Evolution of a flu freakout (volume 1)

Summer 2009- Ignore as much flu paranoia as possible all summer long. Lalalalala months of fun with no family members getting any kind of sickness lalalala.

Late August- Start to think vaguely about inevitable sickness once your oldest starts preschool, aka. The Petri Dish of Doom. Start washing hands often enough that they are permanently flaky.

Early September- Begin casual trolling of internet for information about H1N1 and seasonal flu. Get totally freaked out. Also? Confused. (Of all possible reasons not to get the H1N1 shot, one in particular makes the least sense to me: It's been rushed to production! THEN WHERE THE HELL IS IT??? Also? If it wasn't rushed, WE'D BE MORE PISSED.)

Mid-September- Resolve to stop reading internet for information about H1N1 and seasonal flu.

Later-September- Repeat steps 3 and 4 indefinitely.

Early October-Give preschooler seasonal flu shot after some deliberation. Try not to think too much about it after that. Resolve to get her the H1N1 vaccine when it becomes available. Buy more hand sanitizer.

Early October- Gaze often at baby who is too young for flu shots and imagine her getting horribly sick. Try not to cry. Resolve to get any and all flu shots available for the rest of us to help protect her.

Early October- Find yourself unable to get any flu shots because everyone seems to be out of the seasonal one and NO ONE has the H1N1 yet.

Mid October- Freak out just a little upon reading blog posts about flu-like illnesses hitting families. Demonstrate amazing self-control by not Google searching for stories of H1N1 fatalities.

Last Wednesday- Find yourself achy and tired and OH YES feverish and try to ignore it for the better part of the day before it dawns on you that this might not just be your body's response to a very cold "pony playdate"

Yay for ponies! Boo for flu!

it might actually be that flu thing you've been alternately freaking and not-freaking out about. Find yourself not surprised but scared and a little pissed off when your temperature reads 101.6. Finally understand that you are truly sick when you realize that you have absolutely no interest in chocolate.

Wed., Thurs., Fri.- Suffer with continuous fever, body aches, headache, exhaustion, loss of appetite. Wash hands so often you think they'll fall off. Cough into your elbow or one designated shoulder and then freak out whenever you're holding the baby because you can't stop worrying if she's touching any lingering cough particles. Is she resting her cheek on the safe shoulder OR WAS IT THE OTHER ONE????

Weekend- Study preschooler and baby for signs of impending doom and seriously consider encasing entire family in a bubble and staying inside for the next six months.

(Wake me when it's Spring.)


Sarah said...

Oh no! I have been alternately between steps 3 and 4 since LAST SPRING. I will be getting the flu shot this week and the H1N1 whenever it is available here. Hope you are feeling better soon.

desperate housewife said...

Oh I hope you feel better soon! And that those girls stay healthy and well!
(I too am in the club of "hands washed so often to protect children that they are cracked and painful.")

Jos said...

oh, that sucks & I hope you're feeling better soon. the only upside I can think of is that if you have the flu now (swine? I've heard it's "too early" for the regular seasonal flu...?) then your baby should be getting great antibody protection via your breastmilk. go, nursing mama! & maybe your family will have *just enough* exposure to let their bodies develop resistance. keep us posted on how you're doing.

Kathi McCracken Dente said...

UGH. I know the worry sucks. I am glad you are feeling better. Our pediatrician just got H1N1 in stock. I think it is becoming available. I know Kaiser has it as well. Hang in there. This will sadly be a "Purell" winter.

Marie Green said...

I am having a hard time figuring out whether or not the media is hyping this shit up or not. I mean, lots of people die of the regular flu too but most of us are mildly concerned and not in PANIC mode for the season.

And yet, the idea of a handful of healthy people dying from this h1n1 is scary...

(In our area, lots and LOTS of people have already had h1n1 and it's been no big deal. Like the flu, but more intense for fewer days.)

belinda said...

May I offer some unsolicited advice from a healthcare person who works both in a hospital and on an ambulance, and hasn't had a flu shot in >10 years? (Heh, like you have a choice, unless you delete the comment...)

(1) DON'T GET SO FREAKED OUT. From what I know, you are a very healthy person and I have no doubt your kids are too. Yes, children and bebes especially are more at risk for flu (especially little ones too young for the shot) but E IS getting antibodies through your milk (and if you are in fact recovering from the flu then that will be an extra bonus for her) and since you have referred to yourself as a "germaphobe" I am sure that her surroundings are clean.

(2)The best defenses against the flu are:

- good nutrition
- plenty of rest
- a CLEAN environment (note that this does not mean a STERILE environment)
- and the flu shot, which equates to antibodies, which Z is getting from the shot and E is getting from you

(3) Be clean but don't be a fanatic. Don't touch face when out, EVER. Have a towel to throw over your shoulder for E while you are sick (it is actually good for her to get some exposure to your germs- more antibodies!). Open windows to your house to let fresh air in when you can.

