as we kept him medicated.

    The kicker, he started coming down with it on the day of his birthday party. Here’s hoping we didn’t send home an extra, unintended, party favor with those 20 kids and their parents. Whoops!

    Feel better and watch TV til your eyes bleed, it’s the only cure for a virus. :)

  21. Brenda

    Boo for being sick! I hope you feel better sooner rather than later.

  22. Tracy B

    This is in fact the worst flu season EVER that I can remember. I got sick but not the flu, thank goodness, but felt like poop on a stick but it’s gone and now I’m well and I’m praying you and Monkeyman get to feeling better soon!

  23. Korinthia

    Sick sucks. Feel better soon.

  24. Karen.

    Thirty-two! Students! I’d almost rather be sick … almost.

  25. JennyA

    Oof, feel better. Fluids!!

    I dutifully had my flu shot too, and then the week before Christmas came down with what was either (depending upon the doctor) Not The Flu or The Other Flu That The Vaccine Isn’t For. The look of abject horror on the nurse’s face when I said I really needed to go back to the office to finish something before I could go home for good and how contagious am I was fairly comical in retrospect. I didn’t go back to the office. In any case, it was about 2 days of quite literally praying for and assuming impending death (including an emergency room visit) and then about 4 more days of more or less bedridden misery before I was up and about again. As a weight loss strategy, it was violently effective, but hardly recommended.

  26. CuriousCat

    Well, apparently just about everybody in this country has had the flu (one strain or another) in the last month or so, with or without the flu shot. A local 22 year old college student died in the hospital yesterday from it. The ER’s are overrun with it and I am assuming the doctor’s offices are too.

    I had it last Friday night through Tuesday. I rarely left my bed Saturday and Sunday. What astounded me is I rarely go ANYWHERE. Seriously, you are the QUEEN of social butterflies compared to me. But last Wednesday a week ago, I went to the doctor’s office briefly to pick up some meds, to my brothers house and then to the grocery store. My doctor’s office is actually in a hospital, so I’m guessing I picked it up there. Although, the grocery store rates pretty high in my suspect list because I cannot walk into a store without someone near me coughing and hacking (and not covering their mouth) or sneezing or sniffling. I walk around with my sweatshirt pulled up over my nose and give them dirty looks.

    I don’t take the flu shot anymore because the last 3 times I took the shot, I got the flu anyway (and don’t tell me about dead viruses and different strains. blah blah blah). I DO highly recommend the pneumonia shot though. Look, to me it’s quite simple: if you have the flu or an upper resp infection you do not go to work – especially if you work in retail or the food industry – you do not go to the grocery store, drugstore, video store, shoe store or any other damn public place. You keep yourself and your germs home. You need something? Call someone to go pick it up for you and leave it on your front step. Leave them an envelope with money to cover the purchases and their gas and time. Stay home, stay in bed, drink lots of fluids and let it run it’s course without infecting every damn person you come into contact with. Sorry, but this is a subject that really gets my goat.

    I’m sorry you don’t feel well and I am glad you and Monkey are on the road to recovery (although with Monkey, how will you know if he really is or not? and I really, really hope Otto doesn’t get it.


  27. CuriousCat

    my computer is possessed, i swear!

    ANYWAY as I was saying…..AFTER ALL THAT, I only have two words for you:

    Play rehearsal????

  28. emily in il

    I’m currently writing this from my deathbed. I spent several hours Wednesday morning cleaning up after my sick child, and now I have it WORSE that she did. I’ll spare you the details, but I’ll be bleaching everything as soon as I can move.

    Feel better soon.

  29. Jeanie

    Here’s hoping you aren’t REALLY sick. Not trying to one-up you, but I’ve had a headache for over a month. I had a CT scan yesterday, which I found out this morning was clear. Or, as a friend emailed me earlier, they examined my head and found nothing!

