August 6, 2018
by Dafyd Martindale
On Saturday, July 28, I woke up and realised I had the ‘flu (or something very much like it) … and just four days later I was in Kingaroy Hospital.
Health authorities had warned this year’s flu was a particularly nasty one several months ago, and urged as many people as possible to get a flu vaccination.
Judging by the vaccine shortages that followed, many people took them at their word.
Foolishly, I wasn’t one of them.
Probably like many others, I’ve had half a dozen bouts of flu-like illnesses over the past decade.
While I’ve never enjoyed getting them (who does?), I always resurfaced after a couple of weeks of feeling like something the cat dragged in, and without many major disruptions to my life.
But this year it has been different.
In the span of just a few days I found I could barely breathe.
Thinking I was going to black out and/or have a heart attack (or maybe both), I was quickly ferried to Kingaroy Hospital’s Emergency Department where the incredibly hard-working, dedicated staff put me on a bed, strapped an oxygen mask to my face, and turned me into a pop art sculpture of canulars.
Then they gave me ventolin, oxygen, an ECG and an x-ray, followed a little later – once the immediate panic had passed – with a prescription for antibiotics and corticosteroids as well as some sensible health advice.
Over the past several days the drugs they prescribed me have steadily worked to clear my lungs enough to restore something close to normal breathing.
But it has come at the cost of a constant cough that has stopped me getting a good night’s sleep for nearly a week, along with an inability to walk more than a few dozen steps without needing to sit down to catch my breath.
I’m not writing this because I want sympathy.
Instead, I’m writing to urge you to get yourself and your loved ones vaccinated against the flu if you haven’t already done so.
This weekend the South Burnett will enjoy its annual Ekka show holiday.
If this year follows the normal course, many people who’ve visited Ekka will return to our region bringing all manner of diseases with them.
As my own experience shows – and local chemists can confirm – the flu is making its way around the South Burnett right now.
But come next Tuesday, I bet Ekka-related flu infections will skyrocket.
So you only have a few days left to ensure you don’t become a casualty.
The other reason I’m writing this is that it occurred to me that this flu really could kill people, particularly the elderly if they don’t have a support network to look out for their welfare.
So if you have a single, elderly neighbour, please keep an eye on them over the next two or three weeks.
And if you don’t see them out and about, please pop on over and ask if they’re okay.