What you should NOT do when you have the flu

When you have the flu POST

Despite how invincible you think you might be, the flu isn’t very discerning when it decides who to strike down. It doesn’t care that you have a business to run. It doesn’t give a toss that you have a deadline for a major project. It just hits and has a party with your immune system while you get all achey, throaty and foggy. If you’re really lucky, you also get to feel like you’ve been hit by a bus.

That’s what happened to me last week. And when I finally stopped being in denial – which happened around about time I couldn’t actually walk a metre without feeling like I was going to die – I finally gave into the fact that I simply had to let it run its course.

So if you’re a business owner and your struck down with the dreaded lurgy, here’s what NOT to do.

1. Do not go into the office and infect your team
Trust me, they won’t appreciate it. You might want to appear like a committed workhorse but you (and your team) are better off if you stay at home. Work from there if you have to. There’s this thing: it’s called the internet. It should make things easy for you.

2. Do not listen to every piece of advice everyone gives you
I will admit, I was so desperate to fend off this thing that I tried everything. However, a wise person once told me: “Just pick one thing – and stick with it”. Instead, I had a cocktail of remedies which included:
* Codral Night and Day Tablets
* Sliced fresh ginger in hot water
* Really hot baths “to sweat it out”
* An endless stream of Vitamin C tablets
* Some weird drops that the chemist told me to put under my tongue three times a day (I don’t even know what they are called)
* Fizzy Disprin to gargle (to line the throat)
* Hot toddies
* Garlic and chilli

I am not entirely sure if the above buffet helped or hindered my recovery. But when you’re in the throes of the flu, you’ll try anything. It may have been wiser to stick with one.

3. Don’t Tweet when you are delirious
I still have not had the guts to revisit my Twitter stream over the past few days. But I suspect that I may not fully embrace what I find. When I started getting responses from people saying: “Why oh why were you in Iowa?”, I realised that maybe I should stay way from Twitter while in flu delirium.

Apparently, I awoke, didn’t recognise my bedroom and thought I was in Iowa (God knows why). It seems I had travelled there in a plane full of bloggers who wrote about storage accessories (like the kind you get from Howard’s Storage World).

On the plus side, my partner (who was interstate at the time), saw the Iowa tweet. He realised that things were serious and got on the next plane back to Sydney.

4. Do not forget to feed your pets (or children if you have any)
Enough said on that one. The consequences are not worth it.

5. Do not try to redraft a shareholders’ agreement (or any kind of legal document)
Yes I tried. Trust me. Wait till you are better. Normally simple concepts take on labyrinthine proportions when you have the flu.

6. Do not go to your new neighbour’s place frothing at the mouth
So during the week I received a noticed that my neighbour (for some totally valid reason) had to turn off the water mains from 10am for one hour. I could live with that. They are new neighbours and they kindly distributed notices to anyone affected. I rearranged my cleaners and the world was fine.

Well, fine until I was in the middle of brushing my teeth at 9.53am (hey, I had the FLU, I was entitled to sleep in) and the water went off. Now, you gotta understand, don’t mess with a woman with the flu. I pulled on some clothes, went downstairs and informed them that it was not yet 10am.

They looked at me and said: “But it’s 9.55.” Yahuh? Does that freaking sound like 10am to you?
Now, I had no makeup on, was in my trakkies, hadn’t done my hair, had a fever of about 30000 degrees and a mouth that probably displayed toothpaste remnants. There is a strong chance they thought I had rabies. So they turned the water back on.

I realise that my new neighbour is now probably too scared to say hello to the scary lady who froths at the mouth (and who obviously keeps to a very tight schedule). But hey, these things happen. But I STILL reckon that 9.55 is not 10 o’clock.

On the plus side, thanks to Codral Night and Day, I did have some pseudoephedrine-fuelled sessions where I got so much work done, I couldn’t quite believe it.

However, in general, the flu is a curse to all business owners and one that you rarely factor into your business plan. But it can result in memorable meetings with your neighbours. And, if you’re lucky, you may even find yourself in Iowa.

About Valerie Khoo

Valerie Khoo is founder and national director of the Australian Writers' Centre, the country's leading centre for writing courses. She is a journalist, blogger and author. Her latest book is "Power Stories: The 8 stories you MUST tell to build an epic business" (Wiley). Valerie is a keynote speaker, small business commentator, and investor and mentor to startups and businesses in Australia.
  • http://www.kellyexeter.com.au/ Kelly Exeter

    PMSL at the Iowa tweet … and can definitely relate to pseudoephedrine inspired productivity. I can see why that stuff is barely legal!

    Meanwhile I am off to Bali tomorrow and after fighting and thinking I had beaten sinusitis about five times over in the last month, I have now fully succumbed. Thank god for doctors who know you well and will fit you in when there are no free appointments *sob*

    • valeriekhoo

      Kelly: Have the most incredible time in Bali! I think it’s possibly a better choice than Iowa.

  • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

    Oh Val … it’s two weeks since I was struck down and I’m still not 100%. Feel your pain. It’s a shocker!

  • Mail

    The blogger with the stories about storage products… you probably had a nightmare about me!!

  • Susanne

    The blogger with the stories about storage products… you probably had nightmares about me!!

    • valeriekhoo

      I can tell that’s you Susanne! In case anyone is wondering … Susanne is an amazing professional organiser from lessmess.com.au :) She keeps me organised.

  • Narelle Redman

    I blame my ‘flu’ on a survey! Yes, 3 weeks ago I agreed to take part in a survey re the flu needle. They wanted to track individuals who hadn’t and who have had the ‘flu’ shots. Firsts two weeks just fine, people around me who have had the shot were dropping like flies. I kept saying I ‘never get sick’ and I hadn ‘t had the flu shot. Wamo the next survey email arrives and I have been struck down with the worst cold since I can remember! I’m sure there was something attached in the email that was released so that now I can fill in the question that say
    1. ‘cough’ tick yes,
    2. ‘temperature’ tick yes,
    3. ‘Dying in bed at can’t go to work’ tick yes!
    Today will be the first day back after lying in bed for the last 4 day! Hope their happy as now I am just one of those statistics!

    • valeriekhoo

      Narelle: You jinxed it! Always the way. I hope you are feeling better now :)