Friday, March 12, 2010

Spoiler Alert: Flu Shots Don't Work If Your Job Makes You Sick

They say your body is smart enough to send you warning signs; you just have to pay attention to the signals; listen to the cues; practice Mindfulness.

Well, try this one on for size: The last time I had the flu, and I mean the whole achy-everything hurts-sore throat-fever-can’t get out of bed-no appetite- so mentally out of it that you start to think Megan Fox is a good actress-flu, was two years ago. Then I became so healthy (taken to the extreme, at one point), that infections would see my white blood cells and submit their white surrender flag. I never missed my daily serving of fruits and vegetables (I really like them), and I took vitamins (I really only like them if they’re chewable, please, or gummi-bears ); not just one vitamin but multiple vitamins: Daily-multi, B-Complex, Vitamin C, Omega-3, the 3-a-day MSM; Flax-seeds and Chia seeds; shall I proceed? I was a walking poster-child for any health food store, which could be attributed to shopping at them. Knowing I was moving to France and being the coverer-of-all-bases that I am, I got a flu shot.

Last Sunday marked the end of a three week (minus some) vacation; back to Au Pair life. I was “home” by 6, pajamas by 7, in bed by 8, and then, boom, it hit me. I can say, without hyperbole, that my eyes were on fire, my throat had been attacked by sandpaper, my lungs collectively decided they wanted to break free, and amongst the 3 down-comforters, heater, and Snuggie covering me, I still couldn’t stop shivering. I was ill.

Then, the virus, somehow, spread to the frontal cortex of my brain, infecting my common sense, and in my hypochondriatic state, I diagnosed myself: Really?! How am I sick? No, but really?! It can’t be the flu; I got a flu shot; unless it’s Swine Flu (by proxy, through all the ham this family eats. Maybe it’s strep-throat? Nope, no white dots on my throat. Fever? Yep. Dizzy? Very. What if it’s pneumonia? You’ve already had pneumonia before; it’s just the flu. Nope, it’s definitely pneumonia. I bet they don’t even have real doctors in France. How could they when they don’t even sell peanut butter?! Yep, I’m going to die, from pneumonia.

It wasn’t pneumonia. Oh, and I found peanut butter (at a health food store today).

Let’s be honest: Since January, it’s been an unremitting pattern of 2 steps forward, 3 steps back, putting me further behind than I was when I arrived. There are, of course, aspects that have significantly improved (like the 2 degree weather increase, or the people I’ve met), but it coincides with the parts that have worsened. And now my job was making me physically sick? The lyrics from the Talking Heads band are playing in my head: “How did I get here?”

Or, in a less melodramatic state, it could all just be from the overly handled fruit that I bought at the Farmers’ Market that morning. Who knows?!

Daily Gratitude:

  • The American mom and Costo vitamins. Terra: Thank you!
  • The sun came out today
  • My friends continue to make me laugh on a daily basis
  • I just finished the book I was reading and now, get to start the much anticipated book, authored by my good friend.


  1. This is great-I needed the laugh for a friday, unbelievable kind of week day...thanks my awesome daughter! Hope you are now feeling better. A spoonful of peanut butter helps the medicine go down! love you, mom

  2. Um, thinking Megan Fox is a good actress is NOT a flu. That's way more severe than a flu, my friend.

    It sucks to be sick. It sucks even in the comfort of my home. Being elsewhere, it's even harder. I'm so glad we've been able to chat this past week! I miss you and wish I could hug you (yes, even with the germs... that's how much I care). Feel free to call me this weekend, or we can chat online next week :)


  3. i freaking love your blog. fyi.

  4. awww. i can't believe you're sick. i hate the flu. and oh... even though megan fox has that whole "i'm exotic looking but american"-thing going on... i agree with ya ;) i hope those meds help. it's no fun being sick.

    i can't wait to hear about the book! i love great reads!

  5. groan! sorry to hear you're not feeling well twinny! awful. but the hypochondriatic state you found yourself in is a little bit funny. thakn god for the expat mama, whew! and pb! hooray!

  6. Aw poor you! Sorry to hear that you're sick, I hope the haul from your neighbour helps. It's so important to listen to what your body is trying to tell you, mine has been attempting to beat that message into my head all day too!

  7. Hahaha, amazing post, girl...
    I´m sorry that you´re sick, though. I hope you get well soon!
    And you found PB in France! Now I have more hope to find it here, in Brazil... Haha!
    Enjoy your weekend :)

  8. lol go figure, the only time you get a flu shot, you get the flu! ive never had the flu before i hope i never get it!
    yea and megan fox is ....i just cant put into words how crappy she is.. lol