The After Bite — The Arizona #Flu

What knocked me out

I’m naming it the Arizona flu because while I was there I watched the news every day. Apparently, the state of Arizona had more cases of influenza than the rest of the United States combined. As a certified germ freak, I was very careful about my surroundings and where my hands had been before they ever entered anywhere near my facial orifices. 

Approximately 2 days after our return, I felt my throat feeling a bit scratchy and developed an aggravating constant dry cough. I figured as per usual, I was catching a cold from the airplane no doubt. Why won’t I learn to wear that darned mask on an airplane? WRONG! That would have turned out to be wishful thinking.


Racing the Clock for Chicken Soup 

By the time Friday night approached, and I had been doing quite a good job of catching up on blogs by then, my body began to feel weird. I went to bed that night and had a restless night. When I woke the next morning, I went to my computer to catch up on mail and blogs and began to feel very lethargic, something I’m not used to. In what felt a race against time, I quickly ran to the freezer to defrost a chicken and get it into the pot as soon as it would allow in preparation for an oncoming cold or maybe worse? By the time I had that soup simmering, I was completely out of steam.


Whammo! Down for the Count!


By Saturday evening all the wind had left my sails, sitting up was impossible, my legs felt like lead, the room was spinning, I was burning up and freezing. I’d like to say that was the worst of it but it wasn’t.


What I thought was the oncoming of a cold turned out to be an evil dose of influenza. I had to google this flu and its symptoms and sadly, I wasn’t missing one of them. The dry cough I thought was the start to a cold, turned into something evil living in my respiratory system. I began coughing incessantly as though my diaphragm and lungs had been turned inside out which made me feel as though my ribs were broken. Certainly this was akin to whooping cough. Four days later it hasn’t subsided.


As if the broken rib feeling wasn’t enough, I was delirious with fever and nausea. Wrapped in blankets from bed to couch and back, I shivered at the same time I was soaked in a pool of sweat. Even sipping water was nauseating, so thank goodness for the handy stock of ginger ale I keep handy in the back fridge as that was my sustenance for 2 days. But the best part was how every bone and joint in my body, right down to my toes, felt as though they were whipped with a tire iron and to top it off, I felt like after the whipping, someone had thrown me down a few flights of stairs. Even my skin hurt when I touched it. This is the only way I can describe what I felt for 4 days.


This Girl Doesn’t Do Flu Shots!


It was a good thing I always keep my holistic medicine for flus and colds at hand, but this monster became a task too big for my arsenal. The only relief I had was sleep from the Gravol I took to keep the nausea at bay,which gratefully, kept me sleeping.


To be honest, I hadn’t had a flu in 10 years, but I can honestly say, I never, ever experienced anything as gargantuan as this brutal force that overtook my body. I had a new understanding of just how easily some people can die from such a flu.


And Then there were Two


My husband trailed me by one day as he too became a victim. I can’t even say that it hit him harder than me because of his 20 years my senior. Nope. Symptom for symptom we looked and felt pretty much the same, with exact punishing symptoms. We were like the blind leading the blind because we could no longer help one another. Neither of us had the strength to walk, talk or complain. We were both prisoners to our own bodies.


A Glimmer of Light


It’s late at night now, going into Day 5. I’ve actually been able to have a shower, stomach some soup and sit up and be on the computer. The high fever has broken, I’m no longer freezing. The pain in my body has subsided to half of what it was. I’m still walking slowly and still dizzy when I stand, but the nausea has passed. The wicked coughing isn’t gone but comes in less frequent intervals, so I’m thinking I’m actually on the mend.


What I’ve Learned


  • I’m not invincible 

  • The Flu is a very scary illness

  • I will be wearing that ugly mask next time I travel in Flu season

  • This is not a recommended diet to take off the few pounds that found me in Arizona 


My Advice


Always be prepared for colds and flus, especially at this time of year, with unpredictable weather changes. Have some canned chicken soup stocked on the shelf, gingerale, Gravol, Advil for pain, some form of natural antiviral remedies such as Oil of Oregano and Elderberry tonic. I could also tell you to listen to the signs that your body is telling you, but with this brute of a flu, you would be sure to discover the signs.


DISCLAIMER NOTE:  I am not licensed to practice medicine, nor to prescribe. I’m merely sharing the products I take for years for my own illness. Besides the fact that I try to avoid taking pharmaceuticals as best I can, the flu is a virus, therefore, antibiotics won’t help the flu, although they may have a place in extenuating situations, such as an accompanied respiratory illness. For my own reasons, I choose to use Oil of Oregano when I’m ill because it’s nature’s antibiotic, having both antibacterial and antiviral properties. It’s always best to check with your doctor and/or naturopath.


Stay warm. Stay healthy.





#Gratitude for #Doctors

Angels and doctors

I wasn’t going to put together another post for this week, as I already have my posts for the week scheduled in draft, but I’m sticking one more in because I feel compelled to say something.


I talk about kindness and the universe a lot. I also preach that without having our health, we have nothing, for nothing else can bring us joy while we’re busy fretting over serious illness.


