Swine Sick

25 Apr

I’m paranoid. Or I can be. My thoughts can be driving the straight line of a prairie highway and then BANG, there’s a hairpin turn, a cloverleaf exit and suddenly we’re on some secondary road that’s never been paved where everyone stares as you go by.

I contain these thoughts, usually with a random “oh for FUCK’S sake, will you give it UP!” or just a shrug and a whisper to myself of “stop it” as I carry on through the day, la la la.

Somethings make this difficult. The threat of a flu pandemic is one of those things.

My paranoia’s, or delusions, or whatever they are, tend to focus on relatively inane things-a resurgence of the cold war and the usage of nuclear weapons, needing to survive without modern comforts, food shortages. Pandemics. Things that don’t usually happen. It’s easy to put them in context when I rationally know that they won’t likely happen.

However, I also read too much.

There are parallels that my paranoid brain links together, parallels that make me hold my breath while someone in my house coughs, or has stomach upset. Hey, I know that it’s unlikely we’d see infection rates akin to half the world’s population again, not if current vaccines can keep it in check. I know that most influenza isn’t necessarily deadly.

But. But but but rattles down the brain stem, and makes me nervous, and wary, the paranoids jumping up and down with the thought that GASP! they might be right after all!

I do, as often I have done, jump to the worst case scenario first. Worrying in a world where you can be on the other side of it in 12 hours that it’s just too damn easy to spread ill will and disease.

I worry when the young and healthy are the ones cast down. It’s all been done before.

And I just worry.


What’s your take? Do you get totally freaked out at this kind of thing like I do, or do you just go on about your day?


16 Responses to “Swine Sick”

  1. Mad April 25, 2009 at 10:34 pm #

    I keep my ear/eye on the news and then I go about my day. If it’s gonna get us, it’s gonna get us and no amount of worrying will stop it from doing so.

    I also believe that even though humans travel faster across borders now, so too does information and ergo the chance for containment through public health policies.

  2. missy April 25, 2009 at 11:14 pm #

    I’m totally the same way. But I’ve heard that the H1N1 strains of flu, a la 1918-1919 and this current one, do not hit those with a weak immune system, but the ones with healthy immune systems. So the young and the elderly won’t have problems…it’s people like us.

    I figure we’ll wash our hands, take our vitamins, our elderberry and sunshine, and work out 30 minutes a day and that should prevent a lot of problems. But still…

  3. Kay April 26, 2009 at 12:14 am #

    I freak out, then kick myself in the ass and try to move on. Sometimes my paranoia lasts just a few minutes, sometimes it lingers.
    But, there’s only so much we can do to prepare for anything – so I try to limit my worrying to things I can actually control 🙂
    It doesn’t work.

  4. Joel Sax April 26, 2009 at 12:53 am #

    I went to the San Diego Zoo today. When I came home, I read that 7 of the reported cases come from that county. Suddenly I am aching all over . . . . Stop it! Stop it!

  5. elorajade April 26, 2009 at 8:02 am #

    I remember that the american media system is all about bad news and scaring the shit out of its people.

    The news/media has been going on and on and on about a pandemic that will be coming.

    Personally I think we’re more likely to blow ourselves up than die from the flu.

  6. Helen April 26, 2009 at 8:48 am #

    I’m a public health person. Here is my take on the current swine flu strain, for what it’s worth.

    In Mexico, over 1300 people got infected and 81 died. Potentially hundreds have been infected in the US, no one has been hospitalized, and thus far no one has died. Indeed, those who were clinically diagnosed with swine flu in the US were said to have “mild” symptoms.

    This viral strain, even if it is a variant of H1N1, is nowhere near as deadly as the H1N1 strain that killed millions in 1918. There is no comparison. Even in Mexico, where health care standards are lower than what they are in the US and Canada, the case fatality rate is 6%. Consider that every year in the US, 36,000 people die from flu – not even swine flu. So far this one strain has killed no one in the US.

