Every night, one last time before I go to bed, I check the headlines on Yahoo. I don’t know why I do this. Obviously to guarantee fitful sleep. It works. Last night, I checked again the “White house administration to campaign for H1N1 vaccinations.” As usual, when I click on any link related to health, the story indicates my imminent death. This time, the story read that pregnant women are especially encouraged to get vaccinated. They are the highest priority since they die at exponentially higher rates than others. 6 times as often. Only 28 pregnant women have died of H1N1 from April to August but still, the 6 times as often as others who contracted the swine flu freaked me out.
I went to bed. I couldn’t breathe well because we’d had the wood-burning stove going all day and there were woody particulates in the air. I kept having to change sides to use a clear nostril. It’s hard enough to breathe when you’re pregnant, let alone, when you have a stuffy nose. I suppose it's nearly impossibly if you have the swine flu. I imagine Z with her lungs' asthma-type response to colds breathing even less well than my doubly-demanded ones. I think of ways I can prevent me or Z from succumbing. I can teach online. I’ll take Zoe out of school on extreme flu days (that would be Tuesdays and Fridays right?). We can start mainlining Tamiflu now.
I can already tell the whole vaccination attempt will be a disaster. Z has been 3 times to get her regular flu shot and has been turned away by her doctor (for wheezing), by a nurse (for a high temperature), and by the pharmacy (for not being 18). Then, she was scheduled for a shot this coming Tuesday and they canceled that appointment because they’re out of that vaccine. This doesn’t bode well. I called the county health people who are supposedly in charge of distributing the H1N1 vaccine. I asked them what their distribution plan was. They weren’t sure yet. I should call back next week. Um. You have no plan yet? I’ve been waiting for the vaccine since July and you have no plan? I would like to be on a list. Some list. Any list for my pregnant self and asthma-prone kid. I asked my ob/gyn. She said, hmm. Yeah. I don’t know if we’re getting any vaccine.
Perhaps I can make my own batch of vaccine. Find a kid whose had the flu. Borrow a little blood for some home-grown inoculation serum.
I have started stalking the county health building. I call every day to see if the shipment has come in yet. I write a letter to the editor but that would have to be succinct and to the point but sometimes I think the most healthful thing to do is to stop reading Yahoo headlines before bed.