Dear Swine Flu, You Asshole, Again,

Hello. I know I already wrote you a Dear, Swine Flu, You Asshole letter, but I thought it would be nice to follow up. Cool? Cool.

Listen, I know we've said some harsh things to each other. And I know, at the time, we meant them. You meant to make my trach baby as sick as possible and laugh in our germophobe faces, and I meant it when I said I want to punch you in your tiny dick.

There's no denying we aren't friends. However, I'm a little worried about you.

I know that sounds weird, but really, how is your state of mind these days? I feel a little bad because our family was able to kick your ass with so much more vigor than you were able to kick ours. I mean, at first you definitely had the upper hand. I'll give you that. Making me rush my baby to the hospital via ambulance in the middle of the night because he's unresponsive gives you some points. Asshole points, but points.

Having the pediatrician tell me that we are the worst case their practice has seen of the flu to date… gives you more asshole points.

Having my little dude be one of only a handful of people in town who have been hospitalized because of you – even more points.

And yet, he was only in the hospital for two days. And not even in the picu. BURN.

The other two kids had it and were only sick for a couple of days. BURN.

The pediatrician is telling all the freaked out moms not to worry because if his former 28-week preemie trach baby patient can be OK, their kids should be fine. BURN.

And so, while it seemed like you had the upper hand there for a few days, and I was busy freaking out in the hospital with Ike-a-saurus, we were actually teaming up to defeat your ass. How about that? Sneak attack!

I know your ego must be in shambles right now, and I feel for you, I really do. Or maybe I do. Or really, no. No I don't. But still. I just want to make sure there are no hard feelings. Please do not think you have to prove anything by causing a relapse or mutating or any of that mess. Please just move along. There's nothing to see here anymore. No one left to infect. You tried your best, you gave us a run for our money, and we prevailed.

Suck it!

But I mean that in the nicest possible way.

I was also wondering if you could spread the word to your friends "RSV" and "Seasonal Flu" and "Parainfluenza" and "Viral Pneumonia" and all those other beasties you hang out with. Can you please tell them the embarrassing ass-whopping they face if they dare to come into this house? I would appreciate it.

Now tuck your hemagglutinin between your legs and scurry away from here. We are done with you. I will lob nasty language and threats at other germs now.

Be gone, swine flu! And take your damn aporkalpse with you.

Sincerely,

Kari
concerned mother

Soup!

a cool, rainy day
brain tries to comprehend it
this requires noodles

So "requires" has two syllables, right? My southern heritage is telling me that it has three. I think my southern heritage is misleading me, so I'm sticking with two. But feel free to argue.

Anyway, hello cool weather! It was so chilly this afternoon that Ike-a-saurus was out on the porch, sitting on his nurse's lap, legs covered with a blanket, hocking loogies on the concrete. Just like an old man.

In my imagination, it could have been a scene from Annie. With Ike playing FDR, his nurse playing the wheechair, and with more loogies than I remember seeing in that movie.

Inspired by Ike's old man-ness, the cool weather, and my husband's hacking swine flu cough, I made some soup. Like actually made it – I chopped up carrots and celery and everything. What the what? I know! It was good, too, with chicken in it, and egg noodles. Also, there were some bones that I didn't manage to fish out, and I burned my finger, but overall it was a surprisingly successful foray into the kitchen.

It's hard to believe fall is here, and yet, it feels like it's been about a thousand years since last fall. In the beginning of October last year, I was going to the NICU everyday, scrubbing my hands and arms raw, and teaching a four-pound Ike-a-saurus to breastfeed.

I take back the thousand year thing. It feels like a MILLION years ago. And a million years before that was the last time I made soup.

It's nice to make soup again. It's nice to feel a cool breeze. It's nice to see lungs strong enough to splatter mucus on the ground. 

If Daddy Warbucks was here, I might even burst into song.

Things I have learned from the swine flu:

1. You'll never know if you actually have the swine flu because no one will send the test off for it. Well, you might know if you are dead, because they test post-mortem.

