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Old 02-14-2012, 08:40 PM   #1
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Default We've got the flu

We spent the afternoon at the doctor's office and he made it official.

DH first mentioned on Friday evening that his chest felt a little raw. Saturday he felt kind of achy and had a sore throat but he felt well enough for us to spend the day out and about. But on Sunday, he gave up and just stayed in bed. He did go to work yesterday but came home early. His symptoms so far include headache, severe joint aches, extreme fatigue, low grade fever alternating with frequent chills, very sore throat, stuffy nose, and a very deep, usually productive, cough with his chest feeling like it's burning. He's now having coughing spells that are really tearing him up, and he's coughing to the point of feeling like he's gagging.

On exam, the doc noted that his chest was "junky" but no pneumonia. BP was low, 108/60'ish and pulse was way up for him (he takes Toprol which keeps it fairly low), around 128. Temp at the office was 100.1. No lymph node enlargement. The doc prescribed Cipro, Promethazine DM cough syrup, Naproxen to take in combo with Tylenol, and Mucinex (OTC). He said that DH couldn't go back to work until at least Monday, and to stay in bed and push fluids.

I was okay until Sunday night, when I noticed that I felt a little achy. It wasn't really bad, and I figured the odds were 50/50 that it was just the weather - the damp cold front that was coming in. But yesterday, my throat started feeling scratchy and the ache wasn't just in my joints - every muscle hurt. That's when I figured I was getting into trouble. By last night, my nose was stuffy and I was starting to cough. No fever, but the chills and headache started today. And I hurt all over. Even my eyes hurt, not just from light or the headache but I mean my eyeballs ache. I've got a really heavy post-nasal drip and my throat is absolutely raw. Pain level is about the same as it is with strep and it's difficult to swallow. My cough has gotten progressively worse as the day has gone by. It's almost to the point of getting the deep, booming sound, if that makes sense. And I've noticed in just the past hour or two that I've got that burning feeling in my chest too.

When the doc looked at me, he said it was still early but that I had it too. No temp, BP a little low at 112/72, and pulse up a little at 116. I have one lymph node in my neck that is a little enlarged, but it's always a little wonky so that may not mean anything. The doc said he could hear it in my chest but it isn't too bad yet. And he said that my throat was terrible looking. What he wrote for me is Z-pack, Promethazine DM syrup and Mucinex (OTC). I have a chronic condition that significantly limits the meds that I can take without hainvg an anaphylactic reaction. The list of things that I can't take includes Tylenol, aspirin and any form of NSAID. I can't take any form of Levaquin/Cipro and the only antibiotics that we know are safe (so far) to take are Bactrim, Z-pack and Doxycycline.

I just finished 10 days of Doxycycline for a sinus infection at the end of Jan. Then I did a course of Prednisone for some other issues. I just finished that a week ago. It tends to muck up my immune system pretty good, so I'm pretty vulnerable to things right now. And I'm pretty much SOL when it comes to fever and aches and pains as there isn't anything (short of something like Demerol and that doesn't do much for fever and I don't need to depress my respiration) that I can safely take. So I'm hoping the fever doesn't get bad. I'm going to wait until tomorrow to start the Z-pack. It always gives me the runs. It's very difficult for me to find a form of acidolpholus that is safe for me to take, so I eat a lot of yogurt. I'm going to load up on yogurt tonight to boost the colonies of good guys in the gut before starting the Z-pack.

And just for the record... DH did get a flu shot at work this year. I didn't get a shot. The doc said that there has been a local outbreak of a variant not covered by the vaccine. He said they're working on getting it typed. If I find out what it is, I'll try to remember to post it. Also of note is that the pharmacy ran out of Promethazine and could only give us a partial fill. It's a local place, and I don't know if the Walgreens and CVS are having similar problems. But it's very unusual for this pharmacy to be short of anything. I also read earlier today on a local news website that the Chattanooga area (we're about 75 miles north) is experiencing a shortage of Levaquin. I don't know if that is related to this outbreak cuz all the docs are prescribing it, or if there's something else going on.

Because the doc said this is a strain not covered by the vaccine, I'm going to try to keep track of our symptoms and how this runs its' course. I'll try to post anything of significance here, just to see if anyone else is experiencing something similar.

And now that's it for me cuz I think my head is frickin' going to blow up.
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Old 02-14-2012, 08:49 PM   #2
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You lucky devils you.



