Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Swine Flu or Not- Any Flu Stinks!

I just had a bout with one of the worst cases of flu I’ve ever had. Two and a half days of non-stop misery, including all the trappings of a typical flu. My head felt like it was about to come off of my shoulders and no matter what position I was in, I could not get the rhythmic thumping to stop throbbing inside my skull. The most moving I did was from the bedroom to the bathroom to the couch and back. I was too weak to even make myself if I had an appetite! Was it the dreaded H1N1? Who knows? Two weeks ago our school was shut down and all the students were sent home because of a couple confirmed cases of H1N1. The officials did the typical thing of taking every student’s temperature before they could enter the building. We all lined up to do our duty, sometimes a little too playfully for “such a serious matter,” but I think everyone felt that it was slightly overkill on the part of the powers that be. I experienced shades of this in 2003 when 25,000 students around me were quarantined because of the fear of SARS. Unfortunately for me, that meant I had to go back to the US before I had expected to, which for me was more devastating than having SARS. So this time, I decided to just relax about it, do what I was told and stay home for the 2 weeks. Who’d of thought I would end up feeling like I was hit by a bus! In China when people get sick, they get some standard advise from everyone around them. “Drink more water! Eat some medicine! Get more rest!” If that doesn’t work within a couple of days, people don’t go to private doctors or clinics, but head directly to the hospital. Private places are much too expensive and the hospitals are relatively inexpensive. Just the opposite of the way it is in the States. The standard operating procedure when you walk in the door of the hospital is to register with the department that deals with your specific problem, choose the doctor you want to see-usually based on how much money you want to spend for care, and then have an IV stuck in your arm to hydrate you. You also, will be given “special” medicine to make you feel better. I have no idea what that medicine is, but people expect that if they go to the hospital, these two things will definitely happen. Can you imagine going to the hospital in the US and saying to the doctor, “Ok, where’s my IV and my medicine? Come on. Hurry up, I’m sick you know!” My friend knew I was really sick ( an possibly delirious) when I decided that if I wasn’t better by the 3rd day, I was going to the hospital to get an IV and some medicine! Never in a million years would I have believed that I would say that, but maybe this H1N1 is as bad as they say. As of today, I am definitely on the mend. No, I didn’t need to go to the hospital to be hydrated or eat some of that mysterious Chinese medicine that everyone demands, but I am certainly glad that’s over and I can get back to feeling human again.