Thursday, December 04, 2008

8 Days in Bed, 3 Days in Boston

Another post that begins with my apologies for being MIA. I had written my last post earlier and posted it when I had a rare moment of lucidity last week. But I haven't really visited or kept up with the rest of you for several days. I had a pretty good excuse, I think.

Last Saturday (the one BEFORE Thanksgiving), I came down with the flu. And it wasn't the flu where you think you have a flu but is probably a bad cold that is still miserable but a cold nonetheless. I spent the majority of 8 days in bed with a fever of 103. I don't know about you, but when I feel like I'm coming down with something, I always look at the small silver lining that maybe if I have to stay home from work I can surf the internets all day, or finish whatever novel I haven't spent nearly enough time reading. But this. THIS was 8 days of teeth-chattering chills to the bone alternating with cold sweats and not really being able to do much else but think about how completely awful I felt. I couldn't go to work at all Thanksgiving week, and we of course didn't leave the house for Thanksgiving. And the evening after that, Deano and I had to miss a social gathering at my new boss's house. We were most upset at the last part, me because I'm still trying to make a good impression and Deano because he was desperate for more social interaction than a deleriously feverish wife, four cats and the landlady upstairs.

Sadly, we had planned on actually doing something fun for Thanksgiving weekend. At first we talked about going to New York City for the Macy's parade and Christmas shopping but planning for a weekend in New York is more than a little daunting and it didn't quite get done. In retrospect maybe it's a good thing that we didn't have to try to cancel an exhorbitantly-priced hotel room in the Big Apple. When we failed to make those plans we discussed a day trip to Salem or Newport. But neither of those could happen because I couldn't even make the transition from sweatpants to slacks let alone climb into a car. So instead, my doting husband waited on me hand and foot, ran errands, and assumed all cat duties for the week. Whatta guy. As for Thanksgiving dinner? McDonald's. And my lack of appetite caused me to opt for a Happy Meal.

On Friday I was very tempted to force myself to go to Boss's house for the dinner, but Deano had me on lockdown because the whole time I was sick in bed, the prospect of giving a talk in Boston this Tuesday was looming large over my head. That's right, the only thing worse than being immobilized by a nasty virus is experiencing it while knowing you abosutely must be somewhere to do something important in a short period of time. Ugh.

Luckily, just when I was beginning to believe that God DOES exist and was punishing me for my agnostic post a few weeks ago, things turned around for me on Sunday. By Monday I was able to attend the start of the conference in Boston, I gave my talk on Tuesday despite a hoarse, pre-pubescent-male-sounding voice and yesterday I rounded out the conference with a marathon day of sessions and beer/wine socials that kept me from getting home until midnight. The Providence to Boston commuter train, while awesome for shopping and sporting events, is an evil nightmare when it's 10:30 and you just want to be with your family. I'm beat and actually chose to forgo the last two days of the conference in favor of getting back in the lab. Usually these things are mostly good for trying to get jobs anyway. I've got one of those.

Lastly, the one good thing that came out of my 8 days in bed and 3 days in Boston was a deeply grateful feeling that I am still in academia. My boss was genuinely worried about me and my health. My lab mate gave an account of the group meeting I had to miss where Boss gravely announced I was very ill and went on to describe his own experiences moving to New England from a warm climate. Everyone sent emails checking in on me. And, well, conferences always have the effect of bringing co-workers closer together. My labmates that attended the conference all came to my talk and cheered me on. I haven't disliked my first two months here, but after this past week I finally feel like one of the group.


Christopher said...

even before I read this I vowed to get my flu shot over the upcoming weekend. I had a 2-day bout last year and it was hell, I don't want to experience 8! I'm so glad you're feeling better - and kudos to Deano for keeping the household going.

fermicat said...

That's an awful way to start a new job. I'm glad your co-workers have been decent about it though. Always a plus!

I remember getting hit (which is an appropriate description) with the flu the weekend all my stuff arrived when I moved to New England in 1993. Holy crap did that suck. All my junk was still in boxes and I was too sick to hardly move. Good thing I found a box of canned goods or I might have starved. Good times...

dr sardonicus said...

Glad to hear that you're feeling better now, that the conference went well, and that you have a wonderful husband.

Dianne said...

Deano really is the best!

I'm glad you're better

I hope you do get to do the Newport trip, I love that town

As for visiting NY, you better tell me first that you're coming!!

Anonymous said...

Moving, different climate, stress of a new job and the holidays looming seem to be calling cards for the flug bug to drop in. But, on the bright side, you've got your flu for the season out of the way and should be able to enjoy the rest of the holiday season. Take care and keep warm.

MyUtopia said...

You are allowed to be busy, especially this time of the year.

Minnesotablue said...

Thank Goodness you are feeling better! And thank goodness for Deano!