Get well soon!
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Old 02-14-2012, 08:59 PM   #3
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Yup, we got it here too.
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Old 02-14-2012, 09:16 PM   #4
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Hang in there Catbird and fam. Feel better.
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Old 02-14-2012, 11:04 PM   #5
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Aw, Catbird One thing to remember about fever -- it may make you feel rotten, but it's the body's way of trying to burn those nasty viruses out.
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Old 02-15-2012, 12:23 AM   #6
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Neti pot, (with boiled water), and gargle with saline continuously while stuffed up & not asleep. The virus washed down the drain is the virus not reproducing. And there's no way for the little buggers to develop resistance to a rising tide!

I do this now at the first HINT of a sinus headache, post nasal drip, or sore throat. Less symptoms + cuts the weeks long 'tail' of illnesses shorter too.
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Old 02-19-2012, 12:53 PM   #7
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Thanks y'all.

Well, I think we're through the worst of it and the consensus is that we'll live.

It's been over 24 hours now since the last fever/chill cycle and the worst of the joint/muscle aches are gone. So is the absolutely killer headache that has been with both of us since Tuesday. Still have the stuffy/runny nose and sore throat. We're still coughing but it isn't so deep and painful.

We're both exhausted and wrung out, and weak as little kittens - and after this past week not nearly so cute!

It's been a number of years since either of us had the flu and like most people, we had forgotten just how sick and miserable it can make you. I guess we've been lucky because this is the first time in our life together that we've both been so sick at the same time. There are some lessons to be learned from this, and we're going to talk about how to be better prepared in the future. But that will have to wait until after we're both over the "being irritable" part of convalescence.
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Old 02-19-2012, 01:04 PM   #8
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Good news, Catbird. The flu is awful. Glad to hear you and yours are on the mend.

Just restocking all you used up while sick is a task. A family wide illness that keeps you down a couple of weeks consumes an amazing amount of OTC meds, fluids, and soft and frozen meals. In my perfect world I'd like to have a dedicated freezer and cabinet just for sick times. In reality, it only takes one illness to wipe me out. Big prep hole there.
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Old 02-19-2012, 01:05 PM   #9
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Glad you're on the mend. Let me know when you hit the 'lessons leanred' phase of thinking - have a few thoughts.
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Old 02-21-2012, 06:46 PM   #10
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It's been 1 week since we saw the doc and we're both doing better. The stuffy/runny nose and the cough are still with both of us. Irritating, and my chest still hurts, but not nearly as bad as it had been. The biggest problem now seems to be the fatigue and weakness. DH went back to work today but he said that he's feeling absolutely wiped out. I'm up and around, trying to make a dent in the disaster area that the kitchen turned into over the past week. But I'm spending more time resting, just sitting down staring at the mess, as I am actually doing anything about it.

I've been giving some thought about how we did this past week in dealing with us both having the flu at the same time. We did okay in some ways, but not so good in other ways. I suspect that this is something that we'll have to deal with more, especially as we get older, and so we definitely need to work on being more prepared for us both to be down at the same time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by flourbug View Post
Just restocking all you used up while sick is a task. A family wide illness that keeps you down a couple of weeks consumes an amazing amount of OTC meds, fluids, and soft and frozen meals. In my perfect world I'd like to have a dedicated freezer and cabinet just for sick times. In reality, it only takes one illness to wipe me out. Big prep hole there.
That's what I've been thinking too. We already went through a hell of a lot of Mucinex and we're still taking it. DH emptied a whole bottle of no-brand Tylenol. He prefers Chloraseptic lozenges for a sore throat and used all that we had in the house. So we need to restock, and this time I'm increasing the stockpile amount.

Food and drink were somewhat of a problem. I usually keep a pretty good supply of frozen or canned homemade meals and comfort foods on hand. But I went through quite a bit of it during the sinus infection and Prednisone and hadn't had a chance to cook and replace what I used. And because I wasn't cooking much for those couple of weeks, DH went through a lot of what I had stocked for him. Fortunately, we still had some of my home-canned, super-duper "Sick Chick" soup on the shelf.

We did stop at the grocery store on our way home from the doctor last week. But by the time we got there, we were both feeling so bad that we weren't thinking very clearly. So we ended up not getting some things that we should have. Even when I'm healthy I always forget something at the store. The lesson learned is that we need to have a list of "sick foods and drugs" already printed up so that we don't have to try to think. From now on, we'll each keep a copy of it in our wallets. We got by okay - the things we should have bought were mostly comfort or fresh items as opposed to necessities. But I need to look at stocking up on those things more.

