Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Infected with H1N1

I have spent the last 13 days getting to know our friend H1N1 personally. While I have said many times this is a mild to moderate illness, I managed to have the moderate bout. More than once I thought I would end up investigating myself as a hospitalized case. Fortunately that did not happen, but I did end up with three separate trips to the doctor.

The morning after a sudden onset (7pm on a Thursday night, scratchy throat and a fever of 101.3 – it was so sudden I remember), I began a course of Tamiflu. And that day, despite fatigue and chills, I felt like I would have a quick recovery. The following morning, with the start of the second day’s dosage, I threw up for three hours. This is one of the side effects of Tamiflu. We often see children hospitalized due to dehydration with the flu, occasionally brought on by the side effects of the drug. I stopped taking it, knowing full well the potential for breeding drug-resistant virus. At that point though the cure was making me sicker than the illness, and frankly I am a poor patient when it comes to drug compliance anyway.

In the end I wished I had stuck with the Tamiflu. By the following day my throat was so raw I thought perhaps this was a misdiagnosis and I actually had strep. I went to the doctor. No strep, just lots of post-nasal drainage. So much post-nasal drainage that I could not sleep. I felt I was drowning on all the draining, and could not lie down. I created an awkward pallet of pillows on the sofa and tried my best to sleep sitting up (no, I don’t own a recliner, and yes, I know that would have helped). The fever came and went. I choked on snot. I threw up a lot. I was generally miserable. I ended up back at the doctor again and got some high powered decongestant. Only then everything was so dry I coughed for the dryness of it. I took a lot of antibiotics to ward off early signs of pneumonia, and steroids which always make me feel like air is seeping through my chest walls – easier to breathe but unpleasant. I also took multivitimins, tried a grape seed extract nasal spray (pretty much worthless), and drank a terrible tasting cold tea which helped quite a bit. All in all it was a terrible experience which I do not recommend.

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