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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

ISWG - Influenza



It’s the first Wednesday of the month and time for the Insecure Writers Support Group. The purpose is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! A big THANKS to Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting this group and keeping it going. And thanks to this month's awesome hosts Elizabeth Seckman, Lisa Buie-Collard, Chrys Fey, andMichelle Wallace!

We were asked to do a short intro. I write science fiction romance, romantic suspense, and mystery. Published in all three genres but mostly in sfr. Since I’m retired from the “other” job and have no children at home, I can write full time. I live in West Michigan, close enough to the lake to visit often. If you want to know more about me and my books, visit my website http://www.dianeburton.com

Instead of sharing my indecision about which project to return to after the holidays, I’m doing a PSA about the flu. Influenza is not just a bad cold turned worse—as my sister discovered. She was visiting our other sister a five-hour drive from home and got sick. Not just a cold but influenza that turned into pneumonia, which led to a “sick” heart, as her cardiologist calls it. She hadn’t had heart trouble before. She was hospitalized for four days last week and was released wearing a “life vest” (heart monitor & defibrillator) with instructions to see a cardiologist when she returned home and to get a pacemaker/defibrillator implanted in about three months. On Monday the vest defibrillator went off. Had it not, she would not be alive. Yesterday, she had the pacemaker/defib implanted.

How did this happen? My sister got the flu shot, which as we’ve been told on TV is not totally effective. She rushed around before the holidays trying to do everything (and more), pushed herself when she wasn’t feeling well, made the five-hour drive to our sister’s, and did cleaning (helping) for our sister, etc. She’s a hard worker and always has to be doing something . . . even when she’s sick. Whether the flu caused the problem with her heart is unknown. At the very least, it pushed a pre-existing problem over the edge.

My point in sharing this is to encourage everyone to take the flu seriously. Know the differences between a cold and the flu. Rest. See a doctor. Take care of yourself.

Click here to find others on the Insecure Writers Support Group Blog Hop. Or go to IWSG on Facebook to see who’s blogging today.

78 comments:

  1. My mother is in the same boat right now. The flu is definitely a serious condition. Good Post!

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    1. I hope your mom gets better soon, Cathrina.

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  2. Great advice, Diane. I have a pre-existing heart condition and have learned the importance of being cautious of any kind of flu-like symptom. Better safe than sorry is an old, but very wise cliche. So glad your sister is doing better now.

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    1. Thanks, Loralee. She just found out she can't drive for 6 months. Yikes!

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  3. I was just reading in today's Cleveland Plain Dealer that Cuyahoga County, Ohio, has the bulk of flu-related hospitalizations in the state. And the timing, with most of them happening around the holidays means that a lot of people suffered a lot during a time that is supposed to be fun. You are so right, pacing and rest do wonders to keep illness at bay, or at least minimize symptoms. It's the body's chance to repair and restore. Hope your sister recovers fully and takes it easier next holiday season.

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    1. Thanks, Kim. You are so right about pacing. Happy New Year.

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  4. I hope your sister recovers. There's been a lot of the flu going around already this season. I've been lucky, but it's stuck around with my husband. It's his first day back to work today after being gone 2.5 weeks. Thanks for sharing this with us. Take care and stay warm!

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    1. Thanks, Christine. My sister has a positive attitude so I'm hoping she'll be fine. Your husband was wise to stay home until he was better rather than "share" with his coworkers. Stay warm? What's that? LOL

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  5. I'm glad she had good care and is still with us. I do take the flu seriously because my parents are older and a cold (and I do mean cold) can hang on for months because of their ages. I stepped up and started cooking for them to improve their diet.

    Eating properly and washing your hands regularly can do wonders. I also talked to my doctor about flu shots and he said take Tylenol when you get your shot. You are supposed to get a mild fever, but no other reaction. If you medicate too much and don't allow yourself to react, you will not be inoculated because your body has not built up its immunization.