    My feeling is that people are more scared, and the media has hyped this up more, because it is clearly zoonotic (transmissible from another animal to a human). They draw parallels to pandemic avian flu. But there is no need to be so scared, or in any case, to be MORE scared now of this flu than you are of any other type of flu.

  7. thordora April 26, 2009 at 10:23 am #

    I guess what gets me skeevy is the fact that it’s been mutating quickly, and it’s been nailing healthy people.

    At the end of the day, all I really can do is wash my hands more, but knowing how easy it would be for something to mutate to a point where it easily overrides the defences our bodies…

    The one thing that does set me at ease is that unlike the spanish flu pandemic, people take shit (relatively) seriously and it would be harder for it to spread in terms of isolating cases..so

    I’ll just take my meds. 😀

  8. Cheeky Monkey April 26, 2009 at 6:51 pm #

    oh, i get totally freaked out. in fact, although i have no applicable symptoms, i’m pretty sure that this nasty cold-like illness that’s knocked me on my butt for the last week is most definitely related to the pig. yup.

    i pretend, however, that i am unfazed (which i just spelled unphased–is idiocy one of the symptoms of it?). somehow, eventually, that makes it true.

  9. Bon April 26, 2009 at 7:04 pm #

    i think i don’t let it bother me but just under the skin, like you, i tally how long we could survive holed up in our house, and i half-enjoy the thrill of the scare. apparently, survivalist responses to disaster are my Hallowe’en.

    i woke up last night having thrown up in my mouth, and this morning i woke with a sore throat, feeling miserable. and part of me thought, “geez get a grip” while the other part freaked a little inside, afraid for my kids, realizing that if such a thing is really coming – and i don’t think this one is it, necessarily – then hell, there’s gonna be a lot of heartbreak.

  10. Hannah April 26, 2009 at 9:16 pm #

    I honestly can’t fret about it. Bob’s still in isolation in the hospital here because he got transferred from a US hospital, where MRSA is much more of a threat. In order to go into his room, we have to be gloved, masked and gowned. And before we walk out into the hospital, we have to throw everything out and scrub our hands with that hand sanitizer stuff.

    I’m more worried about that than the swine flu right now. I was a paranoid android about SARS, though.

  11. Marcy April 27, 2009 at 8:45 am #

    I haven’t gotten paranoid about the flu — but I get paranoid about biological and chemical warfare, or possible mass riots, and other such.

    Most often, my paranoia is localized to worrying about my friendships — and that’s usually just when I’m in a depressive episode.

  12. bromac April 27, 2009 at 11:49 am #

    I don’t get pparanoid but, being in my profession, I keep a close eye on my kids. I have already forced two to the clinic with high fevers and flu-like symptoms.

  13. Gabriel... April 28, 2009 at 2:47 am #

    JESUS FUCK CHRIST WE’RE ALL GONNA FUCKIN’ DIE!!!!!!!! Take only what you can carry, head towards the mountains, the infected won’t get us if we’re on higher ground. It’s important to realize that from this moment forward our children are a food source. So, as you’re running through the trees, try not to bruise them… GOGOGO.

  14. thordora April 28, 2009 at 5:27 am #

    oh shut up you… 😛

  15. angharad April 28, 2009 at 12:38 pm #

    i was just about to show my son your post (he has been fixating about swine flu since it was on the telly a couple of days ago, he has researched it on the net and is now a world expert on it. i have a bad throat and he feels sick so he is convinced we have it).

    then i thought he will almost certainly think he is bipolar if i show him your post on the basis that this must be why he is worrying about swine flu. so i won’t show it to him. he already has a diagnosis that is getting too long to print on a t-shirt without adding anything else!

  16. conversemomma May 1, 2009 at 6:56 pm #

    I am a dig a bunker, stock it with supplies, make sure I have a ready oxygen mask thoroughly freaking out type of gal.

    Generalized anxiety and swine flu are really tough to handle at the same time.

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