I spent last week in bed with the dreaded flu. An entire week.

I have never missed an entire week of work due to any sort of illness. This flu is no joke. Get your shots!

I spent last week in bed with the dreaded flu. An entire week.

I have never missed an entire week of work due to any sort of illness. This flu is no joke. Get your shots!

In my younger years, I recall being able to bounce back fairly quickly.

In fact, I played in many games while under the weather. Looking back now I wonder how in the world I managed.

My mother would load me up on yellow-pine-sol smelling Thera-Flu and off I would go. The rule back then was, that on game day, you had to be at school for at least four periods in order to be eligible to play in a game. The rule didn’t specify that you had to be in class. The only requirement was that you had to be in school.

I got the flu during my senior year of high school in 1993. Maybe I wasn’t paying attention, but I don’t recall the flu being hyped on the nightly news as it is now. It was a way of life, you got the flu, you drank fluids and that was that.

With a fever, I headed off to school and sat through two periods of class before going to the nurse’s office. They let me sleep for two more periods and then I went home. I returned later to board the bus so I could play in an away basketball game.

Even writing this it seems rather absurd that such extremes were taken for a high school basketball game.

I actually remember the game because I felt removed from my body. I was light as a feather and was sweating way more than usual. It felt like a dream. Feeling terrible, I asked my coach if I could come out of the game and shockingly, he wouldn’t let me sit.

To this day I wonder why?

Was New Hampshire high school girls basketball in the early1990’s really that important?

The obvious answer to this is no.

Often times we place importance on things that in the end aren’t all that important.

I was initially stressed last week because I was going to miss work. It killed me. I hate letting people down. I really do. I had three meetings to cover and stories to write and I knew my editor didn’t have the staff to cover my absence. It made me feel even worse.

She sent me a simple email.

“Don’t worry about us here, just get better.”

I took her advice and in the process found it to be quite humbling. I’m sure my absence was missed as it put a strain on my boss, but the world did not stop spinning.

In fact, life went on as usual with a few twists.

 It wasn’t pretty. The kids were sent off to school, one with snarls in her long curly hair and hot lunches were bought as lunch boxes left un-packed. Teeth weren’t brushed and plates sat in the sink for three days with crusted food caked on them.

But everyone survived.

I’m sure if I hadn’t played in that basketball game twenty years ago it would have been fine too.

We all want to feel validated, to feel that what we do matters. And it does, but it’s not always in ways we think.

My kids didn’t care last week that I hadn’t showered and sounded like car with no muffler when I talked. They just wanted to know that they were still loved.

I received sweet notes and emails from friends who took a second to reach out and it reminded me the value of a smile and a hello.

And while my boss had an incredibly stressful week down one staff person, in her wisdom she realized had I even tried to go to work, my product would have suffered, and worse, I would have spread my germs.

I wouldn’t wish the flu on anyone. It truly is awful.

But it did give me reason to stop and put things back into perspective. I’m a hard worker, but that’s not what makes me so valuable. It’s the small group of family and friends that rely on and love me, and I them, that make this life worthwhile.

Heather Harris is reporter for the Norton Mirror, Mansfield News and Easton Journal. A three-sport high school athlete and two-sport college athlete, sports have long been a passion of hers. The mother of two can be seen hanging-ten through the streets of Mansfield where she currently resides. Heather Harris can be reached at hharris@wickedlocal.com