The Swedish Winter Flu Tried to Kill Me

Sometimes you're not as strong as you thought. Lundagård's student life columnist Alexandra Bradley believed that her Australian childhood had made her tough – but the Swedish flu-season proved her wrong.

Whilst we have technically ticked over into Spring, with March 1st marking this transition, the flu season is still well and truly upon us. A time of coughs, sneezes and sniffles. We collectively fight an invisible enemy with battles raging on in, workplaces, hospitals and of course Lund University.

Despite this, I believed I could evade the flu. Coming from Australia, a land of rough landscapes and dry outback, we are raised tough… And of course, a little cold would not hurt us.

Oh, how I was wrong…

I first felt signs of a little sniffle on Tuesday morning in class. I told myself “mind over matter” and it was simply nothing. By that night my head was pounding, and so I decided to get an early night sleep and I’d be good as new.

The next morning, I woke up and it had been like (what I imagine) being hit by a truck feels like. My head pounded, body ached, I could barely look at my phone screen and every time I swallowed it felt like sandpaper. Every movement was a struggle, and the simplest tasks became insurmountable challenges. It’s as if the world had slowed down, and all I could do was wait for the sickness to run its course.

This was my first time being sick in almost five years. And whilst being sick at home is bad, being sick whilst at university is worse. Without mum looking after me or dad’s homemade soup or a stocked family medicine cabinet or my local doctor — it was difficult. Not to mention the very real cost on my grades and class attendance.

For the next week, I moved from my bed to the couch to back to my bed. I was so sick I could not imagine attending class.  Two weeks on, I am still trying to catch up with the rest of the class.

The best thing I did to recover was rest. Drinking plenty of fluids, adding ginger and garlic to as many meals and practicing good hygiene all helped. But what really got me through was calling home. Even though my mum is halfway across the world and in 10 hours ahead in different time zone, I still called her regularly. Just hearing her reassuring voice went a long way in helping me rest easy when sick. So do not underestimate how much a phone call home can help when you’re sick – even when you’re suppose to be an independent adult.