Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Swine Flu Diaries: So It Begins


I woke up exhausted but thought nothing of it since I was on call and had worked much of the weekend. It had been hot as hell and hard to sleep in the heat. Grumbling, I threw on my scrubs, grabbed my chai, and raced out the door. It was a signout day for me, so I got in and busied myself getting my cases in order and tracking down missing slides. Even after the chai I had a headache brewing, so grabbed some Tylenol from the communal painkiller bins on my way to signout. "Gonna be one of those weeks, huh," one of my colleagues smirked at me. "Yeah, looks that way," I said. I had no idea what was coming.

It was my last day on surgicals and I was hoping to have a quick signout with not a lot of cases hanging over into my elective month. However, it quickly became clear that many of my cases were not as straightforward as I had hoped. Most of the morning flew by as we were engrossed by cases. I barely noticed that my head still hurt a bit and I was surprised to learn it was lunchtime as I was not that hungry. But I had some very nice tofu and brown rice and it was back to work.

About mid-afternoon things really started to drag. Or at least they seemed to. My headache had gotten worse. It seemed almost like I had not eaten enough for lunch and was hypoglycemic. I felt scattered and exhausted, but chalked it up to the end of a hard month and a rough day. Signout is pathology's equivalent of rounding: presenting patient history, getting pimped a bit, learning about findings. If your head is not in the game, it gets very, very painful.

By the time signout ended in the early evening I was starting to think something was wrong. I was chilled, the headache was even worse, and I was starting to have body aches. Still, I told myself, I would feel better if I could go home, go to bed early,and catch up on sleep. I forced myself to dictate all of my cases, clean out my work space, and move my stuff to prepare for the new rotation starting the next day. Driving home from the hospital I began to sweat, to feel nauseous, and to have rigors. Now I knew there was something really wrong.

The thermometer sealed the deal when I got home. 102.2 degrees F. "Crap," I said to Mrs. Lone Coyote, "I think I have the flu." Time to call my chief resident and collapse into bed. And so the influenza odyssey began.

1 comment:

Colin said...

here here. At University of Cincinnati we are being trained and getting ready to vaccinate, and are all required to receive the vaccination.