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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
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Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

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At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it. → 

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Hack, cough, wheeze, sob

Last week I was downed by the flu, and it was the exact opposite of pretty. Scott eventually succumbed as well, and we spent the weekend lying in bed, moaning and shivering, while our kid watched hours and hours of television and could have eaten his weight in chocolate chips without us noticing. (He didn't.) (We had no chocolate chips.) (I checked.) While we lay together, huddled in our damp sheets, marinating in our awful juices, we agreed that 1) this was the sickest either of us have ever been, 2) we would prefer to never be that sick ever again, and 3) we are idiots for not getting the flu shot.

So if you have not, please, get the flu shot. Please. This is my gift to you. Telling you this. Because you didn't know it already.

But now we are relatively well, except that I have this lingering hell-cough and I am almost certain I'm going to hork up something vital, sooner or later. In addition, I can't quite move my eyeballs. It seems that the flu makes your eyeball-muscles sore! I have to move my head to see anything. It's the most pathetic thing you've ever seen, take my word for it. Maybe not the most. Definitely top five.

Hey, and while I'm writing this, guess whose child is complaining of achy limbs? And is coughing? Guess who decided against getting her child a flu shot this year? Guess who now feels terrible for not getting her child the flu shot? Although in her defense, last year when he got the shot he had these severe headaches for three straight days and it scared the bejesus out of the entire family? Hint: the answer to all of these questions is the same!

Quickly, before things take an even uglier turn for the sick: here are my Redbook posts from last week!

1. Minty Bear II is gone. Long Live Minty Bear.  Henry lost the second Minty Bear, and it was even worse than the first time.  

2. Why I don't believe you should fear the Hot Nanny.  "If you don't want to hire someone pretty because you think your husband will run off with her, you may have to ask yourself some tough questions. Like, 'Am I married to Jude Law?'"

3. On Gabrielle Giffords, brain injuries, and the amazing Anissa Mayhew.  "I really believe, as I'm sure other people who read his posts do, that Peter's love and faith in his wife played no small role in her recovery. I feel certain that Representative Giffords is similarly blessed."

Aaaand he has a fever. Oh, we are so screwed. Oh dear.

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Reader Comments (23)

Oh, no! I hope you're all feeling better soon. But don't beat yourself up over the flu shot. I got a flu shot and still got the flu this year.

January 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterClair

Oh no! Fingers crossed it doesn't end in him all flu-y! I'll bet it's just one of those 'faking you out' kind of fevers... Those exist, right? You hear about them all the time!

January 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLeaf Probably

Oh, honey, I'm so sorry you had that terrible flu! We had it too, and reading your post was as though I had written it myself. One of my kids had it too - the other was perfectly fine and spent four days destroying the house, basically unattended, bored out of his mind, while the rest of us moaned and whined in bed. The cough lasts a long time, but it'll go away, I promise!
We'd never had the flu before either. So next year, are you going to get a flu shot, or bank on the odds that you won't get it again either?

January 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAngie

I had a flu shot last year, for the first time ever. And immediately thereafter got the flu, even worse than you described it. So no flu shot for me this year.

January 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSmalltown Mom

I got the flu last year, and it was at that point that I realized that I was full of crap all the other times in my life where I thought I had the flu. The flu, the real flu, is like nothing I ever want to experience again. The fever, body aches (my God, the body aches!), and subsequent bronchitis (I was such a medical cliché!) were too much to believe. You have my complete sympathy. And, I'm very sorry to say, but if you are anything like me, you won't feel like yourself for another couple of weeks. :(

Take it easy, and hope you feel better.

January 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJules

I like that my response is my own website.

makes me think.

We all got the flu shot and STILL were sick with the flu.

Fever, aches, fatigue. FA-TIGUE.

Was nice to lay around...except for the misery of the stomach stuff.

Hope you're all Better Soon!

January 17, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteralexandra

Why American men should boycott American women

I am an American man, and I have decided to boycott American women. In a nutshell, American women are the most likely to cheat on you, to divorce you, to get fat, to steal half of your money in the divorce courts, don't know how to cook or clean, don't want to have children, etc. Therefore, what intelligent man would want to get involved with American women?