I had to write this post in gratitude as a shout out to two wonderful doctors.


Many of you know my personality here, and how I am here, is how I am in my real life. I’m friendly, inquisitive, and make friends and form rapports quite easily because I respect people and have a way of forming instant bonds with people. This is no different when it comes to my relationships with mine and my husband’s doctors.


In today’s world, we all know that it can be difficult to get in to see a doctor at times. Wait times can drag on, and if we’re scared about something, the waiting can seem like an eternity; especially if you are out of country on the other side of the continent. And don’t even get me started with trying to get hold of a doctor to speak to them personally.


I know the US has their healthcare issues, and believe me, a lot has changed too with Canadian healthcare, not for the better. But there are still some Saints  doctors around who still have a bedside manner and compassion. And I am blessed to have two of them.


Without getting into great details of the Stage IV prostrate cancer my husband had a few years ago, and the grueling treatments he underwent to save his life, I’m always on guard for symptoms, and there have been a few residual issues from side-effects of the treatment through these past few years.


A few days ago, while we’re on vacation, my husband developed some questioning symptoms (which I won’t get into here). I’m pretty well versed in health and disease and cures, medically and naturopathically. His symptoms weren’t making a lot of sense to me and flagged an alert system in my brain from the things I do know. After googling my computer to death, knowing what he didn’t have, but miniscule possibilities of what he could have, I was quite concerned to the point where I felt we might have to go back home.


You may be wondering if we have out of country medical insurance, and the answer is yes, of course, but I’m pretty well versed too, at the way the insurance companies work. I’ve seen issues all too often in the news. If there’s one tiny thing they can find to pin an ailment on, they won’t cover insurance, and I know if I took him to a doctor here, they’d pin his symptoms back to his cancer 5 years ago and wouldn’t reimburse, so although feeling like I may be overstepping some privileges, I contacted 2 of our doctors back home, on Sunday.


Dr. Vesprini, oncologist at Sunnybrook Hospital is one of my husband’s doctors. We see him twice a year for testing to make sure the cancer hasn’t returned. Dr. V, as I call him, is a strappingly handsome young man with a great personality, and a man who doesn’t make you feel like you’re even in a hospital. We were there before we came to Arizona for hub’s semi-annual checkup, and there was a test result misplaced. He said, ‘Don’t worry Deb, I’m not going to make you come all the way back here. Here’s my personal email address, we’ll run that test again now, then email me Monday and I’ll email you back the results”. Wow, I was touched that he wasn’t going to put us out and make us come back so he could charge OHIP for another visit, or that I didn’t have to go through hoops with a secretary, not to mention that he felt comfortable giving me his personal email address.


Dr. Marsden (although we’re on a first name basis) became my naturopath almost 15 years ago. He basically saved my life a few times over. He’s a brilliant naturopath who studied in Germany and brings all the technology here. He has patients that come to his cancer clinic and health center from all over the world. I’ve watched him grow from his small practice, to an international superstar who travels many places now to lecture. But when it comes to looking after me and my husband it feels as though he’s our friend and always comes to the plate when I have a concern. So yes, I do have his cell phone personal number since 2006 when I had my open heart surgery for the tumor on my heart, and he was there for me through consults, listening to my fears, and for a speedy recovery process. He even came to our house to check on me. They just don’t make doctors like Dr. M anymore.  I have never abused his number, never, ever used it.


But Sunday I was full of worry. I decided it was time to use my ‘get out of jail free cards’. I sent an email to Dr. Vesprini, with details of my observations on my husband’s symptoms. I didn’t have Dr. Marsden’s email with me, so I sent him a lengthy text explaining my concerns and minute details of the symptoms, and my apologies for bothering him.


Dr. V emailed me back first thing Monday morning, and we emailed back and forth, his diagnosis, and my questions. He verified what I thought it was, and although he’s 99.9% sure of what it is, he told me as long as it remains the same and doesn’t get worse, there is nothing to worry about, and to be sure, he will test my hub when we return home to make sure his diagnosis is correct. He reminded us to have a great time and not to worry and to let him know if anything worse happens, feel free to contact him.


Dr. M called me. He told me exactly what Dr. V had said, put our worries to rest, and said these effects are common even years after radiation, and as long as it remains like this, there’s no reason to worry, although he wants hub to have the same test Dr. V requested when we get home. He invited me to call him anytime if there’s a concern, but I would never abuse the privilege unless I found myself up against a brick wall. He also cautioned what to keep an eye out for and if anything gets worse, he advised we come home.


Now, I had surmised from my knowledge and investigations what the problem could be,  but I knew I had to consult with a doctor for verification and peace of mind. I’m not one to ever let suspicious symptoms linger. Everything seems fine for the time being; symptoms are lessening, and I am on watchful duty should things escalate. But I can’t stop thinking about how blessed I am to have these rapports with 2 wonderful human beings who just happen to be doctors.


Thank you for your kindness, concern and compassion Dr. Vesprini and Dr. Marsden. The world could use more doctors like you.