Risk Services of Arkansas - December 2018

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DECEMBER 2018

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THE TIME I ACCIDENTALLY INFECTED MY ENTIRE FAMILY A Classic Christmas Flu Outbreak

W hen you’re blessed to be as close with your family as I am, hosting them for Christmas is a true privilege. That is until you accidentally poison the holiday feast and knock everybody completely out of commission for a few days. That’s the situation I faced last year, in a nutshell, and let me tell you, I do not recommend it. I should start by telling you that I almost never get sick. I’m not going to claim to be the healthiest guy in the entire world, but my immune system generally keeps things in check. I dutifully get my flu shots, exercise, and do what I can to stay healthy. But last year, in the slightly stressful lead-up to hosting my sister and brother and their families, my parents, and my wife’s family, something somehow made it through. Of course, I didn’t notice it at first. Everybody started rolling into town on Dec. 22 and immediately began settling in and having a great time. It was fantastic to catch up with some of the most important people in my life, swapping stories, relaxing, and laughing together. On the morning of Christmas Eve, I woke up with some light dizziness but thought nothing of it. Surely it was just allergies or a little head cold, right? The weekend and Christmas day

to drive all the way back to Houston early for work, and when she got there, she felt too sick to work that day anyway. My brother and sister and their families were spared, thankfully. Of course, after they saw the writing on the wall, they didn’t stick around much longer. My parents ended up weathering the ordeal, and everybody else recovered within just a few days, but it certainly put a damper on the Christmas festivities. The only consolation was the excellent time we’d all had together before I cut the turkey and infected everybody. They were all very understanding, but you can imagine how guilty I felt when my family started getting sick. It’s a “little” funny (for everyone else) in retrospect, but it definitely wasn’t in the moment. So all in all, last year wasn’t the best Christmas we’ve ever had. This year, my wife and I are likely keeping it to a smaller affair, as I’m sure no one will want to risk their holidays by hanging out with me! I’ll give the big get-together another go a little ways down the road. But for now, I think I need to let the magic of time erase the memories of Christmas contagion!

went off without a hitch. My wife and I made a ton of food, I personally cut the turkey, and we all had a fantastic time. I wasn’t feeling well, but nothing serious enough to hamper the holidays. The day after Christmas, I woke up early to help my daughter take her car in to get some work done and began to wonder what was wrong with me. By this point, I really wasn’t feeling good, but I felt like I had enough adrenaline and tasks to attend to that I could just keep pushing through. After I dropped my daughter off back home, I decided to take a quick trip to the “doc in the box” to get checked out. I figured they’d hear my story, give me some antibiotics, and send me on my way. My heart sank when the doctor came out wearing that classic bad-news face. “I’m sorry to tell you this,” he said. “But you’ve got the flu.” I told him there was no way, not with all my family waiting back at the house. But it was the truth. Luckily, he was a nice guy and wrote out enough Tamiflu prescriptions for everyone. He knew what was coming and did his best to prevent it. As most of us started falling sick one by one, though, it became clear that the spread was inevitable. My 80+ year-old parents were laid so low that I ended up having to take my dad into the hospital for pneumonia. My wife got sick. My kids got sick. My poor daughter had

–Brad Johnson

President, Risk Services of AR

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