Flu diary: Great Pandemic 2009, part 1
Colorado Springs — The words of positivity emerge from my mouth on Friday, November 13, 2009, and I am not even bragging, just verbalizing that I am not too worried about the Swine Flu: "I think our immune systems are strong enough. It looks like the flu won't be a problem."
Then we visit church the next day.
Early Sunday morning, Dirklan feels sick.
He looks washed out, complaining of a sore throat. Without exaggeration, I leap into action. I have been preparing for this since April 2009, and even though our whole family has already suffered the affliction of novel h1n1 Swine Flu this past July, I know it is more than strongly possible it could be back, and probably angrier this time around.
The thing not advertised in the media, is that flu viruses are constantly mutating, performing intricate antigenic tweaks, like a master safe cracker listening, turning the dial click after click, tirelessly, exhaustively looking for a way into the master vault. The flu is always hungry for human treasure. And as in 1918-1919, people are now catching the flu two or three times. Or more.
The same flu — the virus a true master of disguise — it may wear a false nose this time, a blond wig the next time, and show itself all suave like James Bond in a fancy tuxedo just a month later. It takes our immune system a while to figure out that this is the same criminal, in disguise. That little stuttering time lapse in recognition may be all the pause in the security system that the virus requires.
In a few months, the flu can tweak and disguise this way and that, thousands of times. Influenza viruses, all developing and evolving independently from each other, like terrorist cells with the most basic plans, can mutate weaker or stronger, in different places. So California might be getting hit harder as a mild tweak rages, while Mexico struggles with a wimpy version, and Indiana deals with a relatively mild outbreak, and yet a month later all these conditions can change drastically.
Meanwhile the media broadcasts in droning zombie chants, hypnotizing, that there has been no mutation, and that once you have contracted the Swine Flu, you are proofed against it.
Almost as ridiculously, it is reported by experts high and low that if you receive the government-vaunted vaccine, you cannot and will not catch the virus. People now believe that the h1n1 flu vaccine is a cure for the Swine Flu. But the thing about boasting is, as my unintentionally boastful words proved this past Friday, that pride really does go before a fall.
You have to learn to keep your big mouth shut. At least I do. Truth is truth and spouting positivity can do quite a bit more harm than good. Truth is not always positive. Truth does not always provide good vibes. Truth is not always nice. Stick with the truth, that is always the best life plan, even if that truth makes you feel uncomfortable.
I gave Dirky the nose flush, and just to be safe, all the family lined up and got their noses cleaned out as well. A solution of one teaspoon of sea salt and just a little bit of baking soda, maybe an eighth of a teaspoon (if such a measurement is possible) mixed into a full measuring cup with warm, purified water, will fill the NeilMed Nasal Irrigation bottle two times, and with a family of five doing the flush, two big measuring cups of this solution is required.
Dirky, at seven years of age, can handle the flush fine, though he had some trouble with it at first. Now he handles the bottle himself. The bottle is help up tight against one nostril, squeezed, and a stream of warm, salty water flushes up into one side of the nose, and comes rushing out in a torrent from the other nostril.
This little tool has been a miracle for me over the last year. Surviving pneumonia at one year of age, I've had problems with lung-associated viruses my entire life. Asthma does not aid the works, either. Generally, influenza has not been a problem for me, not compared to the common cold rhino virus, and in 47 years I've only had the flu a few times, and never very seriously.
Rhino viruses, however — the common cold — oh that has been my bane. When you have a sizable nose that might startle Cyrano, the common cold is a nasty customer to deal with on a regular basis, and I've probably averaged four colds a year, since birth. But the NeilMed nasal bottle has proved a wonder. It works, flushing and flooding the nasal passages and the far back of the throat with healing salt water. Dirky gargles with salt water while I fire up the Vicks hot-steam vaporizers throughout the house. I give him his vitamins and ensure he swallows a Ginger capsule as well as an Oregano oil capsule. Soon he is tucked back into bed sucking on an Elderberry lozenge (followed by a Vitamin C/Zinc sucker).
By Monday afternoon, November 16, while at work, I feel it creeping inside of me. That overall-blasted feeling, the whole body at once, and my throat simultaneously swelling and aching, in the course of an hour the Swine Flu sends me a singing telegram, loud, and in a most obnoxious voice: it is here. Oh, tah-rah-rah boom de-ay.
By the time I reach home at about 4:30 p.m., I feel like I am going to die.
And Wolfy, my five-year-old who is turning six this Saturday, he has it, the flu. Very unusually, he is conked out in bed, pretty much comatose. I start scrambling as I had with Dirklan the day before.
I prop Wolfy up in bed, give him a dose of Sambucus, an Elderberry syrup that has proven effective against the Swine Flu.
Snap at Carolena for not giving Wolfgang his Ginger, Oregano, Elderberry, or anything. Check.
(I know, I know, what a nasty thing to do, but I was feeling pretty sick at this point, and Swine Flu Anxiety is real; but okay, there is still no excuse for snapping at a worried mother.)
We team up and pull Wolfy's socks off and slath his feet with slimy Vicks Vaporub. I know this sounds crazy, but through much experience, I know that it does work. Something very real happens in the immune system, something positive, although what this is, exactly, is difficult to explain. Or even imagine.
Then we slap two pairs of socks back onto his feet and covered him with an extra blanket and draped sleeping bag.
Then I strike out hard, with the full arsenal, right at the other target: me.
With the flu fight. I have come to understand that nothing fixes the flu, or cures it, or nips it in the bud. All the over-the-counter stuff just dampens the symptoms. And it has almost become a cliché, people who get the flu shot also get the flu. They generally console themselves that the flu would have been much worse this year, if they had not received their annual shot.
You have to fight the h1n1 Swine Flu, as you have to fight any and all influenza infestations. You cannot just lie back and allow it to run its course. Sadly, those who do just give in to the virus, they tend to end up as statistics, or in the hospital (where a full team of experts can pick up the fight and battle for them).
I have absolutely never even come close to getting a flu shot. I suffer infection from the flu far less often than those who regularly receive the flu shot. Honest doctors admit that the flu shot is worthless because the influenza virus is such a moving target, that by the time a flu vaccine is produced, the wily flu has already slipped into its next Halloween costume.
I am, however, a firm believer that natural herbs and remedies work. There has to be a fight in you, a fight for you, a fight from you, and with natural herbs as your weapons of war, you do have a fighting chance.
Gargle with salt water, flush nose with two NeilMed loads of salt water. A dose of Sambucus. Suck on an Elderberry/Zinc lozenge. Fire up the vaporizer. Get out of my clothes and collapse in bed. That is my initial attack on this lurking, growling influenza.
And it is only 5:15 p.m. on Monday, November 16, 200. And I am sick, again, with the Swine Flu. Very mild fever, just over 99 degrees Fahrenheit, and complete blah. A great ache in the bones.
Definitely no work tomorrow, and as a contractor with no health benefits, that ain't a pretty picture.