Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Is swine flu. Is not swine flu.

We've taken kids to the hospital in Switzerland before. Or, I should say my wife has. I don't even know where the hospital is. I should probably have her drive me by and give me a mock emergency in case I need to go on my own.

It's never been a huge emergency - always a kind of "just in case" scenario. Such as we had last week at 5 o'clock in the morning when my daughter woke up crying with respiratory problems. To our parental brains the equation looked like this:

problems breathing + living and going to school in Switzerland = SWINE FLU

Maybe it's that way in the States, I'm not sure. Seems everyone in Geneva is on orange alert for H1N1. You don't really see people wearing those funny surgical masks, but you do see increased notices about washing your hands in public restrooms. And a friend recently told me two of his co-workers at the UN have come down with it.

So my wife took our tear-streaked 5-year-old to the hospital with swine flu and came back with a tired 5-year-old with the croup who was so thrilled at the prospect of staying home from school she began taunting her brother about it.

It's hard to gauge the fear of Swine Flu in the States, although I read the New York Times daily online. I don't know if I'd be so afraid of it if I were back in Chicago. West Nile gave us a scare in the Midwest a few years back, but even then, we weren't draping the kids in netting and bathing them in OFF.

I think swine flu becomes a lot scarier when its potentially contracted abroad. And the croup is a lot scarier when it's potentially swine flu.

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