    Thanks for the heads up. I'm off to visit more sites :-)


    Here's my link if you'd like to drop by :-)

    Anna from Shout with Emaginette

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    1. Anna, you & my daughter must have been in contact. Her Christmas gift to us was several frozen meals we only have to heat up. A great gift. I never had a reaction to the flu shot though I know people do. Good idea about Tylenol.

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  6. Hi Diane and Happy New Year! We all had our flu shots. We take it seriously. Why take the chance of getting the entire household sick? Flu shots are free too.

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    1. Happy New Year to you, too, Stephen. Yep, I've gotten the flu shot every year. So far, Hubs & I have been lucky.

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  7. That is so scary! Hope your sister continues to get better.

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    1. Yeah, Sarah, really scary. Thanks for your good thoughts.

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  8. I hope she's feeling better, now. We are too driven sometimes. We "admire" those people who push and stretch and never rest, then they get sick and we scold them. I'm not going to apologize for taking time to rest.
    Play off the Page

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    1. She's got a great attitude, even though she knows she can't even drive for 6 months. She always made me feel like a slacker. LOL If I need a rest, I take one. Thanks for your good thoughts.

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    2. Wow that was serious. Attitude is almost everything about a cure or rehabilitation.

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    3. Sure was, Rohn. I agree about attitude.

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  9. I hope your sister is feeling well soon. Thanks for your PSA today. I am one of those people who is considered "at risk" and have become a bit obsessed with hand washing lately.

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    1. Can't wash your hands too much. :) Thanks for your good thoughts for my sister.

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  10. I hear you. There have been seasons where I've pushed too hard and paid for it. You really have to take life at the pace you can handle, even if the person next door is running daily marathons and thriving. =)

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    1. We're such different people,aren't we? I've learned that lesson about pushing too hard, too.

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  11. I'm so sorry your sister got so sick that she had heart complications and needed surgery! That scares me because I do have a slight heart condition, and although I get the flu shot every year, I know it's not enough this year.

    This post is timely and I know you'll be helping many, Diane.

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  12. I hope your sister has a speedy recovery. In hindsight, I think I might've had the flu at 17 and 21, given how sick I was, and for how long. It really upsets me when people downplay the seriousness of the flu, and write it off as just a bad cold. These are often the same people who shrug off dangerous diseases like polio, measles, and whooping cough as no big deal, and easily cured with Vitamin C and snake oil.

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    1. Thanks, Carrie-Anne. I didn't realize how serious flu could get until now.

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  13. Nice to meet you, Diane! My son and I get the flu vaccine every year. I definitely don't want to give the flu to a young child or my elderly parents--and I sure don't want it either.

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    1. Nice to meet you, too, Sandra. I worry about my grandchildren. I guess Hubs & I are the "elderly" parents. LOL So, yeah, I appreciate that my family gets the flu shots, even if they are that effective this year.

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  14. So glad your sister had that "Life Vest" on. Scary for all of you, I'm sure.

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    1. Thanks, Maris. She didn't really "qualify" for the life vest but the cardiologist felt she needed it. So glad she went with her feelings.

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  15. That is scary!
    I'm pleased to hear that your sister is now on the mend...
    You get those extreme cold spells in the northern hemisphere which we never ever experience this end of the globe. At the moment, we are in mid-summer... it's hot and humid...
    Take care!
    Writer In Transit

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    1. Lucky you, Michelle. :) My son is in Arizona and he's really glad he doesn't live here in Michigan anymore. Thanks for your good thoughts about my sister.

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  16. HI, Diane,

    Hoping your sister continues to heal! I got sick for Thanksgiving and had thought I was back to normal. Well, I got SLAMMED right before New Years and I am just getting better. Yes, we need to take care of ourselves and rest when we have to. I definitely slowed down the second time. And I am resting still. I am not getting sick again. I might have had a mild case, but man it kicked me down. Never had it return with a vengeance before. I am usually super healthy and I normally just get a cold and that's it.

    Thanks for at the warning...