American women are generally immature, selfish, extremely arrogant and self-centered, mentally unstable, irresponsible, and highly unchaste. The behavior of most American women is utterly disgusting, to say the least.

This blog is my attempt to explain why I feel American women are inferior to foreign women (non-American women), and why American men should boycott American women, and date/marry only foreign (non-American) women.


January 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Rambo

We had it too. Body aches, headache, low fever, crapulous coughing, and extreme vulnerability to weepiness. We wept about everything, including largely imagined personal slights, sentimental television, the cute look on the dog's face, etc. Oh, and then followed four weeks of incredible fatigue... which also made us weep.

January 17, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterpuncturedbicycle

I heard recently that if you rub Vick's VapoRub on the soles of your feet and then put socks on right before you go to bed it will stop you from coughing. Sounds freaky, I know, but apparently people SWEAR by it. So, if it doesn't feel toooooo gross, I recommend giving it a try. Who knows? If it doesn't work, and all you get is a greasy-feet feeling, I'm sorry. And if it does work, you're welcome! Tell all your friends!

January 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGinnie

I get the flu shot every year, but my kids don't. Because flu shots aren't cheap and we all have to make choices.

Hope there is a speedy, eye-moving recovery in the Finslippy household soon!

January 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarinka

I'm asking my OBGYN today if I should get the shot. I'm usually anti-flu-shot because I would really rather everyone else get the shot and then I would be fine. No that doesn't make sense, but it's worked for me for the last 36 years. But I'm knocked up (for the first time and it's a secret still, so shhhhh!) and it is probably the smart thing to do.

Despite your illness, I must say that I follow you and your husband's tweets and being deathly ill makes you both exceptionally funny! So there's that. Glad you are feeling better!

January 17, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjoaaanna

don't feel bad about not getting the flu shot. the few people i know who have gotten it have had A Terrible Flu. i never get the flu shot and i'm hardly ever sick KNOCK ON WOOD. i think it's really random.
hope the whole family feels better soon!

January 17, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterbeyond

What a treat. I am just finding your blog. I feel as if I am chatting with a good friend on the phone when I read this. I a single mom of two adopted girls. I always feel I am totally spent and out of energy, time etc. Glad to see I am not alone. I will be back for more fun.

January 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKelly Ozley

Yes! Speak the truth about the flu shot, Alice! I'm not going to go on and on about why the flu shot can't make you sick, or adaptive immunological responses, or why we should ALL CARE ABOUT PUBLIC HEALTH and get the flu shot...but I kind of want to. Instead, I will shut up and just say that I am glad you are feeling better and hopefully Henry will be too! (But if you ever want a lengthy, uncalled for, TMI explanation of how the flu shot works, don't be afraid to hit up your favorite medical student.)

January 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRed Stethoscope

Might I suggest chicken soup? The real kind made by a real Jewish Grandmother (NOT the stuff in a can).

January 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterQuietusLeo

I'm a nurse and I don't get the flu shot- it's a crap shoot really. I figure I get inoculated with enough germs through all the germy-patients that I don't really need the flu-shot.

No, that's not backed up by any real science, so you may or may not want to follow my lead.

January 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSuzRocks

Aaaaand, I'm laying here shivering and soaked and can barely move my eyeballs. Of course I was sick on one of the last holiday weekends until oh, May, or so. And, I have not gotten my child the flu shot either because I have a paranoid friend who told me about some paralyzing disease a college friend of hers got after getting a flu shot. Oh, this will be a fun week or two. Glad you are feeling better, hope the boy doesn't suffer too badly :(

January 17, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterattygirl

About 20 years ago or so, before there were flu shots, I contracted the honest-to-god flu and it kicked my ass. As you've learned, people who are sick but ambulatory or even just vertical, and say they have "the flu", do NOT have actual influenza.

