flu outbreak,

cabin fever

I hope you are just itching for a big healthy dose of my company today, because I have been quarantined all week after falling victim to the ongoing flu epidemic. Fortunately, thanks to the magic of the internet, I’m able to share the chilling tale.

It all started with a search for the flu vaccine. I know, I know. You can’t get the flu from the vaccine. However, if you get the vaccine in the middle of an outbreak and you have already been exposed to the virus but don’t know it, you can end up feeling like a big dummy. And that is exactly what happened.

My husband and I both got our flu shots, taking special care to wash our hands and hope for the best in the two weeks it would take for systems to build up immunity. Little did we know that less than a week later we were piling on blankets and downing Tylenol.

The flu hit us like a train. We took an overnight trip for a fun event with some friends, and on the first night, my husband had a slight cough. By the next afternoon, he was running a fever as we drove home. The next morning, he was miserable, and I had that sneaky little cough that started his downward spiral. I figured I had about 12 hours before we were both incapacitated.

Fortunately, friends came to our rescue with food, supplies, and the very important wonder drug Tamiflu. It is an antiviral drug that keeps the virus from being able to replicate so that your immune system can kill it faster. Within a couple of days we felt human again, and then we just started waiting for our fevers to return to normal so that we can get out of the house and see our friends and family again.

Anyway, try not to get the flu. Or try not to share it if you have it. And I promise to get my flu shot in the fall from now on.

(Rachel Parker Dickerson is a freelance columnist/journalist. Send your questions and comments to