If you’ll recall, a few years back there was an outbreak of H1N1 – a strain of the influenza virus – that made its way through the United States, with about 61 million cases reported.
At that time, I was working full-time, overnight, at a psychiatric hospital in Fargo, ND. From 11 p.m. to 8 a.m. almost every day I was nowhere to be found, hiding behind the locked doors of the facility.
When I got home after a long night of work, I usually ate some supper, watched ESPN and went to bed. I’d wake up again at 9 p.m. and get ready for the overnight shift. That was my life and it was boring.
Anyone who has worked nights will tell you it is difficult to maintain relationships with day-walkers. While they are off acting normal, you are sleeping, and when the normal go to sleep you are working. It is a vicious cycle.
After weeks of my girlfriend begging me to call in sick – although I was perfectly healthy – I finally agreed. I did my best to sound sick when I placed my call, and since the flu was making its way through the hospital, it wasn’t hard to believe I’d picked something up.
Alas, I was free!
I stayed up during the day – something I did pretty regularly at that time in order to assure I’d be able to sleep on my nights off – Jenny and I hit a movie at 7 p.m., then I went home to go to bed. I had been awake at that time for more than 24 hours.
At about 2 a.m. karma came knocking at my door. I woke up with chills, and felt hungover or like I had too much to drink. I sat up in my bed for a few minutes and watched the room circle around me. Suddenly, I had this feeling in my stomach – one I was unfamiliar with. I stood up, felt woozy and stumbled toward the bathroom.
I’ll spare you the details of the next nine hours or so, but I will share they were unpleasant and filled with vomit.
The next day I called in sick once more, this time not having to fake anything. I also promised myself I wouldn’t go a year without getting the flu shot again.
That was a promise I haven’t kept – I’ve yet to get a flu shot. Having experienced a sickness where midway through I was ready for death, I am surprised by my stubbornness. A flu shot that is almost entirely effective and will help you avoid the flu is the best way to stay healthy while everyone is cooped up during the winter months and flu bugs go viral. Short of avoiding people during the winter months, it is your best protection against the flu.
Page 2 of 2 - So do as I say, not as I do, and get a flu shot. I promise you it will be worth it, as you stay healthy while those around you fall ill.