2. The ER and our pediatrician said all type A flu in Austin right now is H1N1 because there is no seasonal flu yet, so I guess 1 doesn't matter.

3. Boy howdy am I tired

4. Boy howdy has it made Ike-a-saurus puke a lot (the flu, not me being tired)

5. We are going through oxygen tanks like they're, uh, oxygen. Those tiny little lungs are not pleased with the swine situation right now.

6. When you have home nursing care, it's required for your case manager to make a visit to your house no later than 48 hours after a hospitalization. When your case manager arrives, she will gown up and mask herself in the parking spot by the house, so that all the neighbors come out on their porches to go W. T. F.

7. The dude mowing his lawn will go inside when he sees 6.

8. You will laugh at how funny and alarming 6 is, and take secret pictures (as seen in exhibit A below)

9. You will wonder if someone is going to put a quarantine sign on your front door

10. Mostly, you will want to take a lot of tylenol

11. And naps. You'll want those, too.

12. Pedialyte, thickened to nectar consistency looks like candle oil

13. Not everyone with the Swine gets a fever

14. And, yet, I can't stop sweating

15. They make tiny, tiny, baby-sized surgical masks

16. It's a good thing Clorox has that bleach spray stuff, so we don't have to get all Velveteen rabbit up in here

17. We are the first "flu family" our nursing agency has had so far. WHERE IS OUR DAMN PRIZE?

18. Cross-contamination with our primary nurse, FTW. At least she could still come this week.

19. Cross-contamination with our night nurse, FTL. She wasn't allowed to come this week.

20. I know. Confusing.

21. Hospitals? Still suck.

22. The Emmy's are on Sunday to cheer us all up.

23. Should 22 be a joke? I'm totally serious. If everyone is up to snuff around here, I'm going to liveblog the shit out of that show.

24. Imma let you finish, but this list is getting out of hand

25. What?

26. Tamiflu makes Ike-a-saurus a) sleep so heavily he doesn't breathe right b) stare into space with his mouth open c) cry randomly. Same side effects as methadone. Fun!

27. Tamiflu make me say things like, "The vice principal of your school is the sheriff and the principal is like the parent. I mean like the principal. I mean the parent. I mean the president."

28. There is no 28

29. Avoid the children's hospital ER at all costs. Seriously, I expected goats and chickens to be milling around. Hooray for trachs earning you priority. Well, and ambulances earn you priority, too.

30. Swine flu is too tiny to punch in the dick. But if I could find it, I would totally punch it in the dick.

******

Exhibit A:

Quarantine

Grown women should not sleep in cribs

We're home!

Ike-a-saurus is still on o2, still feeling kind of poorly, but his respiration rate is way better and he doesn't need tons and tons of oxygen like he did a few days ago. The consensus between doctors is that since we have our own little respiratory floor right here at home, and our own arsenal of nurses everyday, we can monitor him for secondary infections as well as they can in the hospital. Plus, he'll eat better, take his meds better, and get more sleep at home. So here we are.

After spending two nights laying with him in his hospital crib, it's no surprise my knees and back are achy. And with no sleep, it's no wonder why I'm exhausted. But that doesn't explain why my throat hurts. Or why I can't stop sneezing. Guess it's mama's turn for the Tamiflu.

Good times over here at Aporkalypse Ground Zero. But at least we're home. I hope we get to stay.

The Aporkalypse

We knew this would be a tough flu season, we just didn’t think it’d happen SO FAST.

Ground zero for the Aporkalypse? Apparently my house. Ike is positive for the flu. It’s not confirmed H1N1, but we’ve been told 98% of flu in Austin is of the swine variety.

He’s in the hospital right now. Last night we enjoyed a 911 call and a first class ambulance ride. Today, he’s choking down two different antivirals to see if that can help things.

We’re obviously really concerned about secondary infections and his respiratory status. He is breathing really really fast. Like if panting was on fast forward.

No fun.

Times like these make me wish I’d researched swine flu a little less.