So I had to call in sick from work this week. Last time I called in sick was about twelve and a half years ago when my water broke, forcing me give birth to my youngest son a week or two early. I was supposed to work that Saturday, Dr. Rogers had even picked me up a McDonald’s “McGriddler” breakfast sandwich, which was my big craving at the time. She was bummed that I didn’t get to eat it (not to mention that Saturday is the worst day to get stuck working alone).
Apparently there is some kind of monster-Mongolian-death-upper respiratory virus going around. It’s kind of a cold in flu clothing. First my kids got it, now I have it.
On the plus side, my husband, in a desperate effort to avoid contagion, is sleeping in the guest bedroom- giving me the big bed all to myself and the pets. Plus he’s cooking dinner, to keep my pestilence off the food.
Since getting this thing on Monday, I’ve been lurching out of bed to get the kids off to school, throwing back some Emergen-C, then collapsing back into bed in an effort to give my immune system time to fight this thing off.
Best thing about my current sloth-like sleep schedule (not counting the 120 times a night I wake up to cough my lungs out/take myriad medications/blow my nose/etc) is waking up surrounded by concerned pets who feel sorry for me. Well, I’m not so sure about the cats, but I know the dogs care.
I should also mention the benefit of having teen-aged mostly self-sufficient children when sick. When your kids are older, you, the parent can (for the most part) actually take off some time to be sick. When your kids are little, you simply can’t “be” sick, you have to run around, drugged to the gills, with kleenex up both nostrils, exhausted within an inch of your life: because those babies still need care. That is probably what hell looks like. It kind of reminds me of this video, which is so very, very true (if you’re a person with multiple kids).
Anyhoo, I told Dr. Sharp that I’d update the blog while I’m home, so I’m doing something kind of work-related, but that doesn’t require any actual standing or moving around. (Apparently I’m currently in the “Oh-my-God-I-am-so-tired-I-feel-like-I’m-slogging -through-mashed-potatoes” stage of the disease. This phase seems to be a hallmark of middle-aged sickness. I don’t remember feeling this bad when I was younger. I used to be able to power through colds using the magic of pseudoephedrine and vitamin C. Now colds linger. What’s happened? Is this another aging thing or are the viruses getting stronger? Maybe it’s all that gluten.)
Yesterday, I took the 3 hours of continuing ed necessary to update and renew my USDA accreditation. This gives me the power to continue to write complicated international health certificates to ship your pets to far away lands. Writing international health certificates is actually a pretty stressful process. Many vets have given up their USDA status because one mistake: like signing the form in black ink instead of blue, can result in horribleness. (As in quarantine, or your dog being stuck at the airport and not getting to come home.) However, since I just updated my CE, my knowledge is fresh so if you’ve been thinking about shipping Fluffy to Australia, I’m your (wo)man.
Hold on, it’s been 6.25 hours since my last Ibuprophen, the aches are returning, gotta reload.
Finally, because this is a veterinary blog, I decided to look up the origins of the term “sick as a dog”. Best explanation I could find is in this blog. Apparently, it refers to the vomiting kind of sick (which I am not, thankfully) and the common dog habit of eating something unsavory then yacking it back up. The article also touches on the origins of the term “under the weather”, which is apparently more pertinent to my current situation.
Also, no- for the most part, dogs and cats don’t get human colds and flu. I think there is some weird stuff with some of the Asian flu strains, but off the top of my head, it’s not much of an issue here in the US. Some DVM or MD or Epidemiologist with the energy to look it up can correct me if I’m wrong. **Now, since I just took the USDA corse on Foreign Animal Disease detection, there are two viruses: Nipah and Hendra that cause flu-like signs in humans, that dogs can carry, but they have to get them from a fruit bat in countries like Australia and Malaysia, so I think we’re safe.
Take care, I hear this thing is going around. Use lots of hand sanitizer and remember to sneeze and cough into your elbow, instead of your hand, so you don’t smear your germs on everything (That’s what they’re teaching the young kids these days. Hand coughing is a hard habit to break, trust me, but it makes sense!)