Somehow, I guess I thought I was totally immune to germs after all these years in the classroom trenches. I've had several students miss a week with H1N1, and some had encore illnesses. But moi? I laughed at this flu. Until this morning.
I took some Tylenol before I left for school because I was feeling a little head-achy. I was dizzy by the time I arrived from my commute. I checked out the pill bottle to see if I accidentally took Tylenol PM. (And what is up with regular aspirin being blue, too? I thought blue was the code for SLEEPY PILLS.) Nope. Those aches and that dizzy? Seemed that flu was coming to call on the teacher.
Here is the scenario: It is 7:21 am. My students are arriving in 14 minutes. I have two parent conferences scheduled for today. I run (literally) to the nurse to see if I have a fever (don't want to re-infect the ones who infected me). In the nurse's office I begin to list my symptoms and realize my voice is gone. Totally gone. Teaching first graders is not for the faint of heart. Teaching them without a voice and flu-like symptoms? Just shoot me.
7:31 am: students arrive in 4 minutes. I try calling the 3 subs I know: subbing, no answer, sick. Drat. For the first time in my career I dial SubFinder and take Sub Potluck. Mystery Sub will arrive at 11:00 am; I have missed the morning sub cut-off.
I can do this. We have morning work, music (which is my conference period and I do have a conference scheduled), library and lunch. (For the first time I'm happy about my 10:30 am lunch slot.) Report cards are supposed to go home today but the office does not have them ready yet. I run off a quick note to send home to parents that our cards will go home tomorrow. Cancel afternoon conference. And I'm off: to the doctor's office.
"Been near any flu?" the nurse casually asks. I'm a teacher, I reply, and I've had lots of H1N1 in my classroom. She drops her chart and her pen, walks swiftly out of the room, and returns wearing a mask. And gloves. Amazing that a flu called by 2 letters and 2 numbers can produce haz-mat results in seconds.
She tests me for flu by shoving a pencil sized swab through my nostrils into the bottom of my brain. I'm pretty sure she scraped my eyeballs on the way up. A 10 minute wait and the verdict is in: no swine flu. But something viral is producing viral results.
Take prescriptions to drugstore for a Z pack and cough syrup. The syrup costs as much as my groceries did last week. I go home, drink the kool-aid and sleep for six blissful hours. That cough syrup? Not blue-colored, but good for sleep, and worth every cent if it shakes the cough.
Tonight, I'm feeling a lot better. Tried talking to myself: seems the voice is returning. A little. I'm ready to return to the classroom tomorrow to dig through the debris that Rent-a-sub may have left behind. I'm ready to get our first report cards out.
But first? I'm ready for the good night's sleep the cough syrup is promising me.
(Only 23 more school days until Thanksgiving break from the incubator that is a classroom. You're welcome.)
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