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When We Get Sick, Do We Feel Worse?

Remember when I said November is nobody’s favorite month? Welcome to cold and flu season. You can’t go into a drug store without practically being chased by syringe-wielding nurses who want to give you a flu shot. “No thanks, I’m good,” I say. If pressed, I claim I got mine from my doctor already. I’m allergic to eggs, which makes any egg-cultured vaccine a problem. I’m so allergic, in fact, that I failed to develop any immunity to rubella after getting the vaccine in 1983. I did, however, have so much congestion that I got a bacterial infection that made me seriously ill for 3 months. (I know about the lack of immunity because the state of Montana was still blood testing for marriage licenses in 1988.)

Lucky for me, I haven’t had the flu since 2011. When you know you have risk factors, you take precautions. I’ve had my share of fall colds and “off” food, though. Minor ailments I used to power through before the crash, and are now completely debilitating. I think that’s true of a lot of us with hidden disabilities.

I’m coming down with a bad cold as we speak. My throat is so sore it hurts to swallow, and I’m exhausted by the simplest chores. All I want to do is watch TV. I’m afraid to go to bed because I know I’m going to start coughing as soon as I fall asleep. Headaches run the danger of morphing into migraines. Body aches become agonizing pain at my fracture sites—15 of them. Not all of them remember, but plenty of them do.

Throwing up is the worst. I fractured every rib on my left side. Those ribs light up when I throw up, and of course my spinal fracture site does its thing. Sometimes even my shoulder aches. Once, when I had food poisoning, I threw up so hard, I got two black eyes. I was weeping from the pain in my ribs, back and shoulder.

I wonder if other people suffer more when they’re sick. I would think people with autoimmune diseases would have much worse body aches. And dysautonomia disorders, that could be nightmarish.

I’m still of the temperament that I’d rather care for myself than be waited on when I’m sick, but I do like it when my neighbor stops by to check on me and ask if he can do little things for me like take out my trash. It’s nice to know someone cares if you’re alive in there.

Today’s post is going to be short because I’m suffering. I hope nobody else out there is going through the same thing, but if you are, tell me about it. Misery loves company, after all.

When We Get Sick, Do We Feel Worse?

Kristin Noreen

Kristin Noreen lives in Bellingham, Washington with two cats and her vintage touring bicycle, Silver. Her triple passions are animal rescue, long-distance bike touring, and writing. Her book, On Silver Wings: A Life Reconstructed, is about reinventing her life following a catastrophic injury.

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APA Reference
, . (2019). When We Get Sick, Do We Feel Worse?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 23, 2020, from


Last updated: 13 Nov 2019
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