Sick on the job

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Flu season is upon us, well, almost. But it feels like it for me. My schedule has been crazy lately between days working on the unit and days in the class room. My days off at the beginning of my program were long and grouped together like mini vacations; the time off was just for me to relax. Now my days off are filled up with trying to get a chance to see my fiancé (maybe) once a week, getting in all the laundry, cleaning, shopping, etc. that just needs to get done.  And all that lack of sleep and running around is starting to catch up with me.
About a week and a half ago, I started getting a scratchy feeling in the back of my throat, I naturally thought it was nothing, just talking too much, so I came home and took my vitamins, extra vitamin C, a cold-prevention lozenge thing, drank some tea and went to bed. I woke up at 1am barely able to swallow. I ended up having to call in sick and spent the day in bed (actually wishing I could be at work all day).  The next day was a day off and I slept all day again, but finally feeling almost better. I spent the next three days at work fighting the snuffles and when I finally got home the last night I was a mess. Not to be graphic (but hey, we’re nurses!) I was snotty and phlegmy, and stuffy and finally realized what “rhonchi” sounded like.

I’ve always heard “your first year with kids, you’ll get sick with just about everything.”  And to that I though, “Pish, not me!” but I’m believing it more and more. It scares me too. I work with so many kids with so many nasty respiratory illnesses. I try to be as good as I can be with isolation precautions and hand washing, but when you’re lying in bed coughing it all up, you can’t help but try to retrace your steps and think about the trach patient you suctioned every two hours, or the MDRO patients you took care of all day long. What if it’s not just a cold? What if it’s MRSA? Pseudomonas? AHHHHH!  Just thinking about it makes it worse!

I’m waiting till I feel 100% sniffle-free before I get my flu shot, I’m not taking any chances this season! What on-the-job illnesses have you gotten?

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