Monday, October 4, 2010

Flu Who???



I have always gotten a flu shot. ALWAYS. But I never really thought much about it. It was just something I did every year. Last year, in October, I was 18-22 weeks pregnant with our sweet Ava girl. I had already gotten the regular flu shot, but I was in a "high risk" category for the H1N1 Flu (aka Swine Flu), and was anxiously awaiting the call from my OBGYN that the H1N1 shot was available. I was back working my office job for a nursing and allied health school temporarily (I had quite my teaching job because in the first three weeks of school, we had already had over a dozen cases of H1N1).


I remember the day. A student came in to speak with me. She looks AWFUL. She was sneezing, running fever, just bad. I handled her business and suggested she head home. That was on a Wednesday morning. By Friday, I knew I didn't feel right. And I KNEW that I had the flu. I have never had the flu, but something inside just told me. Cole had left for work in Louisiana that morning, and I called him and told him I didn't feel well, and that if I kept feeling badly, I was going to leave work early and head to the doctor. Well, I just felt worse. And worse. Now working for a nursing school, 95% of my co-workers are nurses. So I had plenty of people around me to ask. They all agreed I should be safe (especially being a Friday) and go on to the doctor. So I went. My main symptoms at the time were a cough, a slight headache, and just not feeling "right." The doctor said I had an infection, and wrote me a Rx for an antibiotic. I knew he was wrong. I wasn't running fever. I wasn't achey. But I knew. I didn't even take the prescription in to be filled. I just went home to wait it out. That night, the fever started. My MIL, a nurse, came over to listen to my chest (if you recall, the danger to pregnant women was respiratory) and it was clear. So I took some Tylenol, she left, and I decided that I would call the on call nurse in the morning if I still had fever. Well I did. BOY, did I. 103.6 AFTER Tylenol. YIKES. So about 7 am (because, you know, I didn't want to wake anyone up on a Saturday) I called my OB's service, and I was blessed that Trudy, my OB's nurse, was on call that weekend. I told her everything that was going on, and she sent me straight to the ER...

Now I should mention that I had researched the flu and pregnancy a lot. And I knew that fever (unless it got above 106) doesn't harm a fetus. So I felt pretty sure that Ava was okay. She was still moving around like a wild woman, so I knew she was good....

We decided (my mom, MIL, and I) that my MIL should be the one to take me. She lives closer than my parents (5 minutes vs. 15) and she was already exposed to me, and no use risking my mom getting it, too.

So my MIL and I hop in the car, and off to the ER we go. I knew my mom would not be able to stand it and would show up. Mentally I had a little guessing game going on about how long it would take her. I was right...she showed up less than an hour later. More on that in a bit....

We arrive at the ER. I should mention at this point that I have on sweatpants and a sweatshirt (I am having chills and fever, and swore I was COLD). So with Cole's big sweatshirt on, you really couldn't tell that I was pregnant. I check in and we sit and wait, and wait, and wait. We are finally seen. They begin me on IV fluids, and although they are pretty sure that it's the flu, they do a test to be sure (because I was pregnant they didn't want to just give me Tamiflu because it isn't 100% proven safe for the baby). If you have never had a flu test, I do NOT suggest it. It is a nasal swab. They first have to squirt saline up your nose and down your throat, then they stick a swab so far up your nose that you feel like they are swabbing your brain!!! The nurse said I handled it like a champ, though. Thank you very much. She said that she has seen grown men jump up, scream, cry, run out...all because of the test. Babies. Humf. :)

After the test confirmed that I was H1N1 positive, they did a chest XRay, being careful to cover my baby bump that was now obvious because they made me take off my warm sweats, just to make sure that my lungs were clear. They were. PRAISE JESUS. They also do an ultrasound to check Ava. That was scary because, even though I could feel her move, they couldn't find her heartbeat with the ultrasound in the ER (which is normally used to check cardiac problems-it was not an obstetrics ultrasound.) They send for an OB ultrasound, and there it is! Whew! That was the only point that I almost lost it. When they couldn't see her heartbeat, that was the only time I was afraid. So I am given Tamiflu, orders to check in with my doctor by phone Monday, and sent home to rest and get lots of fluids.

The next week was awful. I wanted to die. I seriously thought I was going to die. They had given me Tylenol with Oxycontin in it for the pain. So I slept most of that week. But what I do remember, was the worst week of my life. I would rather give birth 100 times than have the flu!!!!!!!

So, here is what you can learn from my experience:
1. If you are sick, STAY HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
2. Get your flu shot. If you choose not to get your flu shot, and you get sick, STAY HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!
3. One little shot is better than a week of feeling like you are on (and possibly ARE on) your death bed.

Oh, and Cole. Who was around me when I was coming down with it, and then went and had to fly sick oil workers off of a rig, and they all had it too. Yeah. He never got sick. The man is an OX.

Have a great day, stay well, and GET YOUR FLU SHOT!!!!! :)