I lost 10 days of my life I can barely remember, which I'm told is actually a blessing. If I hadn't had a wonderful friend for a roommate at the time, I would have probably ended up in the hospital. When I finally arose from the depths, I was a greasy-spot remnant of my real self and couldn't get across the apartment without having to sit for a few minutes. It took forEVer to get back to me.

So now, I am among the first clamoring for the shot every year. After that one experience in '86 (?), I NEVER want to go through that ever again so I'm A Believer.

January 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJan

Two things:

1. A whole lot of years ago someone said to me "you know you really have the flu when you're so sick that instead of being afraid you're going to die, you start hoping you will." And in my experience that cough lasts a long long time after the flu is gone.

2. I've been telling my 32 year old son, who lives in Brooklyn, to get a damned flu shot. He keeps giving me that "but people who get flu shots get the flu from it" line. I suspect that people who believe that aren't aware that it takes two weeks for the shot to produce the immunity. If you put off getting the shot until everyone around you has the flu, odds are it's too late. I never got a flu shot until about 3 or 4 years ago (and did get the flu a few times), but now I'm a believer. Granted, the shot might not turn out to protect against the particular flu that turns out to be circulating, but it often (usually?) does, and not getting one certainly doesn't. Get it every year and get it early.

January 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKimb

Hey, that's exactly my story: me with the flu, then my husband with the flu - our son isolated in his room with TV. 5 days later me and my husband are fine, our son is sick... The thing is I DID get the flu shot in November, so did my son (but not my husband), we all got sick regardless. Go figure...

January 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAysel

Argggh, the flu. It is the worst. I've had it 3 times in my life. The last time I had it, 11 years ago now, it was so bad I swore I would never get it again. So I've been getting the shot ever since. Hope you all feel better soon!

January 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMauigirl

I just wanted to drop you a quick note and thank you for writing a post about Representative Giffords on the Redbook site.
To me, her shooting was a BIG DEAL. It was a moment that should have changed the tenor of politics in this country (and I continue to hope that it will). And I'm not talking about assigning blame to any particular stripe of politician--I just can't imagine that anyone would want to use images and words of violence after something so awful.
I'm a mom, and I make my rounds of the mom blogs over the course of my week and I felt like I was living in a completely different world after the shooting in AZ. Hardly anyone mentioned it at all. So thank you. I know it's probably *hard* to write about, and even harder to write about in a way that doesn't bring out the angry people.
I too hope Rep. Giffords eventually sees a full recovery and gets to spend many more years with her husband.

January 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Ugh. I can't comment on the Redbook site. I've lost my password, or maybe I've forgotten my username, or perhaps I've unsubscribed to too many things, or perhaps the site just doesn't like me (I think it's 99% that last one, and 1% that I don't have the right combination of username/password).

Regardless, I wanted you to know that Mom Guilt (MG) comes in many forms. Why just this morning I had guilt that I was too overprotective (I checked my second graders' schedules for what their "specials" were today!)...then I had guilt that I wasn't protective enough (I let my 4-year-old escort his sisters to the bus without gloves in 40 degree weather!).

I distinctly remember one moment of MG. We'd gone to the pediatrician with our 9-month-old twins and the pediatrician asked the standard set of questions (are they eating? [yes]; are they gnawing at lead-covered walls? [no]; are you getting enough sleep? [are you crazy?]) and then she asked, "Have you introduced utensils?" WHAT?!?!?! Oh my goodness. What?

I was supposed to have known they were to be using forks and spoons??? For the love of Pete, I just thought that I was just supposed to be cutting everything into millimeter cubes and carefully watching so that they didn't choke. They didn't mention that on any development timeline I'd ever seen (and I read them all!!) UTENSILS? Hand my babies utensils?!?!? That day, I put them in their high chairs immediately after getting home and practically duct-taped those spoons to their hands.

To this day, any time one of those 7-year-old little girls uses her hands rather than her UTENSILS, I cringe with guilt that I didn't introduce them early enough.

I guess my point is that MG is like worry...and you know what they say about worry...."Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere." Of course, what do I know? My girls will be shoveling their food into their mouths with their HANDS on their wedding day.

January 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarie

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