So this is it, we're going to die.

As promised, He Who Knows Everything brought me my new camera. I love it. It is, quite possibly, the best thing ever. It will take me, at a conservative estimate, from now until the Armageddon to learn how to use it properly but that’s okay because the good news is that the Armageddon is already upon us.

Happily, Ireland has only the one case of Swine Flu so far. The news reports helpfully specify that the recipient lives in the east of the country and has just returned from Mexico so we shouldn’t all panic just yet.
According to the Chief Medical officer, Dr Tony Holohan, the Government has enough antiviral drugs put by for half of the population. This sounds like a lot until you consider that there are only 4 million people in Ireland and 1 million of those live in Dublin. Maybe Bono will step in and buy doses for those of who don’t live in the cities. For years we’ve let him pretend he is Dutch for tax reasons. He owes us.

The World Health Organisation is promoting helpful advice to help prevent the spread of the disease, such as washing your hands and throwing a tissue away as soon as you have used it. Personally I would suggest sneezing into the inside of your elbow (so germs don’t sit on your hands) and getting an alcohol gel to clean your hands with before eating or drinking whilst out (find them in the soap dispensing aisle), but then I am a lot better looking and much more clever than the WHO boffins.

While I am certain that this is not the start of something which will end with me being drowned by my own mucus filled lungs, part of me feels slightly concerned that I may be wrong. This is for two reasons.
The first is that I had a bad dose of flu a couple of years ago and still remember how awful it was. I was unable to sleep. I had constant pain in my legs, a fever and a spell of delirium in which I was mentally trapped in a game of Advance Wars DS at which the computer kept cheating so I couldn’t win. Since then, I haven’t been able to play it with any enjoyment.
I also couldn’t eat. Even once I had recovered it took a week before I could eat anything. It wasn’t down to nausea, I just could not eat. If I had a mouthful of food, it took the hugest effort of will to swallow it. Bizarrely, I didn’t feel weak from lack of sustenance and I didn’t loose much weight either.
Maybe I am stating the obvious, but flu is the one illness I really don’t want to get. It is unpleasant. The universe knows this and, I am concerned, may feel inclined to send some my way just so that it can watch my reaction. It is already visiting hay fever upon me in the guise of sore throat, runny nose, headache and thick lungs. If I had been to Mexico, I’d probably be worried by now.

The second reason is because of literature. Some years ago I read a quite good book called The Last Town On Earth by Thomas Mullen. It is about a town in Washington state which quarantines itself during the 1918 pandemic. Every description of the Spanish flu in that book seems to be coming back to me now. If you are very ill and on the verge of Swine Flu related death, I thoroughly recommend it as something to read while confined to your bed.

To be honest, I’m having a little trouble being worried about this. Mind you, that is me all over. Severed limbs or economic disaster I remain unfazed by; a single woodlouse on the kitchen floor and I will be behind the sofa hyperventilating in the panic that there may be more somewhere.
Mammy seems worried and found the announcement that we were at level 5 pandemic alert (or whatever they call it) rather scary. I, whose school career was marred by criteria marking, remain slightly more blasé about it. At least I understand the numbers and what they mean. Announcements that the terrorist threat level has been raised to dark magenta give me no knowledge at all.

Anyway. As with all things there is a bright side. Everybody who still has a job will catch swine flu from their colleagues and die.
The unemployment crisis: Solved.


sarah said...

swine flu is one of those things that i blame the media for! i mean, we would all be happy as loons if we didnt know about it at all

thanks a lot, cnn

Theo said...

You need to read the Daily Mail my girl.

The Daily Mail UK ran a campaign against the HPV vacine because it was dangerous (for reasons of dubious scienctific basis). At the same time, the Irish Daily Mail (same owner, same supplements, different main paper) was running one trying to get the Irish government to give girls the HPV vacine because it would save lives.

Glad we've got that one cleared up then.