  30. Jenn

    I got that virus 3weeks ago, with the awful, awful sore throat. Then it turned into a sinus infection, so I got antibiotics, the bacterial infection went away, but 3 weeks later, the virus is STILL GOING. So much congestion! So many Puffs Plus!

  31. Rachael

    I had something the doctors termed a sister virus to the flu but NOT the flu at the end of November. And go figure, I sit four hours in the ER with one of my kids the other day and the next day, I wake up with a stuffy nose and a runny nose and a low grade fever. And now I have pink eye. Isn’t being a mom so fun!

  32. Mame

    My Aspie son and I always get our flu shots in October. He told me this year he wasn’t really concerned about getting the flu himself, but he would get the shot so as not to expose me, since I’m elderly and it would be worse if I got it. I’m 60. I didn’t tell him I don’t consider myself elderly, I’m just glad he got the shot. Now elderly me is debating the Shingles vaccine. My sincere best wishes for a prompt recovery, Mir!

  33. brigitte

    You’re just allergic to actual, live people. Stick with us imaginary people, we’ll be your besties AND be germ-free!

  34. Melody

    I think I had that virus before Thanksgiving. I had a headache for two days that was so bad, I took old narcotics (root canal) in order to avoid the ER. I got the flu shot, but I never get the flu as in stomach virus, just sinus stuff. I hope that you and Monkey feel better soon! And that Otto does not get it!

  35. Tiffany

    I had strep back the first of November and omg that was worse than I remember it when I was a kid. I too got the flu shot, it’s an every other year thing for me and my son who gets the flu every.single.year like clockwork did not get it this year.
    Feel better soon :)

  36. Donna

    Play practice? Did I miss a post?

  37. T. Clark

    I had the nasty sore throat virus in October and it was truly the worst sore throat I’ve ever had in my life. I was piggy-backing Tylenol and Motrin and it really didn’t make much difference. Hang in there, give it a few days and try all the throat-soothing ideas you can find. It will go away eventually. Good luck!

  38. Cele

    I am religious about getting a flu shot. I had the Swine Flu (then called the Russian Flu) back in 1978. Four days of my life I will never get back, never remember, and never want to experience again. I am glad it is just a cold, please don’t get strep…

    Get back to feeling pretty … very soon.

  39. Michele

    Ugh. I have never had a flu shot (late 40’s) and have not had the flu in 15 years. knock knock. Strep only once in 25 years, and the last chest cold was from traveling to Ireland for St Pattys Day 6 year ago (very wintry, very long flight, and much drinky-drinky!) That said, my body is now crippled and is dying from other systemic incurable diseases and infections. Go figure. Hope you all feel more better soon Mir. Try throat-coat and echinacea from Yogi teas.

  40. Em

    I took my 9 month old for a check up Friday and the pedi marveled that we had not been there for a sick visit since his last well visit. Then I heard this giant sucking sound that could only have been my fate sealing. Now I wait for illness to grip my baby. Then I’m going to egg my pediatrician’s car.

  41. barbara

    Mir, I’m a LONNNNNNGGGGGtime reader, but hardly ever comment, but I had to write and tell you that my brother and his wife just had their first baby (which we are all super excited about because they have been married for 10 years and we thought no babies would ever be happenin’!) AND yes, I’m getting to the point…..


    (it was my grandfather’s name, and my brother just happens to LOVE it!)

  42. erma

    I just love this blog. Firstly, I always love how brave you are by sharing your life and your family’s life with us. Secondly, I love that you had chosen Otto as your husband’s name on this blog, and thirdly, now, all this excitement over having a baby named Otto announced on here….what is not to love?

  43. J from Ireland

    Oh you poor thing MIr, I really hope you feel better soon. Glad Monkey is well. I don’t blame Otto for getting his butt outta there asap.
    I am scared to admit this out loud in case of jinxing myself but not one person in my family has been sick in a long time, not even a cold. I don’t know why and I am certainly not questioning it.
    Hope you have a good day whatever you’re doing.

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