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Old 09-14-2009, 09:54 PM   #1
flu-n-u
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Default My flu experience

Quick intro, then a post on my (probably swine flu) experience before returning to lurkdom; looks like I might have something to contribute since everyone and their uncle is going to come down with swine flu.

I started following SARS & H5N1 for work among other things. The Agonist was most useful initially for finding current news links, then things migrated. I think I used one site in between, or maybe it was a previous version of this site. Don't really remember; didn't seem important as long as I got useful information. Now I use this site among others to track things. Spotted swine flu emerging in the news very quickly; thanks all.

I came down with what I assume was swine flu in mid June this year. They were only testing hospitalized cases. I wasn't really surprised, since it had been declared pandemic (after it actually went pandemic) and the cases on the West Coast were 'Regional' on CDC's weekly flu list. The only question I had at the time was the CFR.

I didn't know anyone who was actually sick, but I heard about quite a few after I recovered.

Day zero, I felt fine, worked out hard, ate normally.

Day 1 I was tired and had nasal congestion. I didn't feel feverish, and didn't take my temperature.

Day 2 I had a headache, muscle aches, cough, nasal and chest congestion, and a temperature that started at 101.8 and went up to 102.2 even after aspirin. I couldn't breath well lying down. The nurse wanted me to come in. I declined. Didn't want to go anywhere; didn't think I should drive; didn't want to sit hours in a waiting room wearing a mask.

Because of previous information, and the nagging cough I have whenever I get sick after a really nasty illness back in 2000 or so, I'd already had several years' worth of flu vaccinations and a pneumococcal pneumonia vaccination. Also a whole house full of useful items. I'm not a 'crazy prepper'. Having a full freezer, a stocked pantry & medicine cabinet, and water + chains in my car is just my way of honoring my heritage. Plus an excuse to shop sales and eat home grown-cooked-canned foods.

I immediately jumped on my 'protect the lungs' protocol, which involves (since the demise of real Nyquil) aspirin, dextromethorphan, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin. I swap aspirin for tylenol because I don't like the incidence of liver problems, and willow bark tea sounds like something my ancestors would have used. I use benadryl as an antihistamine because it's cheap, I have it, and I can't find the antihistamine that used to be in Nyquil. Sometimes I add a glass of good port. Nyquil had alcohol. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. I take everything as separate drugs, so I can use only what I need in the dose that works. I also WRITE DOWN THE DOSE AND TIME because when I'm brain-fogged, tired, and sick, I can't remember what I did 10 minutes ago, never mind 6, 8,or 12 hours ago.

I also used hot salt water gargle (1 teaspoon/cup), a neti pot (1/2 teaspoon/cup) with pure salt, purchased as oven dried, pollen free, and non-iodized, plus Ocean Spray nasal saline spray EVERY TIME I had a coughing attack or felt congested. This meant usually every 2 hours when awake, and has, with the pseudoephedrine, been the major reason I rarely get a lingering cough after an illness for the last few years. Best tip I ever had from the nurse at the clinic. Starting the gargling as soon as I feel sick seems to lessen or prevent a really sore throat that makes swallowing painful.

I drank tea with lemon and honey by the quart, usually hot, and gatorade punch. Also frozen home made chicken soup with saltine crackers.

Day 3 'dawned' at 4:30 a.m. with intense cramps & runs followed by dizziness and nausea. Temperature hovering just under 102, still had all the other symptoms. Was that dye or blood? Note to self, do NOT drink gatorade with red dye. Switched to yellow-colored gatorade. And dilute apple juice. Chilled, in small sips, it doesn't aggravate the nausea.

Day 4, temperature down another 1/2 degree, still with the runs, still lying propped up so I can breath, at least the nausea has eased. Went outside to let sunlight kill the viruses. After 15 minutes I'm exhausted and go take a 3-hour nap.

