Get Your Flu Shot Because I’m Not Lending Out My Dogs!

Pups Making Sure Rest is Had - from foreground Brutus, Lexi, Bandit & Luke
Last week I was hit with the flu, let me rephrase that, last week the flu kicked my butt. Wednesday I woke up feeling that weird tingly feeling in my nose that I thought was sinuses and promptly took my usual sinus medicine thinking I had caught it early enough that I would beat it this time. I don’t have the time to get sick. I have a business to run, family to tend to, dogs to manage, and about a gazillion things going on at one time. Somehow I manage to keep all this at a precarious balance. I just don’t have the time to get sick so I told myself I wasn’t going to – I lied.

Sometime in the middle of the night as the sinus infection was leaving it invited the flu in to take its place; presumably as I outsmarted it then it was going to outsmart me. Thursday morning I woke, barely, to realize there had been a full-fledged take over and I was on the loosing side. I managed to cancel appointments, let the dogs out/in then crawl back into bed. I woke twice more just long enough to tend to the dogs before crawling under the covers again.

This pathetic cycle went on for four days. Four! Did I mention that I hate being sick, I really, really, REALLY hate being sick. I am the first to tell my friends and family to take care of themselves when they get sick, they have to protect their health, work can wait. Pot kettle black.

When I had moments of lucidity I fretted about my work, my clients, my obligations and my loved ones. Not that I thought the world would end while I was getting my butt kicked by the flu; but that unnatural feeling of not doing anything seemed overwhelming…then the Nyquil would kick in again.

When I would wake, for brief stretches of time the dread would creep up on me again but somewhere I think it was in day two I got a couple of gentle reminders from the most unlikely source to practice what I preach. It came from my pups. Just as a reminder I have a pack of dogs – five to be exact.

Well, four and a quarter because the little one is only 8 pounds and since I think he is an Italian Greyhound he’s too little to really qualify to be a real dog. Of course this is my opinion as the owner of mostly big dogs. I’ve had a Great Pyrenees and German Sheppard and currently have an Australian Sheppard mix, Lab/Boxer, Pit/Basset, Puggle and then there is the little one. That’s why I gave him a big name to compensate – Brutus. But I digress.

My pack is still in training and having a four day break I was anticipating puppy chaos while I was sick. I fully expected to crawl down the stairs and see evidence that they were not happy for being cooped up with me for most of the day. This evidence would have been the shredding of anything they could get their puppy paws on and messes in the living room. Each day I fully expected this unpleasant sight.

Three of the five are males under 2 years old – they two biggest and the one who thinks he is biggest of all. They are continually playing, active and full of energy. They constantly spur each other on and are quite creative when they get bored. They regularly run about chasing each other, barking through the house and trampling on anyone in their way. Taking them outside for dedicated play time has become an important part of our day to help alleviate excess energy and lessens the “Ugh!” as they jump in my lap. I was dreading becoming bed road kill to my puppy’s play.

But I was wrong, they did not make one single mess and there was nothing destroyed during my sickness. Not only that, but during the four day hell, they all stayed in bed with me, carefully walking around my pathetic heap.

The oldest, an 11 year old female, is always nearby no matter where I go. She never lies in bed with the others as she hates to cuddle or even be touched by the others, but always on the floor where she still has an eye on me. For four days she laid at the end of my bed ensuring peace among the others and they seemed to follow suit. When I would venture to get up, the males quickly gave me space to get my bearings as the little ones sat patiently behind me waiting for my cue. Which is absolutely contrary to their normal behavior, normally whenever I stir they think it is a sign that they are about to get food and go a little crazy.

I believe it was in day two that I was lying in bed becoming overwhelmed with my inactivity and literally said out loud, “I have to get up and get something done, I’m getting too far behind.” Not that I was in any shape to do so or even had the energy, but I thought if maybe I said it out loud it might magically make it happen.

As I started to move a funny thing happened: the Pit/Basset Bandit laid his head and front paws across my calves, the IG Brutus put his head on my shoulder, the Puggle Lexi laid her head on my stomach, the Lab/Boxer Luke gently put his head on my chest and the AS mix Micki lifted her head up, puffed her chest and looked down at me. I was literally being held down by my pack. When I looked at each one they looked back at me calmly as if saying, “Not today, you are going to rest.” And rest I did.

My friend Jeff got this flu about a month ago and it lasted for well over two weeks, and he is still battling it back and forth. He did not take the time off and pushed through it. I talked to him last night and he still sounded horrible. I took my own advice and rested, fully and completely rested and now although not 100%, I am back. I have communicated with my clients and let them know we are still on track.

We all have demands on us: work, family, friends, school, community – all with expectations and deadlines and plenty of stress. But let’s be honest for a second – if you do not take care of yourself how can you possibly take care of anyone else? No one can take care of you better than you. If you happen to find yourself in sick-hell you have two options: 1. run the risk of prolonging it and only giving maybe half of yourself to your responsibilities or 2. take the time to recover so you can come back quicker and more healthy. All your stuff will be there, trust me, but your health isn’t always guaranteed.

I was not taking care of my health and it made me more susceptible to the flu. Had I taken a few precautionary steps I might not have lost a week; but hindsight is 20/20. If you can get the flu shot – spare a few minutes and go get it. Aren’t you worth it? I am, unfortunately I inherited a wonderful thing from my father – the flu shot makes us extremely ill. He was so bad that it was actually noted on his military records that he was not to receive a flu shot or it would result in him being hospitalized. I know this and therefore I should have been more proactive in protecting myself.

Luckily, I have a little pack of dogs that helped remind me that sometimes in life you just have to stay buried under the covers in order to recover and remember that taking care of yourself comes first.

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Career Coach-Strategist
Certified Professional Resume Writer
Career Polish, Inc.

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