    All the best to you and your family this year!

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    1. Thanks, Michael. When we don't take care of ourselves, our body lets us know. Glad to hear you're resting. Get better soon.

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  17. So glad to hear she had the vest! I think we've gotten so used to beating the flu that we forget people used to die in large numbers from the flu.

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    1. You are so right, Elizabeth. I know I was complacent. I got my flu shots but didn't realize until now how bad it can get.

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  18. I'm so sorry!

    I take a ton of natural vitamins and never get the flu shot. Once in a great while, I can feel I'm overdoing it and slow down. As a result, I've only been sick once in the past five years. Your warning is one to all of us.

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    1. The key to what you're saying is to slow down, listening to oneself. Take care and best wishes for a great year.

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  19. I'm sorry that your sister got sick. It looks like she's on the road to recovery and I'll add my prayers to that list. She's lucky. Heart issues in women are silent and can kill. Maybe the flu wasn't the cause but a reason to find the issue. At least she's aware now and can take care of herself.

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    1. Thanks, Melissa. You are so right about heart attacks in women. Did you know more women die of heart attacks than breast cancer? My sister has now survived both. Tough girl! Thanks for your prayers.

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  20. Wow! I had no idea the flu could be so serious. Hoping the best for your sister. Sounds like she received some extremely appropriate care.

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    1. Thanks, Margo. I am so glad she was with family when it hit. She lives alone so she might have been feeling too sick to go to the doctor or the ER. She's in a good place right now so we're hopeful for her continued recovery.

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  21. I hope your sister feels completely well soon!

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  22. The flu is nothing to play with. A coworker of mine go the flu, kept trying to do stuff, then after things worsened to the point where he could hardly sleep for the coughing, he found out things transitioned to walking pneumonia. This PSA is a great reminder. Thank you for sharing and hope things improve steadily for your sister.

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    1. Thanks, Angela. That's what happened to my sister--coughing so much she couldn't sleep. Then it got worse..

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  23. I'm so sorry that your sister had such a rough go of it Diane. So many of us just keep pushing through, even when we know better. I'm afraid our work world isn't very supportive of taking time off because we're sick. And those of us who aren't working (What a joke ~ If we're women we work!) can be our own forceful taskmasters. I had the flu shot this year, but I had a rotten cold ~ may have been more, I'm not sure. I learned that a congested head can trigger serious dental pain and serious vertigo. I would love to see a new year in which people would take better care of themselves and just stop when they're sick. Thank you for sharing this personal and cautionary tale.

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    1. LOL over your comment about women. Yes, we are our worst enemy. I didn't know about dental pain from a congested head. Thanks for the reminder.

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    2. I was shocked when I contacted my dentist! I was positive I was facing multiple root canals and an extraction! He asked me a few questions over the phone and told me I'd be fine when the congestion went away. He also told me that many unnecessary root canals and extractions have been done when people had bad colds. News to me ~ but what a relief! Have a good one!

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  24. Oh my! Never thought influenza could turn into something worse. Thanks for the advice, Diane.

    Sending prayers for your sister's speedy recovery.

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  25. Diane, thanks to your words of warning, I managed to bully my ailing husband into going to the doctor. Thankfully, he didn't have the flu but he does have a very nasty sinus infection and persistent cough. He's on medication now and we hope his condition will improve soon. Very helpful post. Thank you!

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    1. Thanks, Lana. Hope the meds help him get better.

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  26. Good PSA. I'm sorry about your sister. I hope she can recover as much as possible. I have only had the flu once, and it was in one of the only three years I even got a flu shot. As a result of the flu, I am mostly blind in one eye, due to an autoimmune disorder the flu triggered that causes macular degeneration (something not typically seen in 30 year olds), and every time I get a cold, it turns into bronchitis and a sinus infection, as well as occasionally more serious conditions. I have lung issues, etc. All because I got the flu once! It's a nasty, nasty beast. It's been 7 years since I got that flu. I'm nervous each flu season.

