28 September 2009

Swine Flu: Into the Viral Unknown

You'd have to be living under a rock in 2009 to not be aware of the latest plague to hit the earth. Earlier this year, everyone was freaking out about H1N1. It was new, it was scary, and youngish people were dying for no reason.

And of course, the Mommy-Tracked folks decided to move right to the heart of Texas, into the plague.

Summer was pretty calm. School was out. We were hermits, really, just unpacking in the triple-digit heat. We rarely left the house.

School started. Three weeks later, kids are dropping like flies from the flu. Mine included.

There is something so utterly frightening, something that works beyond your rational, scientifically trained mind, when you are facing an unknown. When my eldest came down with the flu (which we are pretty sure was H1N1, because the peds tell us that is the main virus ciruclating here), I was terrified.

Oh, sure, I tried not to show it. But I was pushing liquids and taking temps and checking the CDC website and the National Institutes of Health website and any other website that might, just might, have insight.

When her fever didn't break after day four, I was flipping out. Thank goodness for husbands with rational, cooler heads. He called the ped, we got a specific list of what to watch for that would result in an ER visit. Then, thankfully, her fever broke on day five.

Then our son got it. It ran the same course as hers did. It was a little less scary, just because we knew what to expect.

Then I got it. Again, not as scary. Knew what would happen to me. I was blissed out on Nyquil for days. I slept about 18 hours one day. I slept 15 the next.

So, I'm here to say: The swine flu isn't all that scary if you are healthy and have no risk factors. It's nothing to mess around with, and you should stay away from others, just to limit the spread. But, in my humble experience, I've had stomach viruses that laid me lower.

That said, I'm bleaching everything in sight and hoping my husband and my youngest avoid it.

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