As my sixth summer living in Chicago winds down, I have grown accustom to taking twelve months of outdoor fair weather events and packing them into four summer months. However, my body appears to have a different opinion on the matter. After a month of fatigue and not feeling like "myself" I was finally diagnosed on Friday (September 2nd) with the mono virus. This virus Infectious Mononucleosis often referred to as kissing disease is very common in the United States.
So what does having mono mean? It means, I need to take it easy or I could end up in the hospital. Currently, my throat is swollen and sore, all of my glands are swollen, and my liver is being attacked by the virus so I must cut out alcoholic beverages until it is healed. Though symptoms appear to be fairly mild they could worsen quickly if I get tired or worn down. For example, last night I woke up three times and had to call a doctor to get something prescribed to prevent some major pain and my throat from swelling shut. So I made the drive to Walgreen's at 4am and picked up the prescription and then came h0me and was able to continue sleeping once it kicked in.
How did I get mono? I really do not know for sure but I most likely got it from my brother who was hospitalized with a severe case this past June. Yes June! It takes 30 to 50 days to incubate so it could mean I have been carrying the virus all summer long while it has been waiting to unleash an attack on my body.
Am I contagious? That is a very tough to determine since doctors have mixed perspectives as to at what point I stop being contagious through normal contact or if I am at all. Especially since many adults carry the infection in their saliva normally without even getting the virus. So I feel it is really up to the individuals I come in contact with. I would assume individuals that have had some form of the virus are somewhat immune while others might have weakened immune systems and could be very likely to catch the virus. I do know I am definitely contagious through intimate contact, hence the kissing disease nickname.
While it was frustrating to find out on the eve of a holiday weekend that I have mono, I can understand how this could happen. My life has been a blur for the last 4 months. Every week and weekend has been filled with long work hours as well as outside events allowing me limited time to relax and reset every weekend. Not to mention, I have not taken a vacation in quite sometime. So I have cleared my weekend schedule for the next four to six weeks so that I can use that time to recover. My primary goal is to get healthy. However, my secondary goal is to try and not miss a lot of work while getting healthy. We will see if this virus allows me to fulfill both of my goals at the same time. If I need to take time off to recover, of course, I will. I guess I am glad I know what I need to do. Also things could be worse. At least I do not have mono while living in a Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. That would be difficult. Additionally, college and NFL football are just getting started which will offer some television programming while being the best couch potato I can be.