DH drank mostly water and Gatorade. I can't have sports drinks so I drink Smart Water for electrolytes, along with plain water and OJ. And tea. Lots of hot tea with honey for me, mostly mint and orange spice. DH won't touch it but I drank enough to float several small ships. I ran out of Smart Water (one of the things we missed at the store), but did okay as the worst of the fever had passed by then. But I realized that while I have several versions of the formula for homemade fluid replacement, and the ingredients are on the shelf, I didn't know what file I had put the stupid recipe in. I probably could have found it after some digging, but I know that DH wouldn't have been able to find it. Fortunately, I didn't need it. But lesson learned is that it's getting printed out and pinned to the pantry wall near the shelf where the ingredients are kept. And I'm putting the ingredients in their very own labeled box.

I also had a problem keeping after DH to do necessary things. Usually, if he's sick, I'm pushing fluids, and checking his temp, etc. I tried, and kept getting up out of what felt like my deathbed and staggering in to where he sleeps and croaking, "Drink damnit!!". But I lost track around Day 2 or so. The lesson learned is that I'm printing out some blank forms that he can keep at hand to write down his temp, and note how much he's drinking and when he's taking his meds. The man is an engineer... give him a checklist and he'll cope better.

I did think to give him a hospital-type, marked covered cup to put his Gatorade in. So it was easy for me to point out that 10 ozs. of fluid over 4 hours was insufficient. I probably wasn't very tactful about it, but such are the joys of conjugal illness!

The other big issue for me was dealing with the fever. Because I can't take any meds to reduce it, I usually just try for comfort measures. My doc and I have agreed as a general rule that if it hits 102 for any length of time, I need to call and let him know. Fortunately, it didn't get that bad - just broke 101 a couple times for short periods. But it does make me miserable and I usually do sponge baths and sometimes a cold pack on the back of my neck just for some relief. I was feeling too woozy to stand in a cooling shower so I thought that I'd just fill a basin with some water and have it sitting by my bed so I could sponge off when I felt the need. The only problem was that the basin, which I had cleverly (or so I thought) hidden in the back of the cupboard in my bathroom had somehow disappeared. All I know is that only 2 people live in this house and I didn't move it. I about passed out digging around that darn cupboard looking for it and finally gave up and got a pot from the kitchen. I have since found it (I won't say where ). So the lesson here is that I'm putting a couple of bottles of water, and a washcloth, and a couple of cold packs in the basin, and then wrapping it all up in plastic wrap and taping it closed before putting it all back into the cabinet. I think that turning the basin into a "fever kit" will make it less likely to grow legs and it will be where I can find it when I need it.

CanadaSue:

Quote:
Let me know when you hit the 'lessons leanred' phase of thinking - have a few thoughts.
I'm interested in what your thoughts are. I still have some other things to think about as well. The things I mentioned above have mostly to do with this specific situation. I'm still thinking about this from the perspective of "what if this had been a real pandemic flu" type of situation.
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Old 02-21-2012, 06:51 PM   #11
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Gives new meaning to the term "fluby"...........doesnt it
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Old 02-21-2012, 07:18 PM   #12
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Catbird - I've been that sick a few times. Even now, about twice a year I get sick to the point where I am completely useless & if I were alone, I'd be helpless in terms of looking after myself very well.

It scares the hell out of me.

As you've discovered & probably had already known, you can't think & if you can manage to think something through - you need a nap to recover from that effort!

We haven't had the flu here since I came down with the pandemic strain. When I come down with noros, for some bizarre reason, I wake up with them - they never come on during the day when I can prepare. But flu does with me.

That's not a whole lot of comfort - I go down FAST so leaving the house to pick up what's needed just isn't an option.

I try to make sure I always have a ton of fever reducers - usually acetaminiphen & ibuprophen - lots of the cheap generics. Same with an antiemetic & anti-diarreal. I rarely take the latter two - if it's coming out that violently either end it's usually because it needs to be expelled but there are times when it's good to have. Favourite throat lozenges & other OTC comfort measures - if more than one person is going down, I swear you can't have too much.

Food/drink...

