Wednesday, January 09, 2013

flu shots, f-bombs and Multiple Sclerosis

Bringing Patti some comfort food for dinner at her care facility tonight I expected to find her in bed. “Hey there! I hear you are not feeling well.”

“Yeah! I’ve got some f#cking flu thing or whatever and just want to go to sleep!"

Actually her cough began three evenings earlier. It was so gross to listen to during an outing that I had jokingly offered her the cat’s hair ball remedy.

By the next morning she was presenting all the flu symptoms  including fever over 100˚F, except nausea. After being examined by her doctor, decongestant and additional sinus meds were ordered along with a portable chest x-ray. 

Personally I still find it bordering on magic that doctors make house calls to care facilities and x-rays machines come to residents.

Fortunately the x-ray determined no evidence of pneumonia, bronchitis, or more dangerous for someone like Patti with MS related dysphagia – aspiration pneumonia.

Patti had previously received the flu vaccine but as ‘we’ have learned some people can still get the flu even if vaccinated. Fortunately it will be milder than the real McCoy. However Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease and Patti’s immune system is the proverbial new frontier.

Her fever statistically peaked yesterday at 101˚ in between Tylenol dosages. Her cough was reported as croupy.

Today’s high reading was 99.5˚F. Her cough remained croupy and her voice while hoarse was still capable of f-bombing the flu. After convincing her to try a cup of fruit because it contained peaches, which she loves, she conceded it was indeed “a cup of good f#cking shit”.

Fatigue was ruling her world and she is in the right place to maximize bed rest. 

Sooo we watched the Simpsons on TV, one of her favorites, while I fed her dinner in bed from Helena's Chocolate Café & Crêperie.  The care facility kitchen does a wonderful job but … what could be better for the flu than a dark chocolate and strawberry crepe? ... Duh! A dark chocolate raspberry ganache cupcake, of course. 

Only family and friends can provide TLC. Only an advocate can make noise for someone unable to direct their own medical care when so many residents are affected. Reverse the roles what would you rather have - professional care or TLC bearing dark chocolate cupcakes? 

Visit the sick and don't forget the cupcakes!

Patrick Leer
Health Activist:
Caregivingly Yours, MS Caregiver @


  1. cupcakes! they look delicious! I do hope Patti feels better soon and that you don't catch it Patrick!


    1. Thanks Betty! FYI the cupcakes WERE delicious. Me and our daughter should be fine. We also both previously got the flu vaccine however our immune systems are not whacked out by MS and while yes I did have lung cancer surgery I required no chemo nor radiation which could in theory impact immune system resistance. ... It's a bad year for the flu and fortunately the vaccine seems to be significantly mitigating it's impact on Patti.

  2. Great post, Patrick. Jennifer and I hope Patti continues to get better, and take good care of yourself too! Dan


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