Friday, July 31, 2009

And in flew Enza...

I had every intention of being a good blogger this week, and blogging away every day. Even just a little bit.

And then, at 5.13 monday night, I got a sore throat.

"Darn. Here comes a head cold." I said.

Oh, such optimism.

By tuesday morning, I no longer had a sore throat. Instead, it felt like someone had scoured the inside of my neck with steel wool. I also had a headache, which I put down to lack of caffeine and tried to 'cure' with three double shot coffees over the course of the morning.

Not surprisingly, this didn't work. (Though I got through my tuesday afternoon lecture in record time!)

Tuesday night: Couldn't get warm. Wore ugly brown flannel PJ's, thick dressing gown, wrapped self in blankets. Put on the felt bootliners from my Antarctic Boots. Was still cold.

"I think I'm getting sick." I told Imogen.

"Duh." She replied.

Wednesday morning: 8.30am tutorial. "I'm not feeling too flash, so I'll keep away from you all." My class didn't seem to mind. Finished class early. Called the uni health service. Made an appointment.

"Do you have the flu?" the receptionist asked.

"I don't think so." I replied.

Now, let me explain. I had my flu-shot this year, damn it. It made me feel appalling for about a week afterwards, but I had it anyway so that I wouldn't get the flu. I was set. Guarenteed a flu-free winter. It was a lock.

Hadn't factored in Mexican Pig Disease, though.

"What are your symptoms?" The nice lady at the medical centre asked.

"Uhm, aching all over. Headache. Really sore throat..."

"I'll tell you what." She replied in a voice so tolerant that I immediately felt like a complete nong. "When you come into the clinic, you'll find a box of face masks and some handwash on a desk. Just wash your hands and put on a mask before you come up to see me, okay?"

"Oh my god! I've got swine flu, haven't I? I'm going to DIE!"

"Just put the mask on, buddy."

She hung up on me.

For fifteen minutes I sat there, head pounding, in my darkened office. My life didn't flash before my eyes so much as ooze down the back of my throat. Then I went down for my appointment. Put on the mask, as directed. Washed the hands, as directed. And then went back outside and sat in the corridor outside the medical centre, as directed. On the bench with me were two other people. Both also with masks on. None of us looked too happy.

"Oh hell, this is it. I'm going to die like a character from a Michael Crighton novel." I thought. For a moment I thought of grabbing my two fellow victims. We could make a run for it. But then one of them launched into a series of lung-inverting, hacking coughs, and so I just moved to the other end of the bench, instead.

After a short wait, an unmarked door in the corridor opened, and Darth Vader came out.

"Anthony Eaton?"

Hang on a moment! That's not the rich, dulcet tones of James Earl Jones. That's just some skinny doctor wearing more respiratory protection gear than your average scuba diver. I followed him in, through the unmarked door and into (I kid you not) the medical centre storage room. I took a seat beside a pile of crutches. Next to a stack of cardboard boxes marked 'Antiseptic hand wash.'

"What seems to be the problem?" Asked Darth.

"I'm going to die, aren't I?"

"Well, philosophically speaking, we're all going to die. It's the existential dilemma, isn't it?"

Actually, Darth didn't really say that. I wish he had, though.

Instead, he looked in my ears. And listened to my chest. And looked down my throat.

"You've definately picked up influenza."

"But I had my flu shot."

"Yeah. So did a lot of people. This swine flu really threw a spanner in the works..."

I sat. Waiting for him to press the button which would call in the men in white coveralls and full face helmets to whisk me off in an unmarked white Ford transit van to an unknown location, somwhere in the mountains outside Canberra.

"Go home. Take some sudafed. Oh, and as you've got a baby in your house, we'll put you on Tamiflu, too. Also take some cough mixture for the cough."

"I don't have a cough."

"You will."

I went home. Sadly disappointed at the lack of unnamed health department operatives shadowing my every move. Didn't they get it? I was now an agent of the plague.

Yesterday, I spent the day in bed. It wasn't nearly as much fun as it should have been.

This morning, I've developed a bit of a cough. Darth was right. He must have been using the force.

I'm feeling a bit better now, though. Mike S was right when he tweeted me that 'Tamiflu will be your friend.' it is. This morning, I almost felt like a coffee. Almost.

So anyway, that's my non-blogging excuse.

Now, I'm going back to bed. It's almost 10.00am, after all...

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