I start filling small containers with juices, made up fruit punches & KoolAde type preps... I keep the containers small because I lose every ounce of strength I have when down with flu. In the 2-3 hours I have before crawling to my bed, I make up a couple of jellos - I'll need the sugar later when I can keep stuff down. There's always soup available.

I 'make the bed' - as in, put on about 4-5 layers of bottom sheet. Later if I need to change the bed, I simply peel off the bottom fitted sheet - one layer at a time. I bring in a pile of top sheets & pillow cases to change out as needed. I also bring in a garbage bag to place dirty linens/clothing into. Can't deal with laundry when sick. I make sure I've got clean undies/socks handy for the same reason.

I keep a box or two of baby wipes handy - I can barely get to the bathroom for elimination - standing up or sitting up to get cleaned up - who you kidding? I don't have the energy.

I keep a TV or radio on - low volume. I've had a few bouts where it was the only way to track dates/time. I make sure there's a working phone nearby - handy for calling 911 or family or friends for help if things get that bad.

Everybody has different circumstances, different types of help available & different issues that factor in. You have to know your own. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, even uncomfortable but minor illnesses can be life-threatening. Know the warning signs. If your brain takes a hike the minute you get a fever, you need to KNOW that & warn anyone coming to help you that you may not exactly be... logical. IF you need to call 911, make your paramedics can find you & have access to your specific location in the house. If you feel yourself getting ill & trust a neighbour - give them a key so they can let in medical help.

Think things through - preferably ahead of time. We're all getting older. Know too that physical reactions to fever, etc. change, (usually for the worse), as we get older. It doesn't take as much to put us down & recovery time can really be extended. If you've had flu - don't be surprised if you don't feel fully yourself again for a few months - even if you had a mild bout.
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Old 02-21-2012, 09:28 PM   #13
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Great ideas.

I have a very large dresser drawer dedicated to "sick stuff". Its full of the usual OTC meds, but also things I might need if I'm stuck in bed or tending someone I don't want to leave alone.

Food - the usual applesauce, saltines, ginger ale, fruit juices and hard candies, but also things for those poor lost souls who come wandering in just to tell me they are STARVING - cans of Beefaroni, microwave bowls of Ramen noodles, Macaroni and Cheese, etc. The supermarket has a huge variety of these types of convenience meals.

I buy clear shower liners and use them under sheets on sickbeds. I put a beach towel or two on top, then a sheet, then a bed liner. SIL gave me a bunch of hospital giant size quilted waterproof pads. They are awesome but need to be laundered, so I also keep a case of disposable bed liners in the house. I think they are around $24 at a big box store.

Baby wipes are fine, but WalMart has disposable cloths meant for washing bodies. They are much nicer - softer and kinder to your skin. I also keep a big stock of face cleansing cloths - they are made by Olay or Ponds for makeup removal. At $1 to $1.50 a pack I keep about 20 small packets in stock. They have a small amount of alcohol in them so they are cooling as well as cleansing.

Cold packs. I have several rice packs in the freezer, and several smack and shake types in my sick drawer. Who wants to stand in front of an open freezer hunting down the rice pack that has been shoved to the back, when you have a fever?
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Old 02-21-2012, 09:48 PM   #14
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Even better additions, fb. I really like the shower liner idea. They're not bulky & dollar stores sell them. The bed liners are a great idea - I have the standard blue pads, but they're not enough. I didn't know about the Walmart disposable cloths. I suggested butt wipers because they're easy but I don't like the texture or smell of them. My brain associates them with 'sick' & I find that demoralizing. Trust me - it takes bugger all to 'demoralize me' when I'm sick. If the sun shines at the wrong angle, I'm snivelling.

I'm haning my head in shame having forgotten to mention the cold packs. We have a half dozen or so of the instant ones; they travel on bike trips, hikes...

I know I can find a drawer for sick supplies - I love the idea of everything being centrallized.
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Old 02-21-2012, 10:13 PM   #15
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I appreciate all the great ideas.

There are 2 big things that I learned from this.

One is that it's very bad when neither of us can think clearly. Usually, if one of us is ill, the other can figure out what needs to be done, bought, prepared, etc. But this time, we were both pretty much idiotic. So I'm going to be spending some time figuring out some protocols, for lack of a better term, for situations like this. Things that we need to do before mutually collapsing.

