Don’t Forget Your Flu Shot This Fall

Don’t Forget Your Flu Shot This Fall
As I got up from dinner to use the bathroom, the room began to spin. Thinking I was just a bit dizzy, I continued on my way to the bathroom. I didn't know it then, but the next five months of my life would be like a carousel as I stumbled my way through labyrinthitis — an inner ear infection — and a symptom that can occur along with the influenza virus. This happened nearly two years ago, but the images are still vivid in my mind. I had been dizzy for over 72 hours when I decided to go to the hospital. It was December, and the streets were festooned with Christmas lights. Feeling very unwell, I took the bus, drawing concern from strangers: "Ma’am, are you OK? Did you have a little too much to drink?” I wished my problem was that simple. I didn’t know what was wrong with me and I was anxious about what my symptoms could indicate. “Do I have MS?” I wondered. The attending doctor ruled out a number of diagnoses but decided to keep me under observation for 48 hours. Then, as two nurses were easing me onto a commode, the sounds of the hospital machines began pulsating in my ears. Everything went blank. I woke up several hours later. A teary-eyed nurse told me she had called the code when I'd crashed. I'd had a 103.5-degree fever, a blood pressure reading of 50/30 mmHg, and a heart rate of 155. A swab of my nose came back positive for the influenza A virus. Thoughts
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