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Excerpt from Chapter Two
"The Mysterious Flu"

    "It was in January, and I was to work second shift that week. This was on a Monday and my shift was to start at 1500 hours and go till 2300 hours. I had gotten up that morning feeling a bit tired. I decided to work out and try to sweat the tiredness away. That usually works for me, as I am a fitness nut. I work out several days a week and seldom every eat junk food. Anyway, I was going through a martial arts work out. I had studied martial arts with many different teachers in the past. After the workout, I noticed that something just wasnít right. I normally had a very energetic feeling, or even a pleasant tiredness. This time, I felt almost feverish and exhausted. I blew it off as poor motivation and got ready for work.

    After I started my shift on patrol, I kept noticing that I just didnít feel like myself. I was sleepy and my throat was getting sore. That explains it! I was just getting a simple sore throat. I have had so many of these things in the last eleven years; I didnít worry about it much. As a matter of fact, to be such a healthy person, I was always getting sick at the drop of a hat. I started getting that way in 1991, but I never let it get me down. I kept working, trying to ignore the fact that I might be getting sick again. Around 2200 hours, it all crashed down on me.

    I was beginning to shake all over with a fever. My throat was hurting so bad, that I chewed up several aspirins and gargled with them. That usually helped in the past. I looked in the rear view mirror with my flashlight at my throat. There were several large ulcers coming up in the back of my throat. These things have been popping up on me ever since I came home from Fort Benning, and I was getting used to them. It was probably just allergies or maybe some hidden stress? Anyway, I could hardly wait for the shift to end as I was miserable. When I got home, my fever checked at 102 degrees, and my throat was killing me. Little did I know that this was the beginning of something that would change my entire life.

    I ended up being out of work for the next four days with the fever and body aches. Even though I have had sore throats before, something just seemed different with this one. I finally went back to work the next week, this time being day shift. I was feeling somewhat better, but my energy levels just would not come back. Being the type of person that I am, I just pushed through it. I would come home from work and continue to workout, hoping that I could sweat out this ďfluĒ. Sadly, my body kept trying to tell me something, but I ignored it.

    Almost two weeks went by, and it was time for my regular SWAT training day. We normally trained every other week and this was our day. I always looked forward to SWAT days, as it was just my cup of tea. We normally would do PT or physical training first, and then do whatever was on the training schedule for the day. A typical run was two miles. In the past, I had never had any trouble running. I have been afflicted with mysterious arthritic pains for the last ten years or so, but I always kept running. I had all types of tests run, but nothing ever showed up. Using my own special way of thinking, I simply tried to push through it. Anyway, the two mile run on this training day was extremely hard for some reason. What was going on with me? I still didnít feel all that great, but now my run time is increasing? Just hold on, as it doesnít stop here.

    The next day, I was to start work again on my regular shift. This was the first day of my night shift for the month. If you havenít figured it out by now, I worked a rotating schedule. I was to report on the streets at 2245 hours. My fiancé came over and stayed with me until it was time to go to work. I guess it was about 2100 hours when I told her that I was starting to feel feverish again. I was getting mad because I just couldnít seem to get over that flu that I had come down with almost three weeks ago. The sore throat was gone, but the weakness just never went away. Anyway, I got into my patrol car and left for work around 2215 hours.

    By 0100 hours, I was running the heater wide open and shivering. I knew that my fever had returned. I began coughing like I was coming down with bronchitis. My arms and legs felt heavy. My head felt as if it were going to explode. What was going on? I arrested a drunk driver at 0400, which took every bit of strength that I had left. When I got home at 0730, I was spent. I went to the recliner and didnít move until late that evening. My fiancé came and drove me to one of those after hours quick care places, because I was completely unable to drive myself.

    The doctor checked me out and did a strep test on my throat. The test was negative, but my fever was still hanging at about 103 degrees. They told me I probably had a virus or flu. A couple more antibiotics and I was off to deal with the problem again. The trip to the doctor had exhausted me so much, I became nauseous and unable to lift my head from the recliner. I was now out of work again for the next five days. Something was going to have to give. I couldnít keep doing this."

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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Living with the Unknown
Writers Club Press, an imprint of iUniverse, Inc.
Material Copyright © 2002 Brian Voncannon
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