Thursday, Oct. 29, 2009
Dear Diary:

If you scroll down my Firefox history menu, it is currently a mass of H1N1 googles.

On Saturday we went out to the bigger town to stock up on staples so we won't have to snowmobile them up to the house this winter. The grocery stores were thronged with people, many of them with tiny self-propelled snot-faced weapons of mass destruction sniffling kids in tow.

Do I have to spell out what happened next?

Monday I felt a little ... off. Tuesday I was full blown sick. Runny nose, sneezing, congestion, tired.

So of course, deep inside I'm utterly convinced that I have the dreaded Swine Flu and I'm going to die any second. For the sake of the kitties and the spousal unit, on the outside I feign nonchalance. I have spent far, far more time than is healthy googling about the Death Flu on the sly, though.

We're in a bit of a tizzy up here in Canada over the H1N1 flu because two perfectly healthy children recently died suddenly from it—sick for a day or two and then BOOM, gone.

Last night was the pits. I'm not a big fan of unnecessary medication and I tend to soldier through flus and colds unless I'm spiking a big fever. Well, I guess you can call it soldiering, as long as you ignore the soft piteous whimpering.

The congestion kept me up until 4 a.m. last night. To try to take my mind off things, I read, and when I got tired of that I turned on the teevee. Teevee at that hour is an alarming mix of shopping shows, craptastic movies and 24 hour news channels.

The latter are, of course, focussing on the H1N1 OMG We're All Going Die Flu.

Such a comfort.

I woke up this morning much improved. The voice is a scary croak, as if I have a two pack a day habit, and I'm still some congested but I feel as if the corner has been turned.

I'm Going To Live! Sweet, sweet life.

The Spousal Unit has been very sweet in a yes-I-care-about-you-but-don't-come-near-me-pestilent-person way. He's taken over the household chores. He has been very solicitous.

However, if there was a way for him to casually smear my entire person with hand sanitizer every, oh, half hour or so, I'm guessing he would do it.

I would do it to him in a heartbeat if our positions were switched.

I know there's lots of controversy about the H1N1 vaccine and vaccinations in general. There are polls out in Canada that say that a big hunk of the population won't bother to get their swine flu shot.

I have a hard time understanding this.

I am older than dirt and have seen what life without vaccinations can be. I went to school with two kids who wore leg braces because of polio. I had a great-aunt who was badly scarred and almost died during a smallpox outbreak in Ottawa in the 1910's.

I know that for most folks H1N1 is going to be a few bad days followed by a speedy recovery. Only a small percentage of people infected with flu die from flu.

Here's what makes me twitchy. They're predicting that one in three Canadians will get H1N1. A small percentage of 1/3 of all Canadians gets to be a significant number. It's a preventable number.

Then, of course, there's the two very young people on the right in the very old picture below:

Way too young to die.

They are the spousal unit's paternal grandparents. They died in the Spanish Influenza pandemic of 1918, the last big flu pandemic, leaving my late father-in-law orphaned at 4. His sister was only 2. Both children were so young that neither could remember their parents.

It's one thing to use the words "a small percentage of healthy young people will die in this year's flu pandemic". It's kind of abstract, kind of clinical.

It's another thing to look at a picture of two young healthy people who died in the last pandemic, to know how their deaths echoed through their families. Such a terrible loss. So much heartbreak.

I'm not saying that anyone should panic. That accomplishes nothing. What I am saying is that if you're eligible for a H1N1 flu shot, then I hope you'll get it. Remove yourself from the pool of carriers. Protect yourself and the people you love.

Please.

I'm not eligible for my H1N1 flu shot until the beginning of November. Hours of obsessive googling have confirmed that I'm in the lowest risk group. There are many folks here in Canada who need it more than I do and go first—health care workers, children, young parents, the elderly.

But when our turn comes, the spousal unit and I will be out the door to the clinic in a heartbeat.

I hope you go, too.

--Marn

Mileage on the Marnometer: 143 miles.

Going Nowhere Collaboration

Goal for 2009: 500 miles


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