October 3, 2009

The Best Laid Plans...

I tried to get rest.  I slowly adjusted my wake-up time over a week so my body could reset it's clock gradually instead of jolting it into a new pattern.  I picked up some healthier snacks so I could satisfy my need to nosh without as much guilt or weight gain.  I even scheduled when I'd run each errand through the week so I didn't have to stress about forgetting anything I needed to do.  I did everything I could think of to prepare myself for to start my first real fulltime job on Monday in the best health I could.  But the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

I've got another cliche for you...you know Murphy's Law?  Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong?  Well I've realized I have my own law...Jen's Law.  Things will go wrong that you didn't even know existed.  Of course there's also a variation of my law relating to my personal rain cloud that travels with me, but that's for another day.

I don't mean to sound so dramatic...I know people start new jobs every day.  But this is a BIG transition for me.  This is my first REAL job, my first career job, my first fulltime job.  This is the one where I have a lot to lose if I foul it up.  Also, I'm not going to it right after graduation or when I'm still accustomed to running around all the time, but rather after 3 1/2 - 4 months of down time.  I'd be foolish to underestimate the scale of this transition, and set myself up for a flare.  So, I analyzed everything I knew how and developed a plan to minimize as many factors that threaten my wellbeing as possible.  Also, as a result of my flu paranoia, I've been pretty consistent with hygiene habits including carrying and using instant hand sanitizer frequently.  BUT IT DIDN'T MATTER.  Yesterday I came down with the beginning of a chest cold.  Chest colds are my arch enemy...I get them all the time, and they frequently balloon into bronchitis and other respiratory infections. 

I had had a minor, off-again-on-again sore throat for a few days, but chalked it up to an increased post-nasal drip from the change in seasons (I always get that when we switch seasons).  I tried to take a few precautions...drinking extra fluids such as tea and keeping my hands clean.  But yesterday afternoon I suddenly erupted with a scratchy cough, flushed feeling, joint aches, and this indescribable but unmistakable sensation in my upper airway that is a hallmark of a cold for me.  The best thing I can do for myself when I feel vulnerable like this is keep my throat warm, so I immediately nabbed one of my mom's scarves and swaddled myself with that and an extra sweatshirt (and today I'm wearing a turtleneck in 70 weather).  On my way home, I picked up TheraFlu (Cold and Chest Congestion formula) as my nasal stuffiness and sniffles kicked in.  I will say this, TheraFlu is my new best kept secret...it works quickly and effectively, but when they say take it every 4 hours they are not kidding.  At 4 hours on the dot, and in a matter of minutes, the medicine wears off and all my symptoms return.

Anyway, I took two doses by the time I went to bed, and woke up feeling slightly more human.  However as I moved around and my body began functioning for the day, I found out my symptoms were still there, and surprise - I registered a fever!  Even when I feel like I'm melting I don't usually register a fever on a thermometer, and my regular temperature tends to run a bit lower than 98.6...and today it was up to 99.3.  Clearly not a terrifying flu fever, but still a DEFINITE metric for a real cold. 

So, now my plan is to down a ton of fluids, keep an eye on my temperature (which does quickly return to near-normal levels with the TheraFlu), and try to avoid any risks.  Tomorrow I have to "work" one of our Teen Masses (the teen ministry 'hosts' a parish mass once per month by having teens do as many ministries as possible, and I have to help run things with the teen ushers), so I'll have to not only be up and out but interacting with people at that time.  Today is our local spirit day, where our town closes off the main street for a parade, awards, vendors, food stands, and entertainment.  This is my first year in this apartment, and I've found that the festivities extend all the way down to my house...so as I'm sitting here nursing my cold I'm listening to all sounds of a town-wide block party outside my window.  Talk about feeling bad for myself.  I'm even debating venturing out for a few minutes during the peak of my TheraFlu-induced relief, though I'm trying to resist the urge if I think it might put me at greater risk. 

I just wanted so badly to at least have the advantage of starting this job in stable health.  But this is notoriously a tough time of year for me, with weather that can't decide if it's warm or cold, arid or humid.  I guess I'm going to just have to plod ahead with every backup plan I know, and a WHOLE lot of prayers.

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