Plague Strikes AHM

The Plague DoctorWe don’t know how or where it happened; Karen might have brought it home following a shopping trip, I might have picked it up while working a gig, but we caught it—the H1N1 virus or swine flu. Karen was positively diagnosed a few weeks ago and during her visit our doc said, “If Alexandra has the same symptoms she’s probably got this flu too.” I did, and these include tiredness and shortness of breath as well as all the usual flu-related nastiness.

Angelina and Paddy were passed over by the bug. Angelina avoids most people, muttering “They just make me sick,” while Paddy claims to have a super immune system and is resistant to everything. Whatever; we got sick, they didn’t.

14th Century Plague Doctor

I hate being sick and I’m a terrible patient but I still catch the flu about once a year. H1N1 is the Anti-flu masks worn by school childrenworst, most lingering flu I’ve ever had. My energy was sucked from me as if a psychic vampire had made a permanent perch on my shoulder and there’s not much you can do once you’re infected—take care of yourself like you would while suffering from any other form of the flu and ride it out. Fortunately I was spared advice from my crackpot acquaintances who likely would’ve told us to avoid all sunlight and get some leeches. We relied on antibiotics and the usual assortment of over-the-counter flu meds—they worked and we’re on the mend.

Torontonians Lining up for Meds

Karen and I relied on each other throughout our battle with the H1N1 virus. I don’t have a mind medi elephant logofor medical matters and I often forget to take ‘scripted meds or to renew important scripts before they run out but fortunately Karen’s memory is much better than mine and she made sure I followed our doctor’s recommendations. Not everyone has that sort of built-in support system but help can be found online. The people at Warranty Elephant have introduced Medi Elephant, a neat little web site which reminds its registered members when to renew their prescriptions. The service is free and at this time of year it’s certainly useful and timely. And don’t worry, medielephant won’t mother you up and nag you to take your meds or eat right, they just remind you of when your drugs are about to run out so you don’t have to in the middle of the night.

We began paying attention to H1N1-related broadcasting and quickly realized that the only way to avoid the media plague was to get off the grid. Over the last couple of weeks the Toronto media has ratcheted its H1N1 coverage up to the max, and now its become a staple for outlets such as Newstalk 1010, a Toronto talk radio station that took a beating in the ratings over the summer. Their constant, repetitious coverage plays straight to the paranoid, and those who blame liberal politicians for everything. Happy listeners equal better ratings. Bored listeners flick on the tube and get more of the same, but with pictures.

Flu Clinic Lineup Toronto Metro Hall

Karen and I will be flu free long before the whole story has been told. The media has given us the nuts and bolts, now the journos are free to delve into the  political and bureaucratic cock-ups, compounded by false promises and outright lies, and local scandals such as professional hockey and basketball players getting their shots while the rest of us spend hours standing in line at flu clinics. Stay tuned, and don’t forget to wash your hands.

Sources: CBC, NewsTalk 1010, Top Shots, Wall Street Journal

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