Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Women Who Run With Swine

Forget running with wolves – I have run with the swine, and I'm here to tell you about it.

Boomerang Boy came home from work a week ago, looking and feeling dreadful. He took himself off to bed and stayed there.

I drove him to his doctor's appointment the following afternoon because he was too dizzy and sick to drive himself. After that I took him to have a 'deep nasal swab' (which is where they get this giant cotton-bud and poke it right up your nose and into your throat - eeeeeew!) to test for the dreaded swine flu. Then we drove to the chemist for Tamiflu, and back home again. It was pretty much the last I saw of Boomerang Boy, who, after the horrors of the deep nasal swab, took to his bed with great eagerness and did not emerge from his cave for days. Off his food, and coughing up both lungs, day and night, he sounded scarily unwell.

I did something I thought I had outgrown – I turned back into 'Mum', calling through the door to remind him to drink lots of fluids. I tempted him with soups and crumpets, orange juice and gallons of water, and became the Queen of Glen20 & Hand-washing. I fretted and listened at the door to check that he was still breathing. I called him through the day to see how he was feeling.

I also assumed that as he was so unwell, he had a regular influenza – swine flu being, by all accounts, a mild bug for most generally healthy people (apart from those poor Mexicans back at the beginning of this pandemic biz).

Imagine my surprise when BB phoned me at work yesterday to say that he'd had a call from the ACT Dept of Health and Communicable Diseases to say that he had turned into a statistic – one of 11 new cases in the ACT, and just one of the 266 confirmed ACT cases so far.

From the beginning I had been determined not to catch it, whatever it was that he had. I used the Betty Mind Control Strategy, ha ha - (“Betty Says NO to Germs!”) It worked when the kids were tiny babies – I didn't get sick for almost two years, out of sheer terror that I would be unable to look after them – so I know that mind over matter can work. Against swiney, the combination of Betty Mind Control, BB's self-imposed home-quarantine, judicious Glen20 assaults and OCD-style handwashing worked a treat. I have washed and sanitised my hands so often that they have shrunk two sizes...

I felt pretty smug, I don't mind telling you. No swiney for Betty! This morning, though, I woke up feeling a bit ordinary and with a sore throat. Uh-oh... So - I did as every responsible worker should do – made a doctor's appointment and chucked a sickie.

The doctor's appointment was hilarious. When I arrived, I was given a mask and hidden away in an isolation room. When BB (who had been parking the car) came in, he was treated similarly. We sat in the isolation room cracking silly jokes. When the doctor was ready to see me, the receptionist came to the door of the isolation room and gave me directions to find the right consultation room.

BB & I ventured out into the packed waiting room.

“This way, this way!” hissed the nurse, beckoning frantically from stage left. BB and I followed as she skirted the waiting room and took us through a warren of corridors, keeping her distance. I heard the words 'swine flu' muttered more than once as we made our way to see the doctor.

I was fine. A coincidental cold. All that worry for nothing. Betty Mind Control rocks! But now I know how a leper feels!

By the way - BB the piglet is no longer infectious. I am. I have a bit of a cold. Be afraid!

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