Big Little Sister was feeling better, albeit a bit weak, on Friday, but Little Fire Faery had picked up right where Big Little Sister left off - upset stomach, headache, body aches, general lethargy. We canceled all of our classes on Friday.
Dance Saturdays are long and physically taxing. Big Little Sister has back-to-back classes starting at 9:00 and ending at 16:30 (with an hour break at lunch time). Starting last Saturday, we have to add two hours of practice for the Spring ballet in which each of the girls has been cast. This week, we opted out of dance classes, and decided we'd just make sure the girls were at ballet practice.
Little Fire Faery was not feeling well, still, and now I was spiking a temperature, too. I quipped that Little Fire Faery and I were competing to see who could get higher. So, we stayed home and Deus Ex Machina took the other two out to play practice.
Sunday, I was still feeling like I'd been run over by a herd of broiler chickens (did anyone see that big chicken?), and I still had a fever. Thankfully, Little Fire Faery was feeling better (though not 100%), and really thankfully, Big Little Sister was feeling MUCH better - enough that she could help us out (and she did! She even made cookies - what a sweetheart ;), because Deus Ex Machina was starting to feel not so great.
Monday, today, I'm still feverish - but am mostly able to function, as long as I move slo-o-w-l-y. Deus Ex Machina, however, has called in sick for only the second time in the fourteen years we have lived here in Maine. Which is to say that if he calls in sick, he must really be sick!
I'm pretty sure it's the flu, which means it's a virus, and unfortunately, for all their life-saving miracles, our esteemed health care professionals have still not figured out how to really deal with viruses. The best they can do, if we come in contact with the virus, is to make us comfortable, and perhaps, give us something that will make it not last quite so long, but we'd still have it.
My question is: is that so bad? Is it so bad that we have the virus?
And please, keep in mind that I'm sitting here, with a temperature of somewhere in the low hundreds, with an annoying, painful and unproductive cough, a headache, and a slightly achy body. I have the flu, and yet, I ask, is it so bad?
Here are some facts about the flu that they, who want you to get a shot, will gloss over:
- The flu vaccine is developed months before flu season begins. There are three "types" of flu, each of which have several different strains, with Type A having the most variations. The flu vaccine contains some portion of each of these types, but influenza is constantly mutating, and so the chance that the vaccine producers choose the correct form of the virus in their vaccine is actually not so good. There's a better chance that anyone who accepts the vaccination will just not come into contact with the flu. In short, despite what health providers want us to believe, the vaccine really does nothing to keep us healthy ... and then, there's the question of the vaccine adjuvants
- No one has ever died from the flu virus. What makes the flu fatal are the opportunistic infections that set in when a person's immune system is weakened due to the flu - in particular bacterial pneumonia(and please note that influenza is a virus not a bacterium).
- The treatment for the flu is rest and fluids, because the biggest one of the biggest dangers associated with flu deaths is dehydration. So, grandma's advice to have lots of chicken soup and hot tea wasn't too far off the mark, was it?
- Our amazing human bodies are built such that we develop a natural immunity to further exposures to a particular virus. In fact, during the 2009 Swine Flu Pandemic it was found that survivors of the 1918 Spanish Flu were immune to the Swine Flu. This is true of most illnesses for which vaccines have been developed, and recent research suggests that many of the vaccines need to be repeated later in life to assure continued immunity. This is not true of natural immunity, which is life-long. In short, once we've kicked this virus and are on our feet again, this flu strain will not make us ill again.
I'm not telling anyone what to do. I am saying that freaking out in response to illness is not the answer. Neither is plying one's already weakened immune system with over-the-counter medications (or depending on vaccinations that may or may not work). The symptoms of fever and coughing, which most people try to "cure" using over-the-counter medications, are the body's natural defense mechanisms against the invading force, and if one takes OTCs, one is, effectively, disarming one's own army.
I don't feel well. In fact, truth be told, I rather feel like crap, but rather than trying to mask the symptoms, I'm trying to provide my body with the tools it needs to fight off the virus. I'm drinking lots of tea - echinacea tea, green tea, other herbal teas. I'm eating homemade chicken soup with lots of garlic.
And I'm resting.
In a lower energy future, we won't have miracle drugs, but we'll still have influenza.
The key to surviving these outbreaks will be knowing what to do ... and as with everything else we should be doing, figuring it out now while we still have a "just in case" support system, should be a priority.
After all, it's true that what doesn't kill us, just makes us stronger ... eventually ;).
Update: I wish I could say the update is that we're all better ... alas!
It's actually very awesome news related to us being sick and may be helpful to others ;). In the comments section, Witchymom mentioned a study completed by researchers at the University of Maine.
In response to the 2009 flu epidemic, their quest was to find a natural flu remedy, and they found it - white pine needles. They found that a tea made from white pine needles is an effective treatment for the flu.
We know about the healing properties of pine ... I can't believe (especially given the preachy nature of this post *grin*) that I forgot one of the most powerful remedies for what's ailing us ;).
Luckily, I have access to a lot of white pine, and I didn't have to travel far to find it. There's a pot of it steeping in my kitchen right now ;).
Thanks for the reminder, Witchymom!
Have I ever mentioned how awesome my readers are?!?