Tuesday, December 1, 2009

DCMM: Waiting for the Flu

My family hasn't gotten the swine flu yet. (Knockonwood! Knockonwood! Knockonwood!) We also haven't been able to find a swine an H1N1 flu vaccine—or seasonal flu vaccine, for that matter. Consequently, we're waiting, waiting, waiting. And I'm starting to see H1N1 around every corner.

The day before Thanksgiving, my son Jack went to school with no signs of being sick. An hour later I got a message on my cell phone from his school that included, "Jack threw up everywhere this morning..."

I saw that I had that message when I was picked up my phone to call my son Quinn's preschool to tell them I was turning the car around because he started retching in his seat on the way to school.

Oh, no, I thought. It's here. H1N1 has arrived. And just in time for Thanksgiving!

It turns out that it wasn't the swine flu, and I ended up spending my day with two very healthy, energetic kids who evidently had some stomach ailment of the 24-minute variety. But every time I get a cold (which has been often this season), or every time one of my kids feels a little warm, or whenever one of my kids throws up so much all over his classroom that the rest of the kids have to be evacuated to the hallway, I wonder...is this it? Is this the swine?

Part of me wishes we could just get the damn flu already and be done with it. But the other, smarter, more compassionate side of me knows that is a really bad idea.

First of all, there's the whole bodily fluids and ick factor that I don't want to be in charge of for a family of five. But there is also the more important, H1N1-can-be-really-dangerous factor. My sister is a healthy adult who was hospitalized for complications from H1N1. Her blood pressure plummeted and we were all really worried for a while. She's okay, but Message Received.

It's not frequent, but kids do get really sick and some die every year from the flu—all kinds. I don't want to take that risk with my kids. All of which is to say that while I'm not scouring the internet every day looking for flu shots, I do have my eyes open for any that might be available for my kids and me.

But until then we will continue to wash our hands, cover our coughs, and otherwise try to stay healthy. Furthermore, I will cringe every time one of them coughs, I will worry whenever one of them has a light fever, and I will buckle down and prepare for the worst when the phone rings and it is the school nurse.

Because I know it's waiting for us, but I don't know when it's going to jump out from behind that blind corner and get us.

Original DC Metro Moms Blog post.

Jean blogs about her kids, her life, and all the vomit that entails at her personal blog, Stimeyland. She also runs an autism-related events listing for Montgomery County at AutMont.

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