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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

He is Not a Pig. He Just Sounds Like One.

The H1N1 media induced panic epidemic has got everyone going a little crazy.

Young One called about half way through his day yesterday. "You have to come get me." And then, click, the phone went dead.

Now, he isn't one to be in the dean's office for bad behavior. I turned the talk radio channel on the car stereo and couldn't find news of a lock down or school shooting. The ride to school took forever. Of course that's the day I get behind a construction trailer going about 10 miles an hour in a 45 zone.

I get to school and find he's in the nurse's office. He'd been snorting, sneezing, and blowing his nose all weekend. We're allergy people and ragweed is running rampant here in Minnesota. We're used to it. He's not feeling well, he tells me, and the nurse informs me that he has a 102 temp. Hmmm. Maybe it is more than allergies.

Then, she proceeds to tell me that without a signed lab report stating that he's negative for H1N1, he can't come back to school.

"Here's the deal," I said, "If he is positive, it's too late anyway because he's infected the entire school just by sneezing in here." And judging by the overflowing nurse's office, he probably isn't the only one.

This is parenting 101. Your day is hopping by just as pleasant as can be and wham, a curve ball. It's no wonder that people without children have trouble with interruptions in their days. They just don't get hit with as many bumps in the road as we do. Let's just say that after twelve years of daily curve balls, I've learned to just roll with it.

We head out to the car and I call his pediatrician's office. "We can see him right now." Well, that's rare.

He has to wear a mask in the waiting room. Secretly I know this makes for a good show, but I also know the real reason is to protect the really vulnerable kids, those with chronic illnesses that could be in danger from ANY flu, not just the current headliner. He doesn't want to wear a mask. It makes an already stuffed up nose even more impossible to breath through. I explain to him that not all kids are as generally healthy as he is, how lucky he is, etc. That the mask is a souvenir. "You can use it as a hat later or maybe one of the dogs will wear it."

Long story short, after talking with the doc, explaining the history of his "illness" and her examination, it turns out it's a sinus infection surely brought about by allergic rhinitis (aka a runny nose). I roll my eyes as I explain, though, that even though the symptoms of the flu are symptoms that almost every kid on the planet experiences at one time or another and that because our school district is panicking, that I am required to return with a negative test and a doctor's signature.

The test for H1N1 isn't very accurate and even if it was, we can't utilize it. Our state health department (and probably every other state health department) has decreed that unless your a. dead or b. in the hospital, you can't get the test. They're swamped. Thankfully, we don't meet the criteria for testing.

His doctor's office could do the standard nasal swab for Influenza A, of which H1N1 is a strain, so we proceeded with that. Negative. Let's check Strep. Negative. Signed, stamped, sealed and delivered. We have a relatively healthy boy who's got green boogers, is snorting pleasantly, and is carrying a pack of antibiotics.

I think we need to step back and breath (preferably clean air). Put this whole H1N1 thing into perspective. The CDC has said, if you or your kids have had a respiratory illness recently, it's probably hit your home. And so, you've been exposed, hence "vaccinated". It's a flu. We get a strain of it every year.

We've become a society that media preys on. If it bleeds, it leads has become the motto and fair and accurate news has gone by the wayside. I rarely watch or listen to the news. If I do, it's the BBC on PBS or public radio. I'm so tired of sensational media, "studies say" without qualifying the study, and just basically "drink the Kool Aid" media. The news generates considerable advertising revenue. I wish that they couldn't. Perhaps we'd get real news then.

Be well, stay informed, and take your vitamins! :)

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