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Mar 04 2013

Flu snapshot- a delirious and dramatic tale.

This weekend I was up to my neck with the flu. I say up to my neck because I was still coherent( aside from a few moments of delirium), was able to form sentences and count backwards from 100 so everything from the neck up was functioning well. From my collar-bone down, I was a mess.

I should’ve known something was up on Friday morning when I found myself fully engaged in an infomercial about handbags. I was swept up away by its versatility. This nifty bag could be worn with a suit or taken to the beach. At night, and with one quick unsnapping of the strap, it could be held as a clutch and worn with an evening gown.  On top of that, it had many pockets and this girl loves pockets.  Some of them had zippers on them to keep contained the smaller hard to find items, like a lipstick tube or the quarter you’re always looking for to unlatch the grocery cart from its chains. It also had a little loop that one could snap their ring onto should their finger band become cumbersome.

Key fob?

It had that as well.  I was thrown over the edge when they announced that this very same purse, if unzipped at the bottom could extend itself into a tote or diaper bag.

My children are all grown up but lately I’ve been fantasizing about grandchildren. The bag would be perfect.

I’ve got to get one of these. My flu onset delirium took me to the computer where I checked my sanity with an announcement of the item I was thinking of purchasing on my social network in one window and in another a quick search of where could I buy this handbag and fast.

Within an instant, the comments trickled in- Don’ t do it!

My daughter wrote that she had put up with my penchant for pastel coloured jogging suits and velour pants but this was going too far.  She followed her message up with a phone call, imploring me to reconsider.

Still at my computer and checking  a few last minute emails before I got ready for work, a rush of a wave came over me-like  a whoosh.

I braced myself waiting for the vertigo I was certain was forthcoming.

Slowly I made my way down the hall to the kitchen to administer to myself the vertigo antidote of which I keep in my purse.  I was certain an attack was imminent.  I rifled around in my purse searching for my little cure.

“If only I had that purse from the T.V.” I muttered.

Suddenly, a chill ran through me and my body began to shake. I felt as though the energy that I had clearly woken up with, the same one that and had propelled me through my morning ritual of push-ups was now being sucked into the very floor that I stood on. My legs trembled.

I went on the alert.

Hmm! Well that’s certainly weird. I feel so…..so ……woobly.

Another chill and I sensed that my skin was hurting.  Or was it burning?

My legs felt so skrunkly.

When have I felt this before?

Oh yeah, on the hill, in the winter…when I tobogganed for too long and my toes were on the verge of frostbite. That’s the burning feeling.  So cold, that it burns.

It never occurred to me that I might have the flu.

Maybe this is low blood sugar, I queried. I’ve read it can cause weakness.

So I grabbed a cookie and some water and woobled my way to my reclining chair.

Shaking and trembling, I ate ½ my cookie and and waited for my sugar to stabilize.  I must add that I have no problems with my sugar levels; I was just trying to trouble shoot why my body was acting bananas by trial and error.

The cookie made me nauseous.

My body was still trembling and feeling weaker by the moment.

I felt…. sooo……… woogoogly.

There was a moment….a terrifying one where I felt I might pass out. I didn’t want to pass out. I’ve never done that before and though I enjoy many new experiences, there are some that have never interested me.

I held the phone close to my chest should I need to dial emergency services.  I could not believe that I had felt so well just an hour before and now…..feeling  so….whoah woah widgey!

Could this be the end of me? I queried.

I waited for the end for about 10 minutes and then decided I should go to work- maybe I’ll feel better.

My delirium and adrenalin firing off at the mere thought of my possible departure got me dressed and out the door.

Still in denial, I thought my condition could be resolved by eating a bologna sandwich and drinking some water.

Wrong!

A longer story made shorter, I made it through the day, went to the clinic and left with orders to rest and increase my fluid intake. The doctor was stumped.  On recalling my visit I realize now that I didn’t give him much to go on when I said that I felt a whoosh and then kind of skrunkly in my legs- like I had frostbite on them.   Yep- that’s delirium talking.

Sometimes it’s hard to explain how you feel.

He diagnosed me with a flu virus.  I was aghast. 

I slept for 12 hours straight after I got home, got up for a few and then lay on my recliner and my couch and my bed for the rest of the weekend.

In my convalescence during the worst part, I thought about the whole if this had really been the end for me, is there anything that I haven’t said that I should, anything that I wished I had done that I didn’t.

Only this came to me.  I usually make it a point to tell someone how I feel in the moment so that I don’t have any regrets later.  I don’t hold back telling someone that I love them or that they mean a lot to me.

It occurred to me that I didn’t thank my brother and to tell him how grateful I am for him especially in these last few years since our father died.

He was left with a tremendous responsibility to carry out the wishes of my father and the promises he made to him as he held him in his last hours.

He promised to protect and keep safe my mother and sister and to make sure they stayed in their home. He visits weekly sometimes more than once or twice to tend to needs big and small. He takes care of finances and does his best to fix what needs fixing or to arrange for someone who can, given that he is not a handyman.

He addresses every concern, some repeatedly and always presents the truth even when it does not want to be heard. The truth can sometimes feel pretty harsh no matter how softly you put it; especially when what you truly want to hear is the voice of the one you miss so much.

 He makes decisions that are sometimes unpopular and at times has had to stand alone under scrutiny and criticism, even from me.    That happens sometimes when you are the main caregiver. Everyone thinks their way is the best and only way.

He doesn’t give up. He doesn’t complain.  He only asks to be kept fully informed so he can keep doing what he promised to do- love and protect our mother and sister.

And yes he gets frustrated and overwhelmed at times, running back and forth while working for a living and taking care of his own family and household. His days can be long, running back and forth to change a light bulb only to return hours later with a new broom.

Yet he doesn’t complain. He talks openly about his frustration, puts things into perspective and carries on.

He made a promise to be honest and truthful and to make sure that every need was met.  He made a promise to make sure that the family home is where my mother and sister will stay for as long as they are safe.

He was chosen for this position long before my father died by both of my parents.  They chose him because they knew he could handle all that came with it- being the guy who has to make some hard decisions and weighing everything out as he does. They knew his analytical and logical mind would keep things clear and consistent.  They knew, based on who he has always been that he would speak the truth and weather any storm that might come with it. That’s the kind of guy he is.

He does not waver; he remains consistent in his words and actions. He sings the same tune he sang 20 years ago, 10 years ago, 3 years ago and today.  The only thing that has changed is he no longer grabs my head and rubs his fist on the top of it- the dreaded noogie- that he did when we were young.

So I am thankful for him. I am thankful he honoured my father’s wishes and kept in mind all of their earlier conversations about what my father’s concerns were.  I am thankful that he tries everyday to make things work. I am thankful he is willing to walk a sometimes rocky road.  I am thankful that he has a thick skin. I am thankful for his honesty and his strength. I am thankful that he is doing exactly what a loving son would do- love and protect his family.

I love you brutha! I am grateful for you.

Well, I’ve said my peace.I am on the mend  and this time there was no delirium involved.

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2 comments

  1. Tim

    Love you too sis! Thank you for such kind words.

  2. Tim

    Speaking of loving and caring brothers…..oops……..hope you’re feeling better Connie….!!

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