It was while listening to NPR last Tuesday with my son soundly buckled into the backseat that I first heard about The Swine Flu. Three Southern California children had been diagnosed with this virus previously unseen in humans the report claimed. My son immediately got upset. “I don’t want to get the swine flu!” he cried.
“Then don’t play with pigs,” I replied lightly. It wasn’t that I wanted to mock the plight of the three ill children but I didn’t want to alarm my son. Besides while it was true that the cases had been found in a town not too far from mine all the infected children were reportedly on their way to a full recovery and I certainly wasn’t going to freak myself out over three isolated cases.
By Thursday the cases had crept up to seven. Six were in Southern California and one of them was the boy that my son does martial arts with. That’s when the alarm bells went off in my head. But of course no one was dying. The boy’s mother told me he was almost completely better. Besides, my son hadn’t seen him for a week at that point and he still wasn’t showing any signs of illness so I figured it would all be okay…although it did bother me when that day the martial arts instructor canceled class because his son had suddenly come down with something. Still, no one was dying.
And that’s when the news broke about what was going on in Mexico. I was never all that worried about the Avian flu. Yes, I know Avian flu is dangerous but I also know that the odds of us getting it have always been pretty low. It’s true that 700 people died worldwide from SARS but there are almost 7 BILLION people in the world. That means that unless you were in an affected area you had a better chance of winning the lottery than dying of SARS.
But now I live in an affected area. I’m still not overly concerned. Again, in America this doesn’t appear to be fatal and even in Mexico they’re saying that many of the people who died could have been saved if they had gone to the hospital earlier. Still, this possible pandemic is much closer to home than previous ones and tonight when my son started complaining of stomach upset and a headache I started hovering a little more than normal. Once again it’s way too early to panic since he was with my mother for the morning and afternoon. After I told her he was feeling ill she admitted to a list of junk food items that she allowed him to consume throughout the day (for the record when I was a kid she NEVER let me have junk food. I didn’t even get to taste Skippy peanut butter until I was in Jr. High).
Anyway, my point is I’m watching the news and my son very closely these days. If nothing else this has taught me to be more vigilant about not leaving the house without my antibacterial wipes.
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