Sooo…I’m recovering today from a rather…interesting…night. (And no, I don’t mean in the same outrageously wild and fun way I experienced in my 20s…tragically….) My best guess at this point is that I suffered a reaction—or in layman’s terms “grossly unpleasant and fairly painful episode”—related to the flu vaccine I got earlier this week. (I know, right—how weird is THAT? Only me, folks…)
You see, for the past…oh, more than a decade, I’d say…I’ve opted for FluMist over an injection. While I’m not needle-phobic by any stretch of the imagination, my rationale has always been that I’d much rather have a quick, easy squirt in the nose over an equally fast…but ouch-y…shot in the arm. However, when I asked about it this year, the boys’ pediatrician informed us that the CDC was not allowing distribution of the nasal version, due to its being found “ineffective”. Well…dang it! And thanks in advance for the sore arm, you…heartless government agency… (Yeah, yeah, "whose job is to protect the public with the best and most current medical information" and all that...whatever, don'tcha know this is all about MEEEEEE?)
Therefore Derek, Riley and I went to CVS to bravely suck it up and get it over with on Monday afternoon. Now, you know the standard list of questions they always give you before they consent to jab you with a sharp object--are you pregnant/sick/blah blah blah? I usually skim right over those, barely registering them, ticking off the “No” box without giving it much thought. This time, though, one of the queries gave me pause: are you allergic to eggs? Hmmm…the short answer is no…not technically, anyway…but thanks to the naturopath, we’ve figured out that I’m at least sensitive to them. After a moment’s hesitation, I decided it would…probably…be fine, and completed the form.
And afterwards, all seemed well--there were no immediate discernible effects, outside of the usual tenderness in my upper arm. The next day, however, rather than dissipating, the discomfort seemed to be spreading. And then, around lunchtime, I developed a headache that I can only describe as vice-like….while somehow throbbing at the same time. Oh, and then my stomach got into the act as well, becoming alarmingly queasy. It was altogether freakin’ delightful, I tell ya. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I’m rarely ill—and even when I do catch something, my digestive system is NEVER involved, so this was very disconcerting…on top of being disagreeable. Or, if you’d prefer a picture: it quickly degenerated into a “curl up in a ball under a blanket and whimper” kind of situation.
Before succumbing to the misery, I took a quick minute to consult Dr. Internet by Googling “reaction to the flu vaccine”. Besides the universal “achiness”, headache (check) and nausea (oh, yeah) were also mentioned. Furthermore, as if I needed additional proof, that…um…”intestinal symptom”…that shows up so clearly when I eat eggs? Yeah, it made an unwelcome appearance as well. All of this led to a sleepless, extremely unhappy night…right up until about 3:30 a.m., when I finally felt my stomach had calmed down enough to be trusted with some Ibuprofen—which helped to knock out the monster headache, allowing me to fall asleep at long last….for a couple of hours at least.
Today, the worst of the storm seems to have passed. I feel relatively back to normal--albeit exhausted, a little weak and woozy from lack of food and rest…and my appetite hasn’t rebounded yet, either. I suppose…if I had to choose… 12 hours of adverse consequences outweighs the week-long disaster that the actual influenza virus brings if you contract it. BUT…I already looked it up, and they’ve just recently developed an egg-free alternative vaccine. If I can find that anywhere near me, I might have to make that happen next year. Fingers crossed…for now, please excuse me while I go make some hot tea and (gluten-free) toast!