It Finally Gets Me

Admittedly, I’d gotten a bit smug about not having been sick.

Being on a treatment that wipes out your immune system is scary. Since I began Ocrevus just over a year ago, I’ve been nutty about avoiding germs. My purse contains hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes that I turn to often. I use my sleeves or a scarf to avoid touching door handles. I wash my hands dozens of times each day.

In my classrooms, I let students know that I’m immunocompromised and ask them to steer clear if they’re feeling at all unwell. This conversation is made easier when they see me wiping down the keyboard, desk and remote control before class begins, an unspoken daily reminder. Because I work with adults, they have been lovely about it, sitting in the back rows if they are under the weather. One student even insisted on sitting on the opposite side of the room during an individual conference because she had a bad cold.

This all added up to my miraculously not getting sick for a whole year. No viruses, no colds, no bugs. I worried that I was coming down with something a few times, but nothing materialized into anything of consequence. Maybe I had this whole avoiding germs thing figured out.

And then Alvaro came home last week sneezing and coughing, whining about “not feeling well.” (Aside: why are men are such babies about being sick?) Despite nagging and sometimes screaming at him about washing his hands, covering coughs and sneezes, it caught up to me yesterday, announcing itself with a sore throat and malaise. I’m worse today, coughing and congested, the sore throat going all in. I’m sure the worst of it is yet to come.

Because this is my first time being sick while on Ocrevus, I’m worried about how badly I’m going to get hit, how long it’s going to take to get better. More than that, though, I’m worried about it turning into a chest infection, bronchitis or pneumonia because of my immunosuppression. I fear having to be hospitalized because of something that begins as innocuously as a cold.

Today, I’m grateful that when I felt this coming on yesterday, I made a big pot of chicken and vegetable soup to see me through. I’m drinking lots of tea and water. I’m going to listen to podcasts and watch TV and rest. The best part is snuggling with Maggie, who only allows such shenanigans when she knows I’m not feeling well. Here’s hoping she’ll be back to her fickle self soon because that will mean I’m back to myself, too, feeling revitalized, robust, ever mercurial.

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