Monday, November 2, 2009

H1N1 is in the Hizzy

It has been looming over us like a dark shadow, chasing us around ever corner. Everywhere we turn, people are discussing it. On the news, at work, at school, in restaurants and stores across the globe. H1N1 at first seemed like just another media sensation when people first caught wind of it last spring. Lots of fear mongering, lots of panicking. At first, I shook it off as just another threat to public health, du jour. Along the line of SARS or the Avian Flu. But as time has gone on and it became obvious that this was something to really fear, I gradually started to brace myself with the "what if" scenarios. The vaccine came out and like all other flu vaccinations, it was made with eggs, making it an impossibility for Ella. Which is sad because she is also asthmatic and considered "high risk" and usually pushed to the front of the line for such vaccines.

Last week, the dark shadow approached, as several of Ella's classmates were diagnosed with having contracted the Swine Flu. My instincts told me that our window was closing and I was right. On Saturday, Ella started acting quite lethargic even napping mid-day. Ever the optimist, I wrote it off as her being tired from the crazy day we had on Friday and maybe she just wanted to rest before a big night of trick or treating. Right? We were able to rally her to costume up and head out for a night of candy collecting (imagine that!) But after about an hour she told me that she was ready to go home. She started complaining of a headache. That night she woke at 2 am, asking for water. Her head was quite warm. And then Sunday, she awoke with a gnarly cough and was clearly sick. Eventually, her fever hit 103 and we called the doctor who (being that it was Sunday) diagnosed her over the phone. Without question, she has the H1N1. Sigh.

Next came the hard part. The doctor wanted to give her a prescription for Tamiflu. But being that we live in a major metropolitan area, there are extensive shortages on the children's version. (Here's an article from CBS about the shortages.) Gabe and I spent a total of 2+ hours on the phone, calling every pharmacy near and far. Nothing. And then her doctor suggested that we ask if anyone was willing to create a suspension from the adult version of the drug. And after several more calls, Gabe was able to find someone who could do it. PHEW! So we waited another couple of hours for the "cocktail" to be made, thanking each and everyone of our lucky stars.

Today, Ella is doing pretty good under the circumstances. Maybe all of our experience dealing with the insanity of her food allergies has prepared us, in a way, for this year's global pandemic. (Much like my endometriosis prepared me for childbirth.) And I am trying to remain positive and strong as we take this whole thing on. I fully understand the gravity of the situation but I am choosing to not focus on the dark statistics. That only brings stress to an already terrifying situation. We are taking good care of our little lady. I have been getting lots of advice from the parents of her friends who had it over the past few weeks. Thankfully, she has not lost her appetite and is very receptive to drinking liquids. We are planning on keeping her home from school and all other social activities for as long as it takes for her to be back to normal health.

Time will tell if the rest of us will get this thing. Milo was REALLY sick a few months back with a severe flu like bug. I also got it. At the time, I just assumed that it was not the Swine Flu. My sister's kids were also quite sick and her pediatrician told her that if anyone was getting the flu in the middle of summer it was almost certainly the H1N1. Not sure if that is true or not, but wouldn't it be great if we actually are immune already? We shall see. So far, Milo seems fine. Other than the fact that he has been waking up at absurdly early hours. He was up and at 'em at 3 am this morning! My guess is that he is about to go through a developmental change. And then maybe the little guy can get back to being a good sleeper, once more. We sure could use some sleep around here!

Hopefully everyone is happy and healthy, out there. This thing is really far reaching and if you can get your hands on some Tamiflu, especially if you have other health issues, I would strongly suggest that you do so. It seems to really help!

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