It’s day three after my positive test result for Flu A. I think I have some weird mutation of a Flu A strain because this didn’t show up in my life the way the flu usually does. I think Dr. Smuckler (Dr. Lauridsen’s substitute) was thinking something similar. I could tell he was surprised, but the test results said, “Flu A.”
Sometime around 8/8 I started getting dizzy spells. Simultaneously, I began feeling exhausted—just a feeling of malaise. Then I had a couple of sneezing fits every other day. Then pressure I usually associate with a classic sinus infection, but it wasn’t horrible and could still have just as easily been a bad allergy attack. A few days later, I blew ugly gunk out of my nose. Oh, shit—a sinus infection. I started to use my Neti pot more religiously. Then the gunk went away and the pressure remained.
On Monday August 14th I was driving to work. I made the right turn from Semoran onto Aloma and, holy crap, it felt like a screwdriver was being shoved into my right ear. Shit, maybe it’s an ear infection, I thought. At that point I knew I’d have to go to a medical professional. The stabbing in the ear sensation happened a couple of times over that shift. Then the frequency increased. I kept mulling over the treatment options. I really did not want to go to an urgent care place because I wasn’t totally convinced my insurance plan would offer the two freebies that Vickie had. I’d taken her to the AdventHealth ER center in Oviedo that Wednesday, a couple of days after my ear stabbing sensation. She has Florida Blue also, and called was told about the two freebies, but I didn’t think we had exactly the same plan. My prescriptions (for most things are free), hers are just low cost.
Between that Wednesday and Sunday, I just kept getting worse: dizziness was more than sporadic, I was off and on nauseous, had ear pressure, but very few stabbing sensations, had mild chills and fevers, some body aches, but they were not severe.
I didn’t want to miss work. Calling out with Sprouts is more of a big deal than at Walmart, not that management gives us a hard time, it’s that the staffing is much tighter. A cashier calling out can often leave only one other cashier on staff. Cashiers at Walmart are way more plentiful. I always feel horrible having to call out. I only do it when I know for sure I won’t be able to be productive.
So, I made it through the weekend, but Sunday morning I wasn’t convinced I could work my whole five-hour shift. I told both my head cashier and the assistant store manager. He told me, “Whatever you need.”
When I arrived home Sunday afternoon I decided that I’d take the chance trying to get in to see my primary, Dr. Lauridsen. Monday I called and got to talk to an Orlando Health central receptionist at around 8:15 am. She forwarded the message to my doctor. Eventually, I did get a return call a couple hours later and was informed Dr. Smuckler was standing in. “That’s fine, I’ve seen him before.” He also shops at Sprouts. He’s nerdy and nice. Later they called back and said, “He’s got a 2 o’clock available.” “I’ll take it.”
Sunday night I used one of the free home COVID tests I got from the government; it was negative. Thank God. So, I went to my appointment with Dr. Smuckler. The nurse jammed a swab up into my nostrils. “Did ya reach my amygdala?” “ No, not quite. This is testing you for both COVID and the flu.”
After about the 20 minutes or so that it takes to get results, the doctor came in and said, “Well, you’re negative for COVID, but positive for Flu A.” “What? I had the damn vaccine.” I didn’t feel like this was a classic example of the flu.
Then, he asked when my symptoms started. “Honestly, about two weeks ago, and it was initially only the dizziness.” Then I described how the other symptoms showed up. I could tell he was intrigued. I attract weirdness; no surprise my infections are also weird.
He assured me it was Flu A and checked my nose, ears, breathing and throat. He told me it was too late for the medication that helps decrease the flu’s lifespan. I would have had to get it within 48 hours of symptom arrival.
I asked about a steroid to lessen the inflammation in my nasal passages. He said that really wouldn’t help. He suggested I get some Flonase.
The nurse wheeled me to reception in my chair; they put me in a wheelchair cause when I was checking in the receptionist noticed I looked like I was going to fall over. She came around and moved a chair close to the check in area for me to sit in while she got all my info. When they came to get me, the nurse had a wheelchair. God, I hate those things, but I understand: liability.
Flonase, or rather, store brand versions was what I looked for when I went to Publix after leaving with my letter from the doctor excusing me from work till Saturday. For once, I was glad I had a sparse schedule and would only lose hours on Tuesday.
As of yesterday, the dizziness began subsiding. That’s been the case today. But, I also started sneezing more. I think that’s probably allergies, though.
I’m lucky, though. The last time I had the flu—about 22 years ago—I was so sick I was in bed almost constantly. This has not been anything like that. Mostly I’ve been dizzy, light headed with lots of pressure in my ears. And, the damn fatigue felt like exhaustion descended upon my soul.
I hope I feel seriously better tomorrow. I can’t afford to miss any more work. I missed 10.25 hours and only had 6 hours of sick time. So, I wasn’t pissed about my boss giving me 3 more hours on Saturday.
I’m glad I’ve been so paranoid about COVID I wore my mask for almost every shift since 8/8. I think there was one shift I didn’t wear a mask. So, hopefully, I didn’t give the flu to anyone.