One Flu Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

It’s been a rough week in McGinleyville. Thing 1 missed two days of school before rallying Wednesday, which of course was the day Thing 2 started to spew snot. By yesterday, Wee Man was miserable and we were in the doctor’s office.

I gave the rundown of symptoms plus the sick sister background. Congestion, complaints of nausea, breathing treatments — fairly standard stuff for my boy who should’ve spent his early years in a plastic bubble. This is the kid who arrived early and kept us in the clinic drive-through for the first three years of his life.

Yes, I know we’ve got a flu epidemic rocking the country. But after my trip to the doc’s, I can’t help but wonder how accurate all those numbers are. Especially because even though no one in my family has any of the major flu symptoms, Wee Man was diagnosed with a possible case because “not everyone presents all the symptoms.”

OK, fair enough. But our patient has a history of allergies, asthma and pneumonia. The doc didn’t swab anything or draw anything, but he used the f-word based on the fact that there’s a nationwide epidemic and our man’s symptoms include snot, sneezing and difficulty breathing (which he can have after walking through a barn or when the temps drop).

Strikes me as a little crazy. Yes, I have killer aim with my rock arm off the balcony of my glass house.

I’m not a doctor, but I play one on the internet. I’ve also watched a lot of “House.” So like the team at Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital, my initial diagnosis was sarcoidosis. And like my TV dream team, my first diagnosis is always wrong. But then I found this handy list of symptoms, which further convinces me none of us has the flu.

We’re all praying this epidemic passes. I pulled in the big guns. Love this shot by Mike Licht.

I also know what goes into nationwide fear-mongering. I’ve been on that side of the news desk. I’ve covered scary stories about missing bubonic plague, home invasions involving hookers and sex toys, fake penises used to circumvent pesky drug tests (OK, probably more funny than scary. But I love to share that link.) and more.

So I know fear drives both media producers and consumers, and I have a very high resistance to the mind viruses we can pick up through what we read or see on the news.

If only our healthcare professionals were similarly immune.

I know each of us is doing the best with what we know at all points of the day. And that I’m not really a doctor. But I just wish we could all let go of a little bit of fear and focus more on what’s going right.

photo credit: <a href=””>Mike Licht,</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;