A bad pun on my part about the looming pandemic that seems to be on the consciousness of everyone these days. Initially dubbed the ‘swine flu’, the powers that be at the World Health Organisation (WHO) felt that renaming it to a more scientific sounding H1N1 (Influenza A) would help to knock people out of their false sense of security with regards to pandemics. It has worked for the most part and the consciousness of the flu and all its possible implications are there for all to see.
We often see these things from afar – we hear of friends of friends of friends who are affected – rarely do we see things from the eye of the storm. This time, I’m staring things right from within the eye of the storm. Or from the wrong end of a cotton swab whichever the case may be. To cut a long story short, life as a happy camper was quickly turned topsy turvy with the onset of H1N1 and all sorts of things that had to be done in school to mitigate its spread. That was all well and good and until yesterday, I was dealing with a couple of letters on a page that translated into people getting a virally sort of flu. Purely theoretical – the way I like it.
Then it happened. A colleague of mine was diagnosed with the virus and was immediately quarantined at home. No biggie but worrying nonetheless. Then I began feeling a little woozy at work and because of my contact with her over the last couple of days, I was told by school to go home. Feeling slightly socially responsible for once, I decided to present myself to the Communicable Disease Centre (CDC) for checks. And check they did – swabs in facial orifices are not pleasant at all.
Was sent home to wait for results and just as I was dozing off the fateful phonecall came. I was positive. I had become a statistic. Was told that the quarantine orders were on their way along with medicines and a package of medical goodies. So I’m officially stuck at home, not allowed to leave on pain of a hefty fine or jail term and am supposed to be at least 2m away from everyone else at home. Visions of me walking around with a bell round my neck so people can make way did appear at some point.
And so it happened, what seemed to only happen to ‘other people’ happened. The flu is relatively minor and all the doom mongerers who predicted that this would be the next deadly flu epidemic were quite off the mark. All the hype that surrounds this whole thing has made many people extremely concerned about the health of me and my parents but I think that’s all it is – hype. People tend to get quite carried away with the whole paranoia and fear that comes with something like this. It’s easy to follow the herd and get worked up over things – it’s much harder to sit down and think rationally about what’s actually happening and realise that things aren’t as bad as they seem.
So even though I’m just having a little case of sniffles, coughs and a fever, I get a pair of burly auxiliary police officers in bio-protection aprons come to the flat, serve me a quarantine order and make a hasty retreat. Almost pythonesque in its absurdity but I guess this is a case of being safe rather than sorry. One good thing that should come out of this – the brush will be revived in my efforts to stave off the impending boredom.