My Flu Hell! (It wasn’t too bad really)

I can never fully commit to a clickbaity title.

Flu virus image from

I haven’t written much over the last week because I’ve had flu. It wasn’t too terrible, although I suspect this is mostly down to luck, since my flatmate has had a horrendous time. However, not having had flu before, I was surprised that it’s distinctly different from a cold in a few unexpected ways. Not all flus are the same of course, but these symptoms seem to fit fairly well with the NHS guidelines, suggesting that they’re typical. I’m posting about them in case this would be of use to some of you. Whether you need to know what to expect with your own bout of the lurgy or need to convincingly lie about symptoms to your boss, either way, I’m here to help.

Unexpected symptoms of flu

You can’t sleep. The first sign that something was really wrong was waking up about thirty times in one night, with a few hours spent just staring at the ceiling. I managed to snatch a few hours in the week by dosing up on Night Nurse, but it wasn’t until I started to get better that I had a proper night’s sleep. I couldn’t sleep in the day either, which meant the hours went really slowly.

You can’t do anything. I wasn’t so ill that I was stuck in a bed all week, instead I was stuck in a chair unable to move and very bored. Normally I don’t have the patience to watch TV, but for the past week all I’ve done is stare at Netflix like a zombie. I’ve watched Dirk Gently, Sense8, The Good Place and Community, and it’s sort of been fun. Unfortunately I was quite enjoying Sense8, but now I doubt I’ll be able to finish the series because my attention span has returned to its natural scattered state.

You feel queasy all the time. Neither me nor flatmate actually were sick, but we both struggled to eat. Usually we have fairly vegetarian diets, but neither of us could eat any vegetables. Instead he ate very little and only sausage rolls, and I ate considerably more, but only roast chicken and bread (and chocolate and ice cream, cos there is no illness that can keep me from those). I still can’t face milk.

You lose the ability to gauge temperature. The first day I got sick my teeth were chattering so hard I’d thought they’d break.  At other times I’d be boiling with fever, until the paracetamol kicked in. Then I’d become just warm, except the heating in my flat struggles when it get’s below five degrees outside, and I definitely shouldn’t have been warm. Even yesterday, when I went back to work and the sky dumped an inch of snow on me I didn’t really feel cold. I’m hoping it’s a symptom that sticks around for a few more weeks.

The cough is very annoying. And painful. It’s a dry, pathetic sounding cough (think Zoolander when he thinks he’s got black lung) but I keep getting stuck on a loop where I can’t stop coughing until I can’t breathe and my head is pounding.

The only other symptoms are: a sore throat that feels like I’ve swallowed a golf ball on fire, and shooting pains through my arms and stomach. Oh and moving reeeaally slowly, getting out of breath if I have to climb any stairs or pick anything up.

Now all I’m left with is the cough, so I think it’s fair to say I’ve been let off pretty lightly compared to many.

So over to you all, any of you had flu recently? Or have you never had it, and like a colleague of mine, suspect all flu is just colds for whingers?



10 thoughts on “My Flu Hell! (It wasn’t too bad really)

  1. Sorry to hear you’ve been sick, but very glad you’re on the mend. I’m just recovering myself from a non-flu stomach virus of “unknown” nature, and I don’t remember ever being so sick in my life! It was awful!

    Here’s to healing… *lifting my glass of water in a toast*

    (Note: water was the only thing I could consume for 3 days)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh you poor thing! I had a non-specific virus (very unhelpful to not even have a name to put to it) last year and it was the pits! Please take care of yourself, and I hope you’re fighting fit very soon. xx


  2. Being a man, I had man-flu — which I’m told is now ‘officially” an actual thing — last winter, and my other half (who had it much worse) the year before. For me, most of the symptoms you describe, but of course I mostly lay on a couch with a blanket while she was laid up in bed for days on end. We’re also officially entitled to flu jabs but that would naturally be an admission that we were officially old, so we don’t have them. Don’t? Won’t!

    And this year? Nothing except a poxy cold. Without the pox, I hasten to add! Anyway, bon appetit! as I mentally raise a glass of something or other to you. 🍸


    1. When I got back to work I was asked if I had ‘woman-flu’, I responded with a snide look. I’m dubious about flu jabs, if they’re only partially effective, and you can get flu from the jab, how does it help? Anyway, I’d like to congratulate you on your comparatively healthy winter, poxless even! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hope you’re back to normal soon! Sounds like you’ve weathered it well. Like you, I often wonder whether, when people say they’ve had the flu, they mean proper flu or a bad cold. I know the difference, yes. But I got pneumonia once after catching cold on a holiday, which turned bad when I got back. The holiday tour of Italy was still well worth it though!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nasty! That must have been awful. At least you had the happy memories to carry you through. And thank you for the concern, a weekend spent hiding in the warm has done me the world of good 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. One time I caught the flu and ended up coughing so much that even after I was technically over the flu I was still coughing. Breathing made me cough. Trying to talk made me cough. Existing made me cough. When I went to the doctor he said that basically my lungs were spasming, which lead to coughing, which fed right back into the vicious cycle of more spasming. He gave me codeine cough syrup and an inhaler, and I got to be treated like an asthmatic for two weeks. Blehhh.


    1. That’s awful! Yes, the cough seems to be the thing that lingers (although I had a fever yesterday, which was very inappropriate). My poor flatmate managed to pull a muscle from his coughing. It is a nasty illness, but I hope you are fit as a whistle now 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m glad you’re over it. I’ve thankfully avoided the flu this year (though there were a few times where I wasn’t sure), and for some reason I don’t recall my company offering the flu shot, so I didn’t get that this when I normally do (it being free and all). It sounds wretched though. Any kind of sickness I contract always ends up attacking my lungs, because I’m asthmatic, so I have even MORE trouble breathing. I’d take the not feeling cold any day of the week. I’m constantly in that state :p

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So you want an illness that stops you feeling cold, but without all the other nasty symptoms? I can’t argue with that, it’s a great idea. I’ll set up a Gofundme page, work out how to do microbiology and soon we’ll be rich (and always warm) ! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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