TYPHOID MARY CAME TO TOWN… Now She Won’t Leave

Tis healthy to be sick sometimes.” ~ Henry David Thoreau 

Last winter’s weather wreaked havoc on our fine town. It was cold. It’s snowed a lot. Schools were closed. There were colds and flu’s keeping children home from school. Parent’s spent days nursing them back to health waiting for the inevitable sickness to strike them. Thankfully there wasn’t a crazy epidemic of radical contagions invisibly flying ramped through the air, quarantining residents from life as they know it, such as “The Yellow Fever Epidemic of PHILADELPHIA in 1793” (go to www.hitoryofphilly.com to learn about that hometown plague) just an ordinary winter of ills.

Now Spring has sprung and goodbye to colds, coughs and fevers right? Wrong, at least in my home. I am in week four of “the flu.” This has been the worst flu experience I have survived. It’s not over yet so fingers crossed. Every winter I get the flu shot, not because I believe it works but because I’m at CVS all the time and they do it there so why not? This year I consciously challenged it and didn’t get one. “Let’s see if this really works” I thought. I regret that rebellion.

Over a month ago my son says “Mom, I don’t feel good.” My reply “you’re going to school.” I knew he was telling the truth because it was Friday. No kid says they’re sick on a Friday even if they are, they’ll wait until Monday. Three days of sleep, cough drops and he’s better. Three days later I have a touch of swollen glands, no biggie. Then all of a sudden I physically felt like I was hit with a Mack truck carrying a load of flu symptoms and I was down for the count. I had no idea how bad it would get.

When I’m sick I can be quite dramatic, more so than usual. In a state of delirium I had a visit from Typhoid Mary. Simply a whisper of her name and a vision like a bad dream. I said I am dramatic and was delirious, I was sick not crazy. Why Typhoid Mary? I knew nothing of Typhoid Mary. I don’t remember ever hearing about her. My name being Mary was my scientific explanation as to why I received her visit. Who is Typhoid Mary?

Mary Mallon better known as Typhoid Mary, was an Irish immigrant, (Uh, I’m Irish) the first person in the United States identified as the carrier of typhoid fever. Typhoid fever is a life-threatening illness caused by the bacterium Salmonella Typhi. In the United States, it is estimated that 5,700 cases occur annually. It still exists! It’s not as traumatic as in 1907 and be cured with antibiotics but still, did I have it?

Mary was a cook and every family she worked for she infected, left most of them to die and then went on the lamb to another family. The spreading of the disease was due to the fact she wouldn’t wash her hands. Are you kidding me? The disease must of made her delirious. Who knowing infects people due to lack of hand washing wouldn’t wash their hands? Plus if she washed her hands her employers wouldn’t die so she would keep making money and not keep moving around. The symptoms are red splotches and diarrhea. I had neither and a rarely cook. I had the flu.

Flu symptoms: I will out myself and say that I’m not one to pay attention to health labels? Gargle with hot salt water, drink lots of vitamin C, watch movies and sleep. That’s my cure for all. (That’s me not my kids, they go to the Dr. immediately.) I don’t own a thermometer, a hand to the forehead has always been good enough for me.

Flu symptoms include:
Fatigue – I’m always fatigued.
A cough and/or sore throat – used to it.
A runny or stuffy nose – yea? Life goes on.

HERE IS WHERE MY BODY BETRAYED ME:

CHILLS– I had five nights of sweats and chills to the point I was a puddle in a bed, sopping wet. Not only was it at night, it was in the day too. I had to call my MOM.  My only hope was that I was losing water weight. One day it was 70 degrees outside and I was shaking wearing my sad granny sweater, a hat, scarf and laying under three blankets. My son was running in and out with shorts and a t-shirt on.

BODY ACHES– OMG, My muscles ached, my skin hurt! I was bedridden for days. About 10 days into this flu, my kidney area started to hurt. I tried to stretch it out for two days. Being a dancer/yogi I have great body intuition. I diagnosed a pulled muscle but It wouldn’t go away. Finally I surrendered and went to the Dr.’s. Prognosis: My back seized up and I had a muscle knot the size of a tennis ball. Not only was I right, I was embarrassed that I went to the Dr.’s for a pulled muscle. I was told to use a heating pad which I did for days. It helped the chills, not my back.

HEADACHES – I am a survivor of serious migraines. I have a super duper nasal spray that I use in only the most serious situations.  I hoard the stuff… just in case. I sprayed two in one day! It didn’t work. I spent one entire day not being able to open my eyes. Again I had to call my MOM who bought supplies of liquids, cough medicines, cough drops, Tylenol, you name it, she brought it. She also bought a thermometer. Mind you I’m probably two weeks into this crisis. I was so dehydrated I must of chugged two gallons of lemonade and Hawaiian punch back to back. Vitamin C or not, it was good!

A 100oF OR HIGHER FEVER – Mom “Do you have a fever, you look very flushed?” Me “ I don’t know, yes, I’m hot: mood cranky.” “Here let’s take your temperature.” Less then three minutes later… 103. That wasn’t even at my worst. I guesstimate I fluctuated for three weeks between 100 and 104.

NAUSEA, VOMITING AND/OR DIARRHEA (most common in children)– THANK YOU, NO!

Where am I today, energy low and a cough that just won’t break. Don’t worry neighbors, I have quarantined myself for weeks and I do feel better. I’m not going to die. Next year, hello flu shot or I’m changing my name. Wait, what did you just say “Mom, my throat hurts.” My other son and it’s the weekend.

 

 

About

I am a writer, poet, humorist, screenwriter, blogger. I am not a label. Out of tragedy comes comedy. I see hysterical in the simple. This is my head. I live an extraordinary ordinary life. I am inspired, creative, passionate and fiery. I have been through and will continue. I will put it down and hope you pick it up. I am exposed, vulnerable, honest and authentic. I am sarcastic and witty. My favorite thing to do is watch life and laugh and cry and start over again. I invite you to laugh, release and lighten up with me. When life has kicked your butt, it's all about the comedy! Comedy fuels me, poetry soothes me, and dancing ignites...

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