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    1. Wow, Shannon. Nasty is right. I can see why you'd be nervous. I'd want to hide in my house and never go out.

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  27. Great post - I love that you're getting the word out there with your PSA. Continued well-wishes for your sis!

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  28. Whoa, I'm SO sorry to hear this about your sister. I hope she heals well. That was scary. Both illnesses, flu and pneumonia often get downplayed, when actually they both can kill you. We are all too young to remember the great flu epidemic in 1918, but it killed thousands and is a very serious illness. And too many have died of pneumonia because they, like you say, didn't STOP and take care of themselves. Our culture doesn't support staying home from work until you are well... Thanks for the heads up on this, and thanks for commenting on my blog. I wish you and all your sisters/family a happy, healthy new year.

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    1. Thanks, Lisa. I agree about flu and pneumonia getting downplayed. A happy, healthy new year to you, too.

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  29. When you push yourself too much, your immune system suffers and weakens. A weak immune system means your body doesn't fight common pathogens like the flu with its usual strength, and that's why a simple virus can lead to all sorts of complications like infections. Once the body is weak all sorts of other opportunistic pathogens take over. Sorry your sister was so sick, I hope she's all better now. As for the vaccine, I work on vaccine research and I can tell you the flu vaccine is a hard one because researchers make an educated guess on what the virus will be like one year from now so that it's available before the flu season starts. Sometimes they get it 100% and sometimes they don't. it's very much like the weather forecast.

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    1. Thanks for your concern. I always wondered how they knew what strain of virus would hit. An educated guess but, like you say, a lot like weather forecasting.

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  30. Wow, that's so scary. I knew the flu was bad, but that's even worse than I thought. I'm glad your sister is improving. I always get a flu shot and hope for the best. Taking it easy, though, is something I often have a hard time with -- too much to do and too little time. A truer cliché was never spoken. Thanks for the reminder to take care of ourselves. I need to do a better job of it.

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    1. Thanks, Lori. Do take care of yourself.

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  31. That is so terrible about your sister. We can't drive ourselves into the ground. We've only got one body.

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    1. You're right, Alex. We have to take of that body.

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  32. Oh my goodness! I've really got to start taking better care of myself. I appreciate the PSA.

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  33. To everyone who commented: thank you so much for the outpouring of prayers and good thoughts for my sister. I am humbled by your concern.

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  34. How nice to focus all your free time to writing! I'm sorry about your sister. I'll keep her in my prayers. :(

    ♥.•*¨Elizabeth¨*•.♥

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  35. Wow! Scary! I hope your sister is doing better. Thanks for sharing your story. Best wishes for you and your family on 2015.May it be a year of good news and health!

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    1. Thanks, Georgina. Wishing you the same.

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  36. Wow that is so scary. I am so glad your sister is going to be okay. My 8-year-old-granddaughter was seriously ill with the flu over the holidays. They couldn't control her fever. It was really frightening. She had a flu shot too. They said it was a different strand.
    I had surgery on Wednesday and as much as I want to clean my house and write I am forcing myself to rest.
    Happy New Year and happy Writing!

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    1. My heart goes out to your family. A child with the flu is so dangerous. I hope she's better. Hope you're better too, Doreen, after your surgery. Rest. The house work will always be there.

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  37. Goodness Diane that's frightening! I'm so glad your sister is OK. I've known lots of people to get the flu shot and still get the flu. Your suggestions are the best I've heard and the most effective: know the difference between flu and a cold and take care of yourself! All the best to you, your family, and a very happy new year!

    Jen

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    1. Thanks, Jen. Happy New Year to you, too!

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  38. Such a great reminder for this time of year. Thanks to lots of sickness in my house, I'm just now getting around to January IWSG posts (and tomorrow will be time for February's). Crazy. I have two daughters with immune diseases, so they are even more at risk. Hope winter is being good to you so far.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Tia. I hope your daughters stay well.

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