Wednesday, December 21

Twas the Night Before Christmas and I Got the Flu

A couple of years ago I came down with the flu on Christmas Eve. Yup, Christmas Eve. I of course, didn’t get a flu shot that year because I arrogantly assumed, “I never get the flu.” Uh huh. Well, here’s my story, in poetic verse. It’s a cautionary tale that will hopefully inspire you to take care of yourself this holiday season so you don’t end up like me.

Twas the night before Christmas and I got the flu
With presents to wrap and folks to entertain, what was I to do?

The relatives arrived all merry and gay
I secretly wished they’d all go away

With sweat on my brow and aches in my body
I slapped on a smile and downed a hot toddy

Christmas Eve festivities droned on and on
I sat on the couch trying to stifle a yawn

Finally, our children were tucked in nice and tight
But Michael and I still had a long night

Up and down the stairs we did go
Delivering gifts to the Christmas tree below

Finally collapsing onto my warm, soft bed
My eyes shut for a moment before screams of, “Santa’s been here!” echoed in my head

Forcing a smile and nodding with feigned delight
I felt like a truck had run over me last night

Whispering to Michael, “I’m not sure I can make it. I feel like hell.”
His eyes sympathetic, he nodded, “Yeah, I can tell.”

Perplexed he asked, “What about the turkey and stuffing? What will you do?”
Christmas was here. It did not stop for the flu.

I rallied once more to cook for my crew
My face taking on a pasty white hue

The turkey was roasted and the potatoes mashed
I sat down for dinner on the verge of collapse

With glassy eyes and a fever of one hundred and three
I was tapped out. I hadn't an ounce of glee.

The feast was blessed and our crystal glasses clinked in the air
All the while I tried to steady myself in the chair

Waving to my family as they drove out of sight
“Thank God that’s over,” I said, “I thought they’d be here all night.”

Tissues and Nyquil in hand, I slogged off to bed
Visions of Cold-Eeze danced in my head

Enveloped in my cocoon of Kleenex and blankets
I sweated and tossed and turned for ages

Emerging three days later I’d found
My illness had made me lose seven pounds

“Hey, not bad,” I thought with a slow smile
Now maybe I won’t have to diet for a while

Yeah, nice thought, but that wasn’t the case
The pounds reappeared at an alarming pace

A week later I was back to feeling almost new
But I’d missed the joy of Christmas because of the flu

A Word about Flu Prevention

The Centers for Disease Control recommends that everyone over 6 months of age get a yearly flu shot. It is especially important for those in high risk groups—young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older.

In addition to the flu shot, other preventative tips include:

Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
Avoid touching your face. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
Practice healthy habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

I wish you all a happy, healthy holiday and best wishes for 2012!

1 comment:

  1. Many of us can relate
    to a Christmas flu date

    The holiday rituals 'must happen'
    tho we're fevered and misshappen

    We're stretched to our limit
    superhuman--we give it

    everything we sisterhood got
    though w/pain we're totally besot

    thank you for so creatively
    recalling your flu journey

    Will print your poem & prevention tips
    a seasonal reminder so as not to slip

    and fall into the dreadful flu trap
    and that Ms. Stiles is a wrap.