Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Well, excuse me and the bus I rode home on

As Charlotte mentioned yesterday, I've had some long days lately.

It has to do with this swine flu/possible pandemic issue. My job involves helping businesses prepare for public health issues, like pandemics. We've been a bit busier than usual these past 2 weeks.
.....................

So Monday, Mr. B wakes up feeling pretty poorly.  No temp, no cough, just a scratchy throat and fatigue. I tell him it must be a man-cold.

When I get to work, I find out that a Minneapolis school has been shuttered because of swine flu. As it happens, it's the same school where Mr B subbed last week.

I start to wonder, "Could he? Nah, that's just too ironic." 

Work gets hectic and I get distracted.

Around 4, I receive a text message from Mr. B: "Really sick. Slept till 2:30. Went to doc's. Got swabbed for H1N1."

Uh-oh.

He doesn't answer my call, which means he's sleeping -- and that my chance at getting a ride home from him is shot. I finish work around 7 and notice I'm not feeling that swift either.

So I slog my achy muscles and joints to the bus stop, climb aboard, crumple against the window, and shut my eyes for the hour ride.

Half way home, I decide to try to reach him on my cell. No answer. I try my daughter. No answer. I try my eldest. Score. We talk. My eyes shut, I remain slumped against the window. He tells me he saw "Pops" late in the afternoon, just before he went back to sleep.

"Did he tell you they swabbed him for H1N1?" I ask.

"Cool. How long does it take to get the results back?"

"I don't know. It probably depends on whether they have to send the test to the CDC."

"Ma, are you on the bus? You really need to get off your phone. I got yelled at yesterday for talking on the bus."

Yikes. I open my eyes to see if anyone's glaring at me for being too loud. (Ever notice how hard it is to judge your volume when your eyes are shut?) It's crowded, but no one is giving me the stink eye. Whew.

But.

There is this man sitting next to me. I hadn't noticed him. I don't know how I missed him: He's balancing on the edge of our shared bench, about as far from me as he can perch without falling into the  aisle.

Two stops later, a seat opens up in the row next to the bus driver, same spot I always choose when there's a loose cannon type on the bus. It affords a false sense of safety, like when as a kid you tag "home" by clinging to your mom's leg to keep your sibling from making you "it."

I cough into my elbow, and in a jiff, my neighbor leapfrogs to home base. I shut my eyes again and I can feel something burning. I think it's his stare.

I can't really blame him. It's not everyday you hear CDC and a cough on a bus from a stranger you're sitting next to during the same week that pandemic is the buzz word.

He pulls his feet way in when I disembark.
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Epilogue: No tests are back yet, but Mr. B appears to have had enough pats on the head to recover nicely from the man-flu. He returned to work today. Oh, and the CDC has decided it isn't necessary to close schools. The CDC does say people should stay home if they feel ill. I know of at least one fellow bus rider who would agree wholeheartedly with that little piece of wisdom.

Image 1 by obLiterated 
Image 2 from University of Virgina Claude Moore Health Sciences Library

6 comments:

Pyzahn said...

You are a rascal. Playing pranks with a fake swine flu cough. But I'm real happy no one gave you the stink eye. I hate when that happens.

This was fun. I hope Mr. B is better.

p.s. How do you get your photo credits in that little mouse type? I can't figure out how to make my font smaller.

distracted by shiny objects said...

Im feeling a bit under the weather just from reading this. And now my throat is sore and my head aches...
Hubby got his first "think I have Swine Flu" at the ER last week. Don't think she appreciated the mask much as she was re-directed back to the waiting area.
Hope you're both feeling much better, though those paramedics looked like helpful gents:>)

Gaston Studio said...

You're baaaaad!

Glad hubby is on the mend and hope you are too.

Alex the Girl said...

Maybe you just smelled funny or something. A big sneeze would have sent him over the edge, though. A big wet snotty sneeze!

Rudee said...

Oh-I'd have whipped out a mask and made you wear it! Don't go thinking I don't have a supply-I do! I have been avoiding large crowds (with the exception of the meet your best friend at the zoo event) like the plague. Last April, I had the worst flu and really have no desire to go there again. It took me 2 months to feel better. Here is hoping Mr. B has nothing special-just your run of the mill bug.

Kathleen said...

I am thrilled to be acquiring a reputation as a prankster. Thank you to all who gave me such credit. Unfortunately, the cough was legit! Just a vestige of a recent bout with nothing more exciting than bronchitis ~:-}

Pyzahn: To get the little type, I highlight the words, then click the button in the menu bar with the big T and little t and sellect "smallest."

Distracted: 10-4 on the paramedics!

Gaston: YESSS!!! Without even trying. Thanks!

Alex: I must admit, I like how you think! LOL

Rudee: I hate needles, but I get a flu shot every year for the same reason. It cracks me up when people talk about H1N1 causing only "mild" illness. I can't imagine that anyone who's had "mild" seasonal flu recently would call what they felt "mild."

Here's to good health to all!

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