‘Piggy’ flu lingers on

Published 12:39 am Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I’m not one of those parents who panics at every little sniffle and sneeze. So when the buzz began about H1N1, I paid attention but didn’t rush out and buy 14 bottles of hand sanitizer or face masks.

After all, it supposedly affects people just like the plain ol’ flu — fever, aches and pains, cough, runny nose and such — all symptoms I can attest to firsthand. In fact, I missed two days of work thanks to the plain ol’ flu. Plus, when you add the headache in on top of all the other symptoms, it’s easy to see how it can put people out of commission for extended periods of time.

And, just as you would expect, if there’s a mom with the flu, there’s bound to be a child or two with it too. In our case, it was the oldest girl, but in her case it was “the piggy flu,” as she called it.

And it was — and still is — scary. She just can’t seem to shake it.

It started with a fever of 104 degrees, a horrible hacking cough, the moaning “I don’t feel good” and isolation for a week at her daddy’s house.

That was two weeks ago.

As of this Monday, the fever had gone and come back; she still had a horrible hacking cough and we all were still hearing the moaning, “I don’t feel good.”

She’s on breathing treatments three times a day for another week, a second antibiotic and now a steroid. Thank goodness, she can go back to school as long as there is no fever.

And within this two-week period, this bout of snotty icky-ness has cost me more than $200 with co-pays and prescriptions.

So note to community: When you see that 15-second spot from the CDC or the state health department saying stay home if you are showing flu-like symptoms, heed it. Stay at home.

I have two other children (who incidentally have been on Tamiflu), and I can’t afford for them to get sick — both for their sake and my wallet’s.

I know there is at least one family in Opp who can agree with me. In July, 7-year-old Kolby Dyess, a second grader at Fleeta School, was sent to Atlanta’s Emory Children’s Center because of complications from H1N1. At last count, Kolby spent the better part of August and some of September in the Georgia hospital recovering. On Friday, there will be a benefit singing at the Opp Senior Citizens Center where donations will be accepted on Kolby’s behalf.

If four prescriptions and three doctor’s visits cost me $200, just imagine what the bill looks like for weeks at a children’s hospital — so show up, help them out or make a donation at any Wachovia bank in his name. Better yet, mail a check to Country Cathedral, P.O. Box 368, Opp, AL 36467, Attention: Laurette Blair.

Health officials said Monday the first doses of swine flu vaccine should begin arriving in Alabama by the end of this week and adequate supplies should be available by the end of October.

Local schools are making plans this week for distributing those vaccinations. It appears that one immunization will be required for people over 9. Younger children will need to receive two doses of the vaccine.

Having lived through one bout of the “piggy flu,” I can honestly say whenever that time might be, it won’t have come soon enough.