(4) Stop listening to the media. Where is the H1N1 vac? Who the hell knows? I am in the "super dooper high risk" category, right up there with the 85 year olds with 19 medical problems on long-term hospital care- and I work for the government. Yet we were told just this Friday that the H1N1 shots aren't here yet (btw now is a fine time to get the seasonal one- the "immunity," such as it is, will last just fine- really it is just reduced susceptibility).

The media hypes everything up. Regardless, swine flu is what it is- and it really is just a kind of flu. It feels just like all the other versions of flu, and you won't know its swine flu until well after you have it, if your doc even tests for it.

So, Z or E or both MAY get sick. They may not. Even if you knew, would it change anything that you do for them?

Sweetheart, they are healthy kids, but healthy kids get sick. We did, and we recovered. take your usual good care of them, and if they get sick, do what you do for sick kids. The new flu strains are nothing extraordinary.

Flu kills people- including children- every year. We just don't hear about it because it isn't sexy, shiny news.
Most important: hands away from face (even after handwashing when out- the second you touch anything it starts again), except at home, after a looooonnngggg handwashing. If it makes you feel better tie a bandana around your face while you're sick, or even an N95 mask from Home Depot.

Like I said before- I haven't had a flu shot in over ten years, at least, and I have had the flu once (which was zapped by anti-virals in 2 days). I attribute it to a historically strong immune system and mindfulness about handwashing and NOT putting my hands close to my face- and that is all.

So deep breaths. Lots of fruits and veggies. Extra sleep and fluids.

You will all be fine.

Swistle said...

Every time I stop thinking about it, the school sends home a new official notice about it. However, I can tell the school is very very tired of dealing with the calls about it, because each notice also reminds us that the only thing that makes H1N1 scary is the predicted SPREAD of it---not that H1N1 is any more dangerous than regular flu, and in fact it's reportedly milder and LESS dangerous. It's just scary because the news LOVES scary, and because it IS expected to get about 30% of us sick, which is a much larger percentage than usual. But that's still just SICK: fever, aches and pains, coughing and sneezing---just run-of-the-mill sickness, like a lot of us get every year. Not some kind of Weird Scary Sick like the news keeps wetting their pants about.

Hillary said...

Feel better and try not to worry too much.

I'm part of the evil media hyping H1N1, and I can confirm that it is, to some extent, hype. When CNN and Fox News put swine flu on the rotation, I"m forced to write a story, whether there is one or not. I did have some legit stories this week though, when the H1N1 shots came out in our area. You should be able to get the swine flu vaccine soon either through your pediatrician or the health department. Try calling the health department first.

Michelle said...

Oh - hope you feel better soon. It's so hard to know what to believe and there seems to be so much misinformation out there. Hope everyone stays healthy.

Good Enough Mom said...

I am going to print Belinda's comment and post it on my fridge, so that hubby and I can CHILL OUT about the flu (cause as of now, we're right there with you in our flu paranoia)! He'd be embarrassed to know I told you this, but my husband brought a face mask with him for a flight he took yesterday...just in case anyone on the flight coughed.

It's so scary when babies get sick. I always freaked out when either baby had a fever...I would have a several-day-long fever-induced panic attack. It's really lucky that you're nursing, that will really help protect the little one, even if she gets it.

Oy. I feel for you. We were slammed with illness when my second was 8-mos-old...literally, I think we had 10 weeks of straight illnesses. We felt like we were running a hospital! ("who coughed? was that in room 1 or room 2?") But, so far, no fall/winter has been that hard...maybe you just gotta get it over with...


EllenAC6 said...

i hope you didn't watch 60 minutes tonight, b/c I was doing fine with my head in the sand, and now I am scared crazy

clueless but hopeful mama said...

EllenAC6: Hahaha! Yeah, we watched 60 Minutes last night and immediately regretted it.

aaaaaannnnddd.... now both girls are sick. OY. It's going to be a long week.

Amie said...

"Petri Dish of Doom" LOL and sadly, so true. I worked at a school and it was seriously germy. And all kinds of weird childhood illnesses too because of parents who don't vaccinate. And where is that H1N1 vaccine?

Hope you all are feeling a little better.

Marianne said...

Thanks for reminding me to call our pediatrician (again) to see if they have gotten more flu vaccine. They ran out over a week ago and haven't gotten any more.

Existential Waitress said...

This post describes how I feel exactly. I have been a paranoid mess over this H1N1 business. And it frustrates me when I think that it's just all hype, which it probably is. Motherhood can be so stressful when it comes to stuff like this.

I hope you all feel better soon.

artemisia said...

Oh, no! Feel better soon! I hope the flu-anxiety passes, too.

Melanie said...

Praying for a quick recovery for all of you! Stinks big time to have momma sick when the babies get it. Is CG heading for the hills?

Grateful Twin Mom said...

Oh,I am so sorry about all of you being sick. Hurry spring....

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