The other big thing was frankly a little scary. When we left the house Tuesday, I was feeling kind of bad but not yet terrible. But over the course of the approx. 6 hours that we were out at the doctors office and store, I went downhill incredibly fast. By the time we got home, it was all we could do to carry in the few groceries we had bought and to feed the dog. There was no energy left to do anything else besides getting DH into bed with a jug of Gatorade. After I posted here, I pretty much just crashed.

What I should have done is get some things done on Monday. I knew that I was starting to feel bad and that DH was definitely sick. I guess I just figured that I wasn't that bad and I'd still be able to take care of things. I was wrong. Next time, which hopefully won't be for a good long while, I'm going to be a lot more proactive about making some preparations.
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Old 02-22-2012, 01:18 AM   #16
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I keep powdered Gatorade in the cupboard. Unlike the liquid kind, it lacks high fructose corn syrup, and lasts practically forever. It can be diluted, allowing better absorption, &/or mixed with dilute tea. A little lemon-lime sprinkled in the cup substitutes for lemon & sugar, and provides electrolytes too.

Boxed chicken broth and cream of rice are handy to have on hand.

I've heard some stores have delivery service.

Even better. Friends who cook, and are willing to drop off some goodies. I know *I* would respond if a friend made a call begging for a home visit with hot soup. Might show up with a mask, but I'd show up...
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Old 02-22-2012, 02:54 AM   #17
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anything about the test ? sequences ?

you can get a flu quicktest here at the pharmacy or over internet
for ~$20 (tests for A or B, no strain specification beyond that)




Catbird wrote on 02-15-2012, 12:40 AM

> DH first mentioned on Friday evening
> Saturday he felt kind of achy
> Sunday, he gave up and just stayed in bed.

flu usually has sudden onset, I read. From nothing to can't do anything in 15min.

> The doc said that there has been a local outbreak of a variant not covered by the vaccine.
> He said they're working on getting it typed.

what could it be ? Maybe the wrong one of the flu-B strains ? What else

> headache, severe joint aches, extreme fatigue, low grade fever alternating with frequent chills,
> very sore throat, stuffy nose, and a very deep, usually productive, cough with his chest feeling
> like it's burning.

> Temp at the office was 100.1

~38°C

> The doc prescribed Cipro, Promethazine DM cough syrup, Naproxen to take in combo
> with Tylenol, and Mucinex (OTC).

-----------------------
> Sunday night, little achy
> yesterday, throat scratchy ache in joints, all muscles
> last night, nose stuffy, cough,no fever,
> today chills,headache,hurt all over,eyes,post-nasal drip,throat raw,swallow,cough worse
> past hour burning chest
> Z-pack, Promethazine DM syrup and Mucinex (OTC)

> DH did get a flu shot at work this year. I didn't get a shot

> Chattanooga area (we're about 75 miles north)

02-19-2012, 04:53 PM
> I think we're through the worst of it

yesterday,10:46
> 1 week,both better, still stuffy/runny nose,cough,chest - but much better

------------------

Tennessee, Region 4 , H1N1

week 4,Region 4,Normal,5.2%,1 of 8,85*H3,21*H1,224*A?,121*B,0
week 5,Region 4,Normal,5.5%,1 of 8,103*H3,25*H1,251*A?,129*B,0
week 6,Region 4,Normal,7.2%,2 of 8,119*H3,34*H1,277*A?,133*B,0

18,4,27,8
16,9,26,4
so likely H3N2, if it was flu


~50 tests per week for the whole region 4
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Old 02-22-2012, 01:54 PM   #18
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gsgs, I don't know anything more about the testing. The doc didn't test us but said that others had been tested.

I got the impression that together, the local doctors were noticing a big increase in the number of people presenting with this, and so decided to try to get it identified.

I won't know any more until I see the doc again, which hopefully won't be soon! But I am going to try to remember to ask about it when I do see him next.

I do find it interesting that in the weekly flu stats from CDC, region 4 has a significantly higher number of Type B than anywhere else.
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Old 02-22-2012, 07:41 PM   #19
Mama Alanna
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Catbird View Post
What I should have done is get some things done on Monday. I knew that I was starting to feel bad and that DH was definitely sick. I guess I just figured that I wasn't that bad and I'd still be able to take care of things. I was wrong. Next time, which hopefully won't be for a good long while, I'm going to be a lot more proactive about making some preparations.
Better to find out now than when the manure has REALLY impacted the windmill! Now you could have called 911 and summoned help, or asked friends/family to make a grocery run for you. In a 1918-style pandemic, who knows?
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