Stop whining about the damn flu!

OK, let’s get a grip. Swine flu is the least of your worries. This is a media circus of ridiculous proportion. Swine flu (caused by a variation of type A influenza) has infected 40 people in the US so far. That’s hardly anything to go out and buy a facemask over. Only two people have needed hospitalization and none have died. So, calm down, breath deeply, and take the quarantine sign off the front door.

This is the kind of crap that makes me furious. People are completely freaked out about this and there’s no reason to be. Yes, this is a new strain of swine influenza. Yes, it appears to be passed from human to human. Yes, there will probably be many more people infected. Some elderly or immune-compromised people may die. But are you aware that regular influenza infects 50 million people every year and kills 35,000! If you want to worry about something, worry about why you chose not to immunize your children from influenza last fall when you had the chance. There’s a way better chance your kid will contract the plain old garden version of influenza than the more exotic south-of-the border version everyone’s so panicked over.

It would be nice if the media had something better to do than terrorize the nation over a treatable virus that could maybe, perhaps, it’s within the realm of possibility, mutate into some kind of out-of-control, drug resistant pandemic. Swine flu (which is extremely susceptible to our anti-viral drugs) does not pose a serious health risk to most Americans. So can we please talk about something really dangerous like a nuclear-armed Iran or why the hell fiancée Megan Mcallister is standing by her Craigslist Killer man Phillip Markoff? I mean that’s something worth talking about.

Cough Suppressing

Eli’s home sick today and I’m feeling pretty cruddy myself. I just got over a two-month bout of pneumonia and am more than a little bummed that I feel it reasserting itself. I have my post antibiotic doc appt. at 1:00 and since I’m still feeling bad, I figure I should go. So I pack sick little Eli into the car and drive across town to the doc’s office.

Eli, who’s been feeling tired but not horrible, immediately begins to melt down the moment we step into the office. I sign in and shuttle him over to a quiet bank of chairs. He dramatically drapes himself across three chairs and places his head on my lap. Then he proceeds to cough rhythmically to the beat of the muzak that’s playing overhead.

I start reading some magazine about losing three dress sizes in two weeks and quickly lose consciousness of the coughing. Suddenly this elderly woman from behind the desk marches over to Eli and gets right down to his face and puts two pieces of tissue into his little hand and says, “Why don’t you use this to cover your mouth the next time you have to cough.” She then turns on her heel and marches back to the safety zone of her desk which is behind one of those waste high check-in counters.

“Excuse me?” I say barely audibly. She doesn’t turn around. “Oh, I’m sorry. I thought this was a DOCTOR’S OFFICE. You know, where sick people come. To get better. Maybe I’m mistaken.” I am now working myself into a state of pure ire. I mean, he’s four years old. Forgive me that he doesn’t always cover his mouth when he coughs. Personally, I’m just happy that he says “excuse me” when he “boom booms.”

Am I wrong here? Is this lady out of line? Being the wimp that I am, and because of my rigid upbringing to respect my elders, I do not confront the offending woman. But I’m seriously irritated. I mean, we’re sitting in a doctor’s waiting room and my son is sick. That hardly seems like such a bizarre occurrence that it would warrant a rude talking to by the office staff.

But you’ve all disagreed with me before. Please, tell me who is right.