Tuesday, May 19, 2009
It's a swine, this flu
Well, I may live in deepest, France but even I follow the news so I know that I'm probably pretty much talking to myself now. The pandemic of Swine Flu, or Grippe Porcine as it's called here has, no doubt, killed off all of those who cunningly avoided Bird Flu last year and SARS before that.
Any suggestion that a convenient pandemic would deflect talk away from the pitiful state of the global economy is clearly cynical but I have a sneaking suspicion that if an audit was done at the Centre for Disease control a few vials of Piggy Flu virus would be unaccounted for. That would then be followed by a sneaking suspicion that said vials would be found in the undergrowth near an intensive pig farm in Mexico. A conspiracy theorist's dream!
The French government has been no less alarmist putting the country on alert level 5 even though there were no confirmed cases in France so when I went down with flu like symptoms I was sure I was about to be the first. Do those masks come in different colours to complement your outfit? Lipstick or not underneath? Should I be like the Frenchman on the TV who, when asked if his facemask was hot to wear, he announced that he'd already sorted that out by making holes in it! I kid you not! So, what to do? Call the SAMU or go to the doctor?
Figuring that the actual probability of having Pork Flu was slightly less than zero I opted for the doctors, with a whispered apology to my fellow patients for any infection I may pass on to them. People round here are from good peasant stock. A touch of Pigglywig Flu wouldn't stop them in their tracks anyway.
I explained my symptoms to my doctors - which was actually more difficult than I thought as we always speak in French, although he speaks perfect English. For some reason, that day he decided to talk in English while I was prepared to talk French so I mumbled some bizarre Franglais explanation about pains in my articulations and mal au throat which may be the reason why I'm here and not in isolation somewhere with TV cameras doorstepping my neighbours.
I left clutching the usual array of medicaments for every conceivable situation.... antibiotics, anti inflammatories, 1mg paracetamol tablets that look like horse pills. But a week later, I still feel like someone is ramming sharpened knitting needles down my throat. Maybe......
DS came downstairs yesterday with the start of a cold and announced he had 7 of the 9 symptoms of Hog Flu. See, that's how panic starts. The media has a lot to answer for.
Still, pigs of another variety, the ones in pinstriped suits, have now conveniently knocked this story off the news headlines and left the WHO and the CDC to think up the next 'pandemic'. Giraffe flu perhaps?