Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Apigalypse Now

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What kind of blogger would I be if I didn't take a whack at the Swine Flu discussion? Therefore, I am going to discuss the pigdemic from a chemo patient perspective. This is a cancer blog after all.
Let me begin by saying that I do not want to offend anyone, and no one should think for a moment that I'm not taking this seriously. I am. I am taking my own health very seriously. That said...

A few people have asked me if I'm particularly worried about swine flu being that I'm a chemo patient. The answer to this question: No. I am no more worried than any of you are or should be. This is true for a few reasons. The first of which is that my immune system is doing pretty well at the moment. All my counts are, according to the nurse, "...normal for anyone and excellent for a chemo patient." I don't have any food restrictions currently, they don't have me staying home from work due to susceptibility, and they're not limiting me on anything. At the moment, I'm about as likely to catch the pigdemic as any of you are!

My mother, in particular, was worried because she read that there were two cases in Kansas. To all of you who had the same thought, let me put your mind at ease on a couple of points:

1) Those two cases could really be classified as one case. It was a husband and wife who had recently returned from Mexico. The incubation period for the pigdemic is 2-7 days so they won't be sure that it was confined to the couple for a few more days, but it's looking like they caught it early, isolated the couple, and prevented the spread.

2) Kansas really is a big's a whole state afterall. The couple was not in the Kansas City area, they live off more toward central to western Kansas. I live in the upper northeast corner of the state...I'm a couple of miles from Missouri.

My point here? It's going to be fine. No, this is not to be taken lightly. Yes, I am more susceptible to illness than your everyday person, but I have great doctors that are only a phone call away. I'm supposed to monitor my body temperature anyway since that's one of the first indicators that something (anything) is wrong. I have been doing this.

In general, there has been a great deal of misinformation handed out about this pigdemic. To begin with...we're not allowed to mention pigs or swines in reference to this anymore. According to the CDC, we're now supposed to call it H1N1. Apparently pig farmers were getting angry about all the bad press. And let me take this opportunity to inform all who were curious...NO YOU CANNOT CATCH H1N1 FROM EATING PIG PRODUCTS. It's an influenza virus. You catch it like you catch any flu. The best advice I've heard...stay away from sick people, wash your hands a lot, and don't touch your eyes, nose, or mouth if at all possible until you have washed your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.

Now, you are all educated and smart individuals, so this all probably goes without saying, but just in case, let me also talk a bit about the virus itself. The reasons why everyone is scared and throwing around words like "pandemic" are two-fold. 1) All flu virus are prone to mutation, but this is the only one that seems to be able to be passed between pigs, birds, and humans. Previously, human to human transference was scarce, but it seems this mutated strain is easily passed human to human. That scares people. 2) There is no vaccine! But guys...good news. They believe a vaccine will be ready as early as June of this year. just one short month, you can all go out and get your pigdemic vaccine.

Yeah...vaccine...about that....

I remember learning in college about the last swine flu scare of 1976 (though I incorrectly remembered it as a Jimmy Carter was President Ford). The President sent everyone out to get vaccinated against swine flu and the vaccine wasn't ready. It was rushed. If there were any deaths at all from the flu, they were few and far between...all the related deaths actually came from the vaccine in the 70s. Don't believe me? Google it.

That said, I don't think we'd make that particular same mistake twice, but I myself think I may wait past the first wave of vaccines. ; )

In summation, yes, this COULD be a scary thing that is not to be overlooked or taken lightly, but the fear mongering media also appears to be hungry for something to fill their 24-hour news cycle. Apparently pork satisfied that hunger. In a turn of irony, they also spent the weeks prior to the pigdemic discussion talking about "pork" in government spending. I'm noticing a theme. When did the piggies get such a bad rap?

Personally, I have some ham in the fridge and I haven't eaten dinner. I also have some bacon-wrapped scallops in the freezer. Theme of my own...

Thanks for humoring my brief rant and goodnight to you all! Sleep well and cover your mouth when you cough! Stay healthy out there!


  1. Very funny and excellent logic as usual.

  2. I am sitting here laughing my arse off. Great analogy and I can actually see you saying this conversation. Thank you for sharing your infinite wisdom on this subject.
    Stephanie (mom-in-law)

  3. Okay, as your travel agent, but more important a friend to your hubby, parents, sister-in-law and soon YOU (when we finally get to meet this summer), I gotta say....BRILLIANT!! I've been dealing with this little piggy all week and am ready for commen sense to kick in. You've managed to fill that bill. Soooooo, I've had you in my thoughts, whether you know it or not, and totally enjoy reading your mind. Rock On!