It’s a few days before Hall-O-Ween, and I am Completely. Freaked. Out.
Not by by goblins and werewolves and vampires.
No. It’s the creepy-crawly H1N1 that’s got me hiding under the sheets with a bottle of bleach.
The Swine Flu scare is on here in West Michigan where I live. Schools are closed, churches and community centers are canceling activities hoping to stop the rapid spread. Emergency rooms and doctor’s offices are clogged, mostly with parents looking to get some relief for their kids.
I’m usually a pretty skeptical person, not falling prey to the latest national panic.
I slept like a baby on the eve of Y2K, sure that all the hype was just that, and the bulk of our electronic infrastructure was not about to implode. I scoffed at the Bird Flu a few years ago. I didn’t run out and stock up on 25 lb. bags of rice when the world was supposedly running out.
But people I know are sick with Swine Flu. Reports of dangerously high fevers, miserable children and exhausted moms have me very close to falling off the edge of reality.
I’ve considered simply locking up baby Wade and four-year-old David in the house until spring. We certainly will be avoiding sticky, germ-ridden places like the play land at our local fast food restaurant. I’ve even thought about skipping church so the boys aren’t exposed to all the snotty, sneezy, hacky kids whose parents aren’t courteous enough to keep their sick children at home and away from my healthy ones.
Then there’s Trick-or-Treating.
Is it safe to spray down the wrapped candy with Lysol before I let my kid eat it?
Where can I get a gallon of hand sanitizer to carry around the neighborhood with us so we can disinfect after each new door we knock on?
Unless anyone knows where I can get a hazmat suit in boy’s size 6.
If you’re throwing a Hall-O-Ween party, please skip the Bobbing for Swine Flu Apples’ Tub this year. Maybe you could play a game of Vaccinate the Donkey instead.
There is no H1N1 vaccine available to the general public here yet, but my husband took David to the pediatrician on Friday for his regular seasonal flu shot. David was under strict orders not to play with any of the waiting room toys or books. I went so far as to tell him to stay away from the other kids. “Don’t even make direct eye contact,” I said. I was only kind of kidding.
Oh, I’m a mean mother.
But come on. Everybody knows the peds office is the germiest place on earth.
I keep flashing back to all those end-of-world science fiction movies like Outbreak and I Am Legend. How long until we’re under marshal law and there’s a curfew enforced?
Maybe I should just go underground with my family until this whole Swine Flu thing blows over. But we’re not prepared to go into hiding. If only I’d believed that Y2K hype back in ’99. I’d already have a stockpile of canned goods and water.
I’m gonna go breath into a paper bag, and try to calm down now.
No I’m not.
Who knows where that paper bag’s been.