Day 5 I'm below 100 degrees, but still rattle and wheeze when I'm not propped up. I call the clinic, get an appointment, and with it a prescription for a steroid inhaler and bronchodilator. I'm also out of guaifenesin. Thought I had a full bottle, but it's expired. Since I'm already driving around, I grab another mask and go to the drug store for more. The shelves are empty. Not just of guaifenesin, but most Robitussin combinations, cough drops, and a bunch of other cold and flu remedies. They've had WEEKS to stock up, we have a DECLARED PANDEMIC and they haven't bothered to keep Robitussin on the shelf? I wait, wait, wait for the pharmacist to ask if they have any. Finally my turn, and the girl goes to the empty shelf. I TOLD her there wasn't any out. So "You'll have to wait for the pharmacist". I can't stand up anymore. Fortunately there's a bench nearby. I drop into it feeling like I'm 80. FINALLY the pharmacist comes up with a bottle of the nastiest tasting generic stuff I've ever had. I go home and dose with the inhalers. The bronchodilator feels nasty, but the steroid inhaler works.

Day 6. Yay! Only propping myself up with 2 pillows instead of 3. Steroids are great! That guaifenesin, though, triggers it's OWN nausea if it's not ladled to the back of the tongue and washed down quickly. Temperature 99 and holding. Still have the runs, congested, coughing, exhausted. Sick of gatorade. Drinking chicken broth. Tryed adding cream of rice. Oops, mistake!

Day 7. Temp still 99. Doesn't sound impressive, except it's normally 97.6-8 in the morning. I have YEARS of records to prove it. Still feel like I've been hit, if not by a truck, at least by a bug. As long as I take the steroid dose plus the sudafed, and use the saline, I can sleep lying down. I have a pounding headache, I'm really hungry but afraid to eat. I try boiling cream of rice in chicken broth, letting the grains settle, and skimming off the top to drink. At least that stays inside. Later that evening I add more chicken broth and eat the grains too. Goes OK.

I'm so VERY VERY GLAD I have all this stuff in the house. Except the guaifenesin. And the prescription drugs. Note to self, buy the *other* guaifenesin as soon as I'm up and about again!

Day 8. Still 99 degrees. Eating white bread with honey, in very small bites, slowly. Still rattle if I don't do all my saline treatments, sudafed, and steroid. At least I'm coughing less if I'm not moving.

Day 12. Finally, my normal temperature. 97.6 in the morning. I've lost almost 9 pounds and all of my conditioning.

For the next week, I was out of breath just walking across the yard. I ended up on inhaled steroids for almost a month, but don't have any breathing problems now. Hopefully, it really was swine flu, and it's all behind me. Getting back the conditioning, however, has been harder. Midway through September I'm still not back where I was in early June. I feel lucky though; I have sick leave and health care, and was able to stay home until I was well. Someone else in our group ended up in the hospital for days.

I'm really surprised no one has mentioned saline in the flu forums I read. Between gargling and a neti pot, I can usually clear up breathing problems from random illnesses. At one point in the course I felt I NEEDED to cough up sticky junk to breath, so I quit using the cough suppressant and upped the saline spray, guaifenesin, and hot tea.

Hope you all find something helpful &/or encouraging here. Please stock up on essentials and comfort foods, get a pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine, consider the pandemic flu shot when it comes out, and look out for family and friends.

Back to lurkdom for me.
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Old 09-14-2009, 10:25 PM   #2
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Welcome to TBM, please hang around, don't go back to lurking.

Thank you for sharing your flu experience with us. We can all learn from this.
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Old 09-14-2009, 10:40 PM   #3
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Exquisitely detailed - thank you.

One thing your report shows - we're seeing a wide variety of symptoms. Me... never really got the nasty throat. Saline gargles would have been my first choice too.

It's instructive that you mention th conditioing taking so long to come back.

My concern now for those getting ill at THIS time is that they may still feel weakenedf when winter hits. And winter brings enough illnesses as it is...

