I did it guys. I did the one, singular thing you're not supposed to do during the fall/winter season. I got the flu.
I hate even typing those words. My dad is a doctor. He religiously gives me a flu shot the day they're released, and has some pretty strong words for anti–vaxxers (specifically, "you're wrong.") He is the biggest advocate of shots, and instilled that faith in me. And yet, I was just slightly too late this season. My family lives in California, and I usually go home to get my shot over Thanksgiving break. Unfortunately, the flu came early this year. I watched as my housemates got their shots in September. I ignored the CVS advertisements. I scoffed at Penn's attempt to keep me healthy and their offers of vaccinations.
I was an idiot.
I've spent the last two weeks profusely sweating, shaking through the chills, crying, and curling up in bed. The flu is not just a cute cold that you get over in a week. It is the worst. It ruined my body. Even though the fever is gone, my lung capacity is nonexistent. I don't want to say I can't breathe, but I also don't want to say I can breathe.
The thing is, it's been kind of nice. And I know that sounds crazy. But it's made me slow down. For the past two weeks, I've been wholly devoted to self–care. School work, going out, and searching for jobs all fell by the wayside. My friends brought me food and medicine. They checked in on my temperature and my comfort. They brought me to the ER at 6 a.m. I had the chance to step back and appreciate my friends and take care of myself—definitely for once this semester, and maybe for once in my time at Penn.
Look, I'm not recommending you get the flu. Please, please get your flu shot. But being able to get a little distance and take stock of the important things? Not so bad.