I don't think I've ever had a flu hit me that fast before.

Two weekends ago, I spent my Saturday at Denfeld High School helping out with their home speech meet. I started the day around 8 a.m. feeling absolutely fine - a bit tired, but I credited that to the hours of preparation the evening before.

I noticed I had a slight cough around noon, and worried I might be developing a cold.

By the end of the awards ceremony at 5 p.m., I was shaking, coughing and just feeling wrong. I thought, perhaps I just hadn't taken very good care of myself while working on the meet. Maybe it had been too long since I ate lunch? Then I went home and took my temperature: 100.9 degrees. Oh. So maybe I'm actually sick.

I went to bed and didn't leave it for long until Tuesday afternoon. Credit where credit is due - I was incredibly grateful for a friend who brought me a care package of soup and various liquids to keep myself hydrated. I didn't keep my shelves stocked for sudden illnesses.

My parents called daily to check in, which I appreciated. It's always nice to have a bit of the familiar when you're not feeling well. Listening to their stories about their dogs was a comfort.

I also made a deal with the previously mentioned friend to call her for a ride to the clinic if my fever surpassed 104 degrees. To be honest, I got pretty close to the limit - 103.9 was my highest point, but the fever reducer kicked in shortly and it went down.

It was a bit disappointing that I ended up spending my birthday feeling sick. The highlight of the day, Feb. 5, was venturing out of the house for the first time since Saturday. I retrieved my work laptop and bought myself a tea from a coffee shop as a special treat before retreating back indoors.

Overall, I'd say I learned my lesson. In the past, I'd always gotten a flu shot when my workplace held its annual event. But I was on vacation during this year's workplace clinic. I kept telling myself I'd go to the clinic or pharmacy to get one on my own time. Right up until that Saturday when I got sick.

Sure, it's possible that I caught a strain of the flu which wouldn't have been prevented by the shot anyway, but I'm not going to take any chances again.

One final note on the subject: I think I'll also adopt the health regimen of one of my fellow speech coaches, since she seems to be a medical marvel.

All day at that speech meet while I was slowly succumbing to my illness, I was working in very close proximity with that speech coach. At one point, while sitting at the same table, she accidentally drank from my water bottle. Yet she didn't get sick. We're not sure how she managed it, as she didn't get a flu shot this year either.

I've asked her to teach me her ways, but she just laughed. Some people just have all the immunity.