For the first time in more than seven years I missed a day of work because of illness.

I wasn’t one of the lucky ones who managed to dodge the flu this year.

The first sign that something was amiss reared its ugly head on Saturday when I began sneezing and felt a little lethargic. By that evening I was feverish, cold and achy.

On Sunday, I was near death. 

The flu works that way. 

It sneaks up on you like a ninja; disguising itself as a run-of-the-mill cold, and before you know it - BAM! Your head feels like a bowling ball and every part of your body hurts. 

I pride myself on never getting sick so I felt a little sheepish when I had to text my boss to tell her I wouldn’t be at work Monday.

Me: I’ve been hit with the flu and don’t think I will make it in tomorrow.

Boss: Did you get the flu shot?

Me: No.

There was a stoney silence.

I slunk back into bed and imagined she was shaking her head in disgust at my irresponsibility.

Getting a flu shot is like paying your electricity bill every month. It’s just something responsible grownups do.

But I hadn’t and now I was covered in blankets and floating in and out of consciousness. 

After a five-hour sleep, I shuffled into the kitchen in search of more Advil and NyQuil.

The Husband had a startled look on his face.

“Are you ok?” he whispered.

I whimpered. 

Then I passed a mirror and realized the source of his concern. 

I was wearing green and red Christmas pajama bottoms and a bright orange Barefoot T-shirt.

I’m pretty sure Matt Copeland would not have approved.

My hair was matted to my head in what can only be described as a feverish, oily mess. My eyes had dark circles underneath and my skin was yellow.

It just doesn’t get any worse.

I stayed in bed for the next couple of days then gingerly returned to work on Wednesday with freshly washed hair and an outfit that matched.

My coworkers are still chasing me around with a can of Lysol, and no one seems to want to be in the same room with me, despite the fact that I am on the mend. I don’t blame them.

And The Husband? 

Well, he is still walking around with that stricken look in his eyes.

Some things you just can’t un-see.

Sara Vanden Berge is the managing editor of the Empire-Tribune and Glen Rose Reporter. She can be reached at 965-3124 or svandenberge@empiretribune.com. Follow her on Twitter @ETEditor.