Stories about the swine flu are everywhere, of course, what with half the world suddenly dropping dead all around us, and the other half developing a bizarre and inexplicable unquenchable zombie-like hunger for baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaacon!
I don't really watch the news any more, but I do listen to NPR on my way into work, and Morning Edition spent a good chunk of today's broadcast covering the developing pandemic; on their homepage there are eight different stories about it, covering everything from school shutdowns, Kathleen Sebelius and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and an uptick in crime in relation to the outbreak.
So in case you've been living under a rock, I reiterate: we're fucking fucked.
As a hypochondriac, this is possibly my worst nightmare. Do you know what the symptoms of swine flu are? According to a handy webpage from the CDC cheerfully entitled "Swine Influenza and You," like they're trying to sell you on the benefits of a new deep freezer or something:
What are the signs and symptoms of swine flu in people?
The symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with swine flu. In the past, severe illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) and deaths have been reported with swine flu infection in people. Like seasonal flu, swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.
Let me repeat that for emphasis: "The symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu." So, basically, that plague I had for the past week or so? The coughing, congestion, upset stomach, tiredness, and general malaise? SWINE FLU. I could be dead in a week. I hope my life insurance is paid up.
That's what makes the combination of hypochondria and internet access so dangerous. I made joking references last week to possibly having emphysema and West Nile virus and Legionnaire's disease and asbestosis and an aortic aneurysm, knowing full well that I didn't actually have these things. What I had, I thought, was a bad cold.
Until I found out that I actually have the fucking swine flu. I don't know how I got it -- I haven't been to Mexico lately, I haven't been around anyone who's been to Mexico lately, and I don't even think I've been around many Mexicans. Well, my husband, but unless he's been doing something he isn't supposed to have been doing, he didn't give it to me. Maybe it's been dormant since we visited Tulum? Back in 2006?
In any case: I just want you all to know how much I love you. Please make sure that Shae is well-provided for; the insurance money should more than cover her tuition at Berkeley in 16 more years if it is invested well. My favorite flowers are peace roses, purple irises, and Gerbera daisies (especially pinks, peaches, and yellows). Bury me in red, and play lots of loud and inappropriate music at my funeral.
Until then, if you need me, I'll be over here in my hole, whimpering and eating BLT's.