Fun With Swine Flu

by wjw on June 6, 2009

Where has Walter been this week? I hear you ask.

I’ve been in the mountains above Taos with a bunch of friends, eating well, hanging out, and trying to get the hot tub to work. (Stuck valve now fixed.)

All was well until yesterday, when one of our number came down with flu-like symptoms and confined himself to his room. This morning, one more friend began to feel badly, and it had to be admitted that I didn’t feel all that great myself. (Dry cough, lethargy.)

Despite the letharegy, it was time to take action!

Fortunately we had an MD among our number, as well as a public health official. A relatively junior public health official, but one who could sound on the phone like a big, important public health official, possibly one with a medical degree herself.

Thus we were able to inform the state health authorities that our victim had been seen by a doctor, that he was exhibiting flu-like symptoms, and that he needed a test to see if he was suffering from influenza. So Patient Zero was carried down the mountain to Taos, where he had his test in the emergency room of the local hospital.

The test showed that he had Type A influenza, among which we may include the current species of Swine Flu. Since 99% of the cases of flu in this country are now of the swinish variety, it was wise to assume that we had all been exposed.

So we all had to troop down to the local Taos pharmacy for prescriptions for TamiFlu, which we are now diligently taking. I’m not feeling better yet, but I have confidence that I will improve.

At lease I won’t need a flu shot, when they finally produce one.

Dave Bishop June 6, 2009 at 10:57 am

Fingers crossed that everything turns out alraight for you and your friends, Walter!

You might like to let us know if you get any side-effects from the Tamiflu.

Dave Bishop June 6, 2009 at 11:04 am

"alraight"? That sounds like I'm writing with a Lancashire accent!

I may have lived in Lancashire (OK, Greater Manchester – but it used to be Lancashire)for the last 37 years, but I thought that I'd retained, at least some, of my Fenland accent. Perhaps I've finally crossed some sort of threshold and now I'm even starting to write with a local accent …

Rebecca S. June 6, 2009 at 2:54 pm

Argh. I am looking forward to the post in which you inform us that you and your friends are all better.

dubjay June 6, 2009 at 3:46 pm

Spent part of the night trying to throw up, a side effect of the drug. Now I know to take it with food.

Other than that, I have nothing but praise for TamiFlu. I feel much, much better.

Maybe I'll climb a mountain.

Lance Larka June 6, 2009 at 5:45 pm

Out of curiosity how long did the test at the hospital take?

One of my clients markets a test service that takes less than 4 hours and I'm curious how they stack up against tests at hospitals.

Kelly June 6, 2009 at 5:54 pm

Stay safe, all of you.

Ralf the Dog June 6, 2009 at 6:13 pm

1. First and foremost, I am glad you are feeling better.

2. Secondly I am sorry you are sick.

3. I am reading Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash. If you suddenly have a hard time talking or decide to join a cult let us know (Stay away from the kool-aid).

4. I am quite glad it was not Duck Flu. I would need to have a talk with you about your choice of activities.

dubjay June 7, 2009 at 4:54 am

I wasn't there for the test, but I think it took only a few minutes.

It didn't produce a complete typology, but it said Type A, and there's only one Type A bug going around right now.

Apparently TamiFlu has mood altering side effects, so I can expect to be depressed in a few days. Not that this wouldn't happen anyway, of course.

Lance Larka June 7, 2009 at 5:08 pm

Ahhh..ok. Thanks

Yeah, that's a different type of test. My guys will tell you exactly what bug you've got. A few months ago I was sniffly and missed an appointment to do some work for them and while apologizing they said they would test me to see if I had a viral or bacterial infection (to decide if I should go to the doc for antibiotics or not). One nasal swab and 4 hours later I found out I had the human-meta-nova virus. It was pretty cool.

Hope that you're feeling better.

Ralf the Dog June 7, 2009 at 7:07 pm

"Apparently TamiFlu has mood altering side effects, so I can expect to be depressed in a few days. Not that this wouldn't happen anyway, of course."

Your choices are:

1. Take advantage of it and write something Russian.

2. Read something by Douglas Adams. That always cheers me up.

3. Have fun pretending to be depressed while making everyone around you miserable.

Quick question, Does Tamaflu have any effect on the Wildcard/Joker ratio?

PS. No matter how depressed you are just remember, some poor sap is sitting in a theater watching Land of the Lost. Last night I was that sap.

Dave Bishop June 9, 2009 at 10:50 am

For some interesting thoughts and comments on swine 'flu, Tamiflu etc. you might want to have a look at British Journalist, Ben Goldacre's 'Bad Science' website ( Lots of stuff on how the (British) media report and distort anything to do with risk – I assume that the US media are equally inept (?)

dubjay June 9, 2009 at 8:42 pm

The coverage of the swine flu here in the States was calculated to induce mass panic. But when thousands of people didn't oblige by dropping dead, the media went on to other subjects calculated to induce mass panic.

It's what they do.

Amanda August 26, 2009 at 9:03 am

People with regular exposure to pigs are at increased risk of swine flu. More than 1100 people worldwide have died from swine flu since it emerged in Mexico and the US in April, according to the latest figures from the World.

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