I'm wondring... the southern hemisphere didn't see a lot of other strains. Might that be different here because it's colder in winter? MIGHT we see a fall wave of H1N1 followed by a winter wave of seasonal strains?

Thanx for all the info.
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Old 09-14-2009, 11:08 PM   #4
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Thanks for sharing your story, it really goes to show that the old "it's only mild" statement that people like to point out about the H1N1 isn't really true as told by your account it obviously wasn't a "mild" illness.

Excellent point Sue regarding the fact that so many people will be weakened by this virus and then have to go through a long cold winter and have to fight off all of the other illnesses going around. I agree that it's got to be much more difficult to do when it's freezing cold all the time. Time will tell!
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Old 09-14-2009, 11:19 PM   #5
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Yes, no more lurking!

Wonderful, informative story!

I was going to make a gallon of chicken stock tomorrow, I think I'll make two.
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Old 09-14-2009, 11:36 PM   #6
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WELCOME TO TBM!!!

Nice report!
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Old 09-14-2009, 11:51 PM   #7
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flu-n-u, welcome to TBM and thank you for the excellent flu report. Once you post you are no longer allowed to lurk. It's like a snowball rolling down a hill. The momentum has started. You will be assimilated.

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Old 09-15-2009, 07:56 AM   #8
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Great post Flu-n-u.
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Old 09-15-2009, 09:42 AM   #9
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Flu-n-u,

Were you able to do this all on your own or did you have folks helping you?

I live by my self out in the sticks on a dirt road, I am concerned about not getting much outside assistance.

Would you have been able to get up and let dogs in and out of the house, feed cats, dogs, bird, etc.? I might be able to have folks take care of my goats and chickens plus outside dogs, but inside animals I am afraid would be on me.
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Old 09-15-2009, 10:26 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oceantoad View Post
Flu-n-u,

Were you able to do this all on your own or did you have folks helping you?

I live by my self out in the sticks on a dirt road, I am concerned about not getting much outside assistance.

Would you have been able to get up and let dogs in and out of the house, feed cats, dogs, bird, etc.? I might be able to have folks take care of my goats and chickens plus outside dogs, but inside animals I am afraid would be on me.

It would certainly depend how bad you get, preexisting conditions, how many animals you have, etc....

The symptoms certainly all over the place.

Generally though, and certainly in my case with H1N1 last week, you aren't going to be totally laying on your back in your own waste for a week.

You will go through cycles, every 5-7 hours of feeling real bad, then easing up. (Check my thread and CanadaSue's thread.)

The goal is to plan around these cycles to get things done. You feel bad, sleep, feel good, get up, eat a light meal, drink, feed the dogs, let them out, and back to bed.

You will get energy in these cycles but it will leave you FAST. Be prepared.

Will the house animals get to go out on demand? Probably not. There will be accidents. So just clean them up when you have a "good" cycle and do a thorough cleaning when you get better.
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Old 09-15-2009, 12:54 PM   #11
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flu-n-u, welcome to TBM and thank you for the excellent flu report. Once you post you are no longer allowed to lurk. It's like a snowball rolling down a hill. The momentum has started. You will be assimilated.


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Old 09-15-2009, 12:55 PM   #12
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“When the situation was manageable it was neglected, and now that it is thoroughly out of hand we apply too late the remedies which then might have effected a cure. There is nothing new in the story. It is as old as the sibylline books. It falls into that long, dismal catalogue of the fruitlessness of experience and the confirmed unteachability of mankind. Want of foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusion of counsel until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong–these are the features which constitute the endless repetition of history.”
— Winston Churchill, House of Commons, 2 May 1935.
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Old 09-15-2009, 01:10 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by oceantoad View Post
Flu-n-u,

Were you able to do this all on your own or did you have folks helping you?

I live by my self out in the sticks on a dirt road, I am concerned about not getting much outside assistance.

