Saturday, November 07, 2009

You aren't paranoid if they're really out to get you.

I had intended to get the H1N1 flu vaccination as soon as I was able. Not being part of one of the priority groups, I had anticipated that I'd have to wait two weeks or so after the initial rollout, when they'd start vaccinating the general public.

Except that the deployment of the vaccine in New Brunswick, as in most locations across Canada, has been a ridiculous hot mess. People not part of the priority groups, like parents of kids taken for vaccination, and just members of the general public who ignored the priority group designation and lined up, got vaccinated. Then, last week, we got the news that we were going to get far less of the vaccine than had been anticipated because Glaxo-Smith Kline, the sole manufacturer of the vaccine for Canada, had some kind of production issues. That led to dozens of clinics for priority group members being closed outright in Fredericton, Saint John, and Moncton.

Ordinarily this wouldn't be such a concern - most people are recovering from relatively mild cases of H1N1 and if I got sick, I got sick. But we're planning on traveling before Christmas, and suddenly the prospect of getting H1N1 just before a trip we've put a significant amount of money down on is genuinely alarming.

I'm now getting downright paranoid about getting infected... obsessively using hand sanitizers that are everywhere in public spaces, and carrying a bottle in my purse for frequent touch-ups. There's one under the elevator button on the ground floor at work, and I suddenly thought, "Eww! How many people touch that button every day?" (Sanitize, sanitize.) I had to visit our IT professional last week and found myself horrified that she was coughing. "I'm sorry," she said, "this started out as just a headcold." What the hell did that mean? What was it turning into? I found myself sitting back as far as I could in the chair across from her desk. I also sidled away from my boss at a lunchtime meeting in our boardroom because he was sitting with a box of tissues in front of him - until I realized he was using them as napkins to clean his fingers while eating a sandwich.

Every person I encounter now is perceived as a potential carrier, a ticking time-bomb of potential FLU GERMS. I'm becoming an H1N1 hypochondriac.

Well, if being a temporary loony hypochondriac keeps me healthy until we take our trip, maybe that's a good thing. H1N1 is real, and it's here. But I don't really like assessing every person who sits next to me for symptoms.

I'll be glad when this is over. It will be over - right?



Blogger Sherwood Harrington said...

You are not alone.

6:16 a.m.  
Blogger Mike said...

I'd leave a comment, but something's been running through the family here, and I wouldn't want to ... whoops ... don't read this!

7:49 a.m.  
Blogger Stem Cell Blog said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:25 p.m.  
Blogger Carl said...

Man, I hate blog spammers.

I'm not quite paranoid, but I'm using way more hand sanitizer than I did this time last year. We won't see vaccine for my risk group until December here in NY, it looks like.

1:37 p.m.  
Blogger Nostalgic for the Pleistocene said...

We've been all over town trying to find any flu vaccine, h1n1 or seasonal.

Our doctor told me that personal care physicians weren't even allowed any allotment. Dunno if that's totally accurate but he's pretty disgusted, and if any got to physicians it obviously wasn't much. He said that it mostly got bought up by big retailers like Walgreen, CVS, and undoubtedly WalMart. The places in which we'd seen signs offering them have all canceled because the supply ran out. Do not want flu.

2:14 p.m.  
Blogger Brian Fies said...

"I'll be glad when this is over. It will be over - right?"

Oh, it'll be over . . . one way or another.

2:38 p.m.  
Blogger Xtreme English said...

You forgot to mention the rich bustards from places like Goldman-Sachs who also are GETTING THEIR H1N1 shots, never mind their priority, before anybody else. What a holy mess. I've not lined up because every time I've gotten a flu shot, I've gotten the flu! and i figure that big, fancy, hard-to-come-by shot i got prior to having my CI implanted is still working. don't know if its working against H1N1, but I've got plenty of gin and lemons on hand just in case.

8:05 p.m.  
Blogger ronnie said...

Sherwood - Smrt kitteh!!!

Mike - back slowly away from my blog.

Carl - I hate comment spam too. I think it's particularly offensive when it's charlatans offering snake oil cures for someone blogging about illness or disability. At long last, sir, have they no shame? It was very satisfying to zap Mr. Stem Cell into oblivion.

To be continued.

8:09 p.m.  
Blogger ronnie said...

NFTP - Wow, private companies were allowed to buy it up? That's just as scary, in a different way, than what's happened here.

Brian - Always astute. :)

XE - There have been a couple of scandals here - hockey teams and hospital board members & donors getting the vaccine in private clinics. That kind of thing isn't supposed to happen with socialized medicine. And yet.

Husband shares your experience of flu shot = flu and isn't looking to get it. Just as well as it turns out.

Gargle with the gin several times a day. Then drink the rest of the glass. You'll be fine.

8:13 p.m.  
Blogger Xtreme English said...

here's something to keep you amused if you DO get the flu.

i can't hear it very well, but maybe that's because i've started my flu prevention regimen already......

btw, your verification word this eve is you pronounce that "P*ss on it"??

8:37 p.m.  
Blogger Sherwood Harrington said...

As we deal with a so-far mild pandemic, it strikes me that I may have the most direct connection to the cataclysmic 1918-1919 Spanish flu epidemic of anyone in the readership of hearing/loss. My dad's oldest sister, Margaret, was killed by it when he was only three years old -- so I have an aunt who was a victim.

Does anyone else here have so close a connection to that pandemic? My guess is that if anyone does it will be Ronnie with a capital R.

11:54 p.m.  
Blogger Brian Fies said...

I don't have any family lore about the 1918 Spanish flu, but I got the 1968 Hong Kong flu pretty bad. Had to spend a night in the hospital to get my fever down from 105. I remember a cold bath and a lot of delirious giggling....

2:21 p.m.  
Blogger ronnie said...

Oh, wait! I remember a cold bath and a lot of delirious giggling!

Oh, wait. That didn't have anything to do with the flu.

I'll get me coat.

8:14 p.m.  
Blogger Xtreme English said...

Brian, i lived in ND when I got that 1968 Hong Kong flu. i gotta laugh when i think about all the hand sanitizers and MASKS around here. we lived in the country at the time, and there was nobody around. but i got it all the same.

9:26 p.m.  
Blogger Nostalgic for the Pleistocene said...

That 1918 flu did alter my family radically. One set of my great-grandparents had 8 healthy kids (my lucky grandpa was no. 7!) who all made it to their 20's, and 7 of them made it to middle or old age. But only 3 grandchildren were born to that whole crew, and the 1918-19 flu took 2 of them, along with their mother. So my mom was the only granchild who carried on.

4:47 p.m.  
Blogger Mike said...

Another Hong Kong flu victim here, but, being older than Brian, I spent a couple of nights in the college infirmary, after a classmate came to my room and found me babbling incoherently. Which, given that I was a college sophomore and it was 1968, was a pretty astute diagnosis.

8:30 a.m.  

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