I’m calling this post “Physical Cliff” because I fell off my own almost a month ago and contracted the wonderful flu virus in the process. Those of you who I chat with on Facebook and Twitter have heard the story already, but I wanted to share a few details here on my blog and give a few tips along the way. If you’re not in the mood to hear a grown man whine, I suggest skipping down to the part labeled Health Tips for Flu Season.
Kirkus’ Fall from His Physical Cliff
Almost exactly a month ago, I began preparations for an Amazon giveaway with a group of authors. Though we all put tons of time into each giveaway, we spent some extra time with this one because of the upcoming holiday season. I put in about 80 – 90 hours that week. Not out of the ordinary for me for a pre-promotion week. The week of the promotion, I put in another 60 -70 hours. Again, not out of the ordinary.
Once I’ve completed a promotion I typically cut down to about 5 – 10 hours for a week just to give my brain and spirit time to heal. I didn’t have that chance this time.
Literally, the day I decided to take my break, I woke up with the stomach flu. I tossed my cookies a couple times, no big deal, except I hadn’t had the stomach flu since I was in my teens.
The wrenching of my guts broke something loose. The next morning, though my stomach felt better, I woke with severe kidney pain. I’ve had a couple kidney stone problems in the past and I assumed this was one of those times. The pain usually shows up for a couple days, and then fades over the next week. That didn’t happen this time.
It faded until about December 24 at 7PM. That was about the time it felt as if a horse kicked me in the back. The pain steadily grew until around 3AM I told my wife it was time to head to the ER. Yes, I spent Christmas morning in the hospital with my awesome wife.
Without all the gory details, I did indeed have a FEW kidney stones trying to get out. Supposedly, they were small enough that I could pass them. I bet you can imagine my enthusiasm.
I was given some painkillers and sent on my way. Let’s just say the next four or five days weren’t much fun. Day six I started coming down from my high. Ibuprofen was enough to stop most of the pain and the regular painkillers had kept me from sleeping more than three hours per night.
What happened when I came down from that high?
My joints started aching; I had a headache and a sore throat. I thought it was odd, but attributed it to the strong painkillers. Boy was I wrong. Within 24 hours, I had a temperature over 100 and was hacking like a lifelong smoker with emphysema. A temperature over 100 isn’t a huge deal, unless you consider the fact that my typical temperature is around 95 degrees. Not sure why, docs always said some people were like that.
I’ll skip over the details, but just picture big ole me wrapped in a comforter with my super wife taking care of three kids now instead of two.
Slowly my fever came down, and the aches subsided. I logged into the internet, said hi on a couple social media sites… then crashed again. The next morning my fever was back, higher than before, and I could barely move.
Yesterday was the first time I could get up and walk around without huffing and puffing, hence the reason I finally came back.
Now that I’m done whining, let me remind you that I haven’t even had a cold in over two years. I changed my diet, added a few supplements, and suddenly I was the healthiest person I knew.
I’ve been trying to figure out exactly why I contracted the flu this year after not having done so in over fifteen years. The only thing I can come up with is that the pain medicine didn’t allow me to sleep, which in turn weakened my immune system enough that I couldn’t fight off this horrendous flu that’s been going around.
Health Tips for Flu Season
This probably sounds funny coming from the guy who just spent three plus weeks in bed, but I figure since I’m typically healthy, I can give a few tips to help everybody out. Keep in mind that I am not a health professional and you should consult your doctor, or another health professional, before implementing any of my suggestions.
There are the tips we all hear about every year. Wash your hands with anti-bacterial soap and do so more often than you usually do. Keep your distance from those you know to be sick. Eat healthy foods including bunches of Vitamin C.
Kirkus’ 5 Flu Season Tips
These are my own opinion, and maybe some others, but they’ve worked tremendously well for me. I’ll list them in order of importance, again, in my own opinion. As I said before, ask a doctor before trying any of this.
1. GET ENOUGH SLEEP!!! Let me say that again. GET ENOUGH SLEEP!!! The term “enough” depends on the individual. I typically get four to five hours of sleep per night with the occasional ten hours once a month or so. Studies have shown that even a five-minute nap can increase the strength of our immune system.
2. Take a Vitamin D supplement, specifically cholecalciferol. Studies show more benefits of this vitamin on a yearly basis. Cancer fighting, immune strengthening, energy inducing, etc.
3. Exercise. I don’t mean you should go out and run ten miles after not doing so in years, but even a little exercise can help. Doing so on a regular basis can strengthen the immune system enough that it will fight off a sickness before it starts. Also, if you feel like you’re coming down with something and haven’t actually become sick yet, often a small round of exercise can rev up your metabolism and immune system enough to kick that virus or bacteria in the eye.
4. Use a humidifier. Sometimes I feel like I’m breaking some unwritten rule when I use a humidifier because it can damage books over a period of years. My poor bookshelves have endured this torture for some time, but I haven’t noticed any negative effects yet.
Winter weather doesn’t hold as much humidity as we’re used to in the summer. A humidifier puts moisture into the air and into our lungs and sinuses. Besides keeping them working the way they’re supposed to, it also allows our bodies to get rid of any nasty germs that may get in there was well. The moisture helps break up any excess mucus too.
5. Take echinacea BEFORE you’re sick. If you feel run down at all, or you spent a lot of time around someone known to be sick, this supplement can (possibly) strengthen your immune system. It’s one of those supplements that hasn’t necessarily been approved by the FDA to treat sickness, but remember this is also the same FDA that allows things like brominated vegetable oil and BPA in our diets. If you haven’t read about either of those, I strongly suggest Googling them. Scary! Just check out this article. It talks about brominated vegetable oil and it’s used as both a food additive and a flame retardant.
There they are, the five top flu season tips from Mr. Kirkus MacGowan himself. I’m sure there are more, maybe even more effective, ways to combat the flu virus, but these have worked wonders for me.
And before anybody mentions it in the comments, I’m not putting up any information about flu shots. Some people swear by them, some don’t. I’ve never had one and I’ve only had the flu maybe three times in my life. Don’t think that this is only because I have a strong immune system because I grew up a sickly kid, getting colds and sinus infections on a monthly basis. Maybe one day I’ll post some interesting information about flu shot studies, but not yet. Besides, I found out I’m allergic to eggs. No flu shots for me even if I wanted them.
Feel free to leave any tips you’ve found useful to combat the flu.