Would you have been able to get up and let dogs in and out of the house, feed cats, dogs, bird, etc.? I might be able to have folks take care of my goats and chickens plus outside dogs, but inside animals I am afraid would be on me.
Wow OT, it sounds like you'd need a gaggle of supporters on your "farm."

Find a "FLU-BUDDY" somewhere.

Better yet, don't catch a case of H1N1! It seems like you are already socially distanced.
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Old 09-15-2009, 03:03 PM   #14
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You will be assimilated.
Unless you're dyslexic, in which case your ass will be laminated.

Great post, flu-n-u. Please post again. What are you seeing locally?
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Old 09-16-2009, 10:03 AM   #15
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Pote,

The first thing I do when I get to work in the morning is to log on to this site. Have been following all the threads. It sounded to me like flu-n-u might have pulled through this on their own.

Auburn Boy,

Not distanced enough. I have to bring a pay check home so it means going into work on the Army post. Have your ID handeled by the gate guard. Get inside the building I work in and use the hand rail for going down stairs. Get to the door and have to do a cypher lock. Go inside to an enclosed area where the air is recirculated and work with people who do not believe in staying home when they are sick (burn up all their leave time doing the fun stuff). Use your ID that was handeled by the gate guard to log on to your computer that you use for the Internet. The same computer is for common use since we do not have enough computer drops to go around. I work in a SCIF if anyone is familiar with that term. I am doomed.

flu-n-u,

Thanks for your post. Am adding your experience to the others and saying to myself "I AM SCREWED".
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Old 09-16-2009, 10:23 AM   #16
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Thanks for your post. Am adding your experience to the others and saying to myself "I AM SCREWED".
I seriously doubt it unless you have some underlying medical condition.

I didn't enjoy H1N1 but I didn't want to kill myself.

I was sometimes tough to move around but I could have if Ms. Potemkin wasn't there.

I would have used the "cycles" to my advantage. When I cycled bad, I would have stayed in bed. When cycling good I would have done things like shower, feed the dogs, water them, let them out, feed myself, etc.

The worst would be the dogs would have been a little hungry, a little thirsty and I might have some dog doo to clean up off the floor near the door.

Human and animals have survived worse.

But like I said, it isn't that bad and not the end of the world. Don't panic over this.
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Old 09-16-2009, 07:13 PM   #17
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To answer some questions, yes I got through on my own, but help was offered and had I needed it I would have accepted. I have to say, NOT having to go anywhere for anything I need when I'm sick is the only way to go. It's better to take a trip to the medicine cabinet and back to bed than go all the way to the drug store, especially if it means you're out in the elements, (and exposing everyone else), using public transit.

A sippy or straw cup filled with ice and a splash of juice on a bed-height table is nice. Ditto a thermos of tea. Get the lotion-tissues; your nose will thank you. And don't swallow mucus. It's loaded with nasty viruses looking for any route in. That's why I'm so diligent with neti pot & saline gargle at the first sign of illness. It helps to chant "Die, viruses, DIE" first. A plastic bag hung off the headboard is a good place to stuff used tissue. A shower and change of sheets when you're up to it feels nice. The dirty ones can be stuffed into a garbage bag and washed when you're better.

I read, a while ago, an on-line 'primer' on surviving flu on your own. Helpful info, but if you crash alone you're in serious trouble and could die. At LEAST have a phone-buddy calling 2-3 times a day, keep a charged cell phone on the bedside table, and if you don't answer or are incoherent when you do, they'll be able to call reinforcements so you can be admitted.

Pets: I opened the back door in the mornings, filled food and water dishes, and let them run wild. That means a fenced backyard. Pet doors could be handy. Automatic feeders/waterers could work too. I could NOT have handled hay bales or water buckets. I was out of breath just walking a block the 3rd week. That's when farm dwellers need pasture with automatic water troughs. If someone needs milking, you need help.

