Posted by: jeanne | May 22, 2009

swine flu projections

i have to admit that i’ve been hooked to the swine flu epidemic. i watch it like others watch the stock market crawl. i troll for news, most of it talked about on the bulletin boards days before they appear in main stream media. i read the bulletin boards, five or six chat rooms dedicated to the flu.

i’m having a ball.

as far as i’m concerned, we already had it. it was back right before the news broke, right before easter. the baby downstairs came home from childcare with SNOT. he and his mom waltzed thru to say hi when they got home.

next day, the mom’s got a sore throat. her face looks drawn.

next day after that, i’ve got a headache.

then i have a sore throat.

my husband’s nose has started dripping.

neither of us sleep well. my throat is horribly sore, down deep, and i can feel it extending deeper down  my neck.

in the morning i get up with an upset stomach, stagger into the bathroom, and have diarrhea. then i come back to bed and lay there feeling nasty for awhile. and then i stagger back to the bathroom and throw up.

then i have coffee.

and then the sore throat goes away. while i’m lying there having coffee and talking.

and then i get better. that day. a 24 hour bug.

my husband has SNOT for about 2 weeks, and finally this past 2 weeks we’ve all been healthy and back to our normal energy levels.

the mom and baby downstairs had nasty lingering colds for a couple of weeks, and are fine now and have been for about 2 weeks.

my kid is another story.

she got it from us, and her baby got it as well, and he was miserably sick for an evening, fever, cranky. SNOT. the baby daddy had it worse, and then got better, and then got worse again. my kid has had a cough and sinus drainage and has been coughing up green sputum for a month now, and now thinks she might have bronchitis. we’re debating when to go to the doctor. she doesn’t have insurance.

and in the last three days, she’s complained of a sore throat, and now queasiness. and she’s not looking healthy. but i question her closely, and she’s not having trouble breathing.

but it’s a thin line, walking pneumonia and death. jim henson, just keep turning up for work no matter how lousy you feel until you’re worn down and succumb. so i’m watching carefully.

and now i’ve got a sore throat, and i’ve been feeling kind of punk lately.

for me, this is a second getting sick thing in a month. for her, she’s not been well since she first came down with whatever it is, a month ago.

and of course i didn’t even think to confuse this with swine flu. except that i kept reading about people who had had a very mild something at the same time that turned out to be not so mild, and ended up with a relapse, or second round, soon after getting better.

so it was going around, and it was mild, and it was after flu season was over. that’s one thing.

the thing that has me thinking so hard is that WE ALL GOT IT. FAST. and we don’t get sick.  that’s the entire family getting the flu when one person brings it home, and that’s a very high infection rate, and that sounds like the novel swine flu: something that nobody’s got any immunity to.

and the age demographics are typical of swine flu, too. jim only got sinus drainage, no sore throat, nothing. he’s 71. i got no fever, vomiting and diarrhea, and a walloping sore throat. i’m 53. my grandson was miserable and ran a fever but was otherwise asymptomatic except for he was very unhappy. he’s 18 months. my kid is 20, and she’s still sick, and has been the sickest of us, with temperature, sore throat, nausea if not vomiting, aches and pains.

so i figure we’ve had the first flush of the swine flu. so i’m taking the flu whisperers seriously when they say to stock 2 weeks worth of food and make sure to have all the flu remedies you need. and i’m watching the exponential growth of a new disease that everybody’s going to get.

and that’s the point of posting this here in my irish travel blog. because the projection i saw, which was a simple exponential curve based on official numbers (which are horribly underreported) has the disease affecting absolutely everyone starting around the time my sister comes over to go to the beach with me, and the time i go to ireland for my residency.

data from a thread on flu trackers.

isn’t that a nice scenario?

if everybody got it at once, which is what happens when a pandemic reaches its peak, then nobody shows up to work. planes don’t fly. stores don’t open, hospitals are full. borders are closed, no matter how late.

i need trip insurance.

i read somewhere on one of the forums that the expected peak of the first wave is 90 days after the outbreak begins. that means…july 15. and the peak of the next wave is 90 days after that. that’s october 15.

maybe i’ll wake up dead in my studio at the edge of the world.

i’ve wondered for awhile if something wouldn’t come along to spoil it.

you may not know it, but i’ve had cancer. and my husband is old and suffering from some mysterious fainting illness they can’t diagnose. so my recurrent nightmare is that i get settled in on residency, and my sister calls to tell me that my man has died, not in my arms but in some cold hospital, thousands of miles away from me.

and of course it’s more likely that i’ll die than he, from whatever cause. but it alleviates my anxiety if i can push it off on someone else.

so, with all this uncertainty, and fluctuating airline prices, i’m still waiting to see what happens. there won’t be an end of the world, but it may be that nothing i’ve planned for this year will go as i planned it.

and wouldn’t that be a shame? me of all the people who had to have disappointed hopes. me and my little troubles while everyone around me is dying of the swine flu.

but wait. it’s the middle of may. it’s early days yet, and nobody around me has even gotten the swine flu – officially – and we know they’ve stopped testing.

sure are a lot of people getting sick around me but no way it’s swine flu.

so they all protest.

i can hear an evil laugh. does it come from the doggy in my lap? no, it’s me, chuckling gleefully at the thought of a planet where all of humanity lies around gasping like a colony of roaches in that ad.


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