February 02, 2007

Flu, Part Two (Oh look, I can rhyme!)

My father called me the other day. Or maybe it was the Grim Reaper. Whomever was on the other end of the line sure sounded like death.

Shortly thereafter I got a message from my sister - or, rather, a gravely-voiced, sickly-sounding representation of what could very possibly be my sister.

Most of my family lives on the east coast, smack dab in the middle of Mr Coldmiser's territory. I'm not sure what disease my family came down with, but from the sounds of things, I don't want it.

Apparently, the flu has taken the east coast by storm this January. If you believe what you hear on NPR, its also conquered the midwest and is sniffling its way over the Rockies on a direct path to my weak and feeble immune system.

First of all, us California-ites already got the flu in December. We've filled our quota, thank you very much. In fact, I was mighty proud that I tackled the flu during the off-season, leaving me with a healthy, un-infected training season to come up with other excuses for my poor race performances.

But apparently Sir Flu did not have enough. Apparently it was merely a holiday visit the last time around - grab a little glazed ham, sing a little Christmas carol, dole out a little fever and be on its way. I'm not ready for the flu to come back. Maybe we can take some of our fine Border Patrol officers from the southern end of this fine state and line them up on the eastern border. Won't Flu be surprised when it shows up in California, all ready and eager to lay out on the beach, only to be confronted by our fine defenders of freedom and slammed back to Tempe or Tulsa or one of those other places that Southern Californians rarely visit.

Doesn't it seem like the flu comes around more often these days than it had in the past? Is this an effect of global warming? Can somebody get Al Gore on the phone for me, please!? Seriously, though, until recently the so-called "flu season" was a two month period where everybody and their half-brother got sick. Once you got through that 60 day Sick Zone, you were pretty much scott free until the next year. These days, however, the flu doesn't seem to want to keep a regular schedule. I hate when that happens.

If you just look back a few years ago you may remember how the flu wasn't even anything dramatic or life threatening. It was just a fact of life - one of our natural seasons, if you will. Spring, Summer, Autum, Winter, Flu. The flu came and it went and nary a tear was shed. You sneezed, you moaned, you coughed, sniffled and complained...but one month later you were over it and practically forgot you were ever sick in the first place.

I don't know if it's the fault of those damn Avians or a representation of our crumbling society, but the flu has gotten a lot more serious these days. I was reading in the paper today that there are now five categories of flu. I guess the whole Terror Alert color scheme went so well they've decided to make one for the flu. Perhaps we can refer to this new incarnation as the Phlegm Alert. (For obvious reasons that would most likely lead to nausea, I won't give you the details of the Phlegm Alert color chart. Feel free to use your imagination for that one.)

As far as the severity of the Phlegm Alert, it's fairly interesting. If you haven't read about this yet, let me give you a brief summary....

Category 1 of the Flu Epidemic is what is considered the yearly strain. I like to call this one "Casual Annoyance". Apparently, though, up to 90,000 people die from our regular, "casually annoying" flu. Which I suppose makes it a little more annoying than I previously thought.

Category 2, 3 and 4 have a much greater impact though there doesn't really seem to be any differentiation between those Categories and the aforementioned Category 1, aside from lots of schools closing and a lot more people being infected. In our recorded history of mankind, there have never been any instances of Category 2, 3 or 4 Flu Epidemics (with two possible exceptions).

When the flu miraciously hits Category 5, that's when things get really bad. Basically, we all die. Or at least 2 million of us do. There has been one instance of what would be considered a Category 5 flu epidemic, and that was around 1918. I wasn't around back then so can't really give you any eye-witness accounts, but I hear a lot of people got really sick.

So basically we've got the regular flu (Category 1) and then blah blah blah, yadda yadda yadda, we all die (Category 5). Which really seems to me that somebody in a secret, hermetically-sealed room in the middle of Las Cruces or wherever the hell they do that crazy germ testing, has got some pretty vital information about this Avian Flu epidemic that I kinda want to know.

All of the sudden I'm a bit nervous about the upcoming flu season. It's not just a bad cold anymore like the previous flu has been, now the flu could possibly represent my ultimate demise. Which, on the bright side, would probably make a pretty good excuse for any upcoming poor race performances.


^..^ said...

a lot of people believe it is the proliferation of antibiotics and anti-bacterial this and anti-bacterial that which has created super germs ... more powerful than the germs of your childhood, to morphing and mutating at rapid speed, and able to leap from sickly one to unsuspecting passerby in a single sneeze. help!

j. said...

morphing? mutating? proliferating? good golly, ms molly... looks like we've got a scientist in da haaa-ooouuuussseeee!

AndraSue said...

Ouch. That's enough to make me not want to leave my (mostly) germ-free house all weekend! I've read your blog for a while and really enjoy your posts. Finally started one of my own, so I thought I'd de-lurk and post a comment. I especially like your crazy people in Santa Monica posts...I travel there for work pretty frequently and they ring very true. :)