Sugar...there are lots of poisons in food. Pesticides, plasticizers, melamine among other things. Sugar is not a poison, and if rehydration therapy worked better without it, they'd leave it out. I was drinking *dilute* apple juice, organic, pasturized and unfiltered, like my mother and grandmother before me, and felt much better afterwards. It's my first step in the BRAT diet (bananas, applesauce, rice, toast) for GI issues. The first cream of rice experiment didn't work. That said, I'm not a diabetic, haven't really read up on it, and if your health care professional has other ideas, you probably ought to pay attention.

I normally have trouble falling asleep. Not with this bug! I haven't slept this much in years. I spent the rest of the time reading good novels I'd already read. (No point stocking unread novels; I'd go through them faster than a chocolate stash long before they were needed!) I'm a firm believer in RESTING when I'm ill, and reading keeps me from getting bored when I start to feel a bit better. My one foray into the garden resulted in a 3-hour nap, so by the time I felt well enough to be up, my back was killing me. Core strength is still shot and I've increased exercises to address it. As for my only risk factor, well, the chocolate is now buried deep in the chest freezer where it will stay until BMI reads what it should.

For anyone who hasn't been stricken yet, PLEASE pick up what you need on the way home TONIGHT. There isn't anything more important going on. Really! If you're meeting a friend, meet at the drugstore and make a pact over dinner to take care of each other. If you're picking up the kids, take them with you to the store and make it a teaching moment. Etc!
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Old 09-16-2009, 07:24 PM   #18
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What flu-n-u said, squared.

I shouldn't have been surprised by how quickly you go from: "I feel fine" to "Oh Gawd, take me now..."

I'll be curious to see how long it takes to regain strength. Walking from the computer chair to the bathroom, (a whole 15 feet), leaves me breathing quickly & my pulse shoots up.

flu, you were able to READ & understand/remember what you were reading? For a few hours last night, I literally couldn't interpret a digital clock.
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Old 09-16-2009, 08:44 PM   #19
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For anyone who hasn't been stricken yet, PLEASE pick up what you need on the way home TONIGHT. There isn't anything more important going on.

On my way for chicken soup ingredients, Mucinex, Gatorade and apple juice.

Maybe some lotion tissues.
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Old 09-16-2009, 09:02 PM   #20
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CanadaSue:

RE-read. Saves money & brainpower. I wouldn't spoil a new book reading it sick. Only when feeling better, too, not with 102+ fever. That's sleepy-time. Also brain-fog is why I recorded what I took, when, and how much. I don't have a good memory at the best of times.

I also remember cramping in my calves when I finally started walking around a bit the 2nd week, despite the gatorade.

For everyone else, the old fashioned cookbook 'Joy of Cooking' has a list of essential pantry supplies exceeding some people's prep lists. The older versions do; I don't know about the newer ones. I grew up thinking that was normal.

At least pick up a case of chicken noodle soup per person, powdered Gatorade, cream of rice, maybe some applesauce, and a bland juice. (Apple, pear, I've used grape). Citrus doesn't go down well on an upset stomach. Plus flu meds from the drugstore. If it doesn't get used it can always be donated to a soup kitchen next spring.
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Old 09-17-2009, 10:36 AM   #21
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Thanks flu-n-u for the blow by blow update.

Every little bit of knowledge from the experienced folks (already been sick) does help.
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Old 11-06-2009, 06:58 PM   #22
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Yes, I dragged it up again for anyone just joining us. Now that pandemic is back in the headlines and we're well into the second wave. Too lazy to re-write, and too busy.

People, please please top up on preps. Get some extra for friends or neighbors who might need help. Get some extra for YOU and your family just in case the piggy flu comes calling twice.

I figure I needed a reason to inventory my freezer so I did that last week. Yep, I Need More Soup. I could only live a month on the soup I have; less if I need to take care of anyone else.

Not that I need an excuse to spend a soggy weekend brewing up a couple more kinds of soup. They make the kitchen smell delicious!
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