Sunday, October 25, 2009

Feeling Swine

I'm not sure if you watch the news but there is a small illness going around they are calling the Swine Flu. Apparently this disease is really taking off and it could possibly get serious.

Naturally, I am convinced I am going to get it.

I haven't gotten a flu shot in a very long time. But after battling a rather lengthy germ fest last year, and considering there are 2 different flus to choose from this year, I decided this year I was going to get the shot.

So I signed up for the flu shots they were giving at my job. How easy was that? They come right to the office, I go see them, I roll up my sleeve, and BOOM, inoculated!

But then this "swine flu" really started spooking people and there was a rush and our flu shots were pushed back 2 weeks. And then they were pushed back another month. And I still haven't gotten it yet. By the time I finally do get my flu shot we will probably have moved on to the next great flu like Reptile Flu or Yak Flu.

In an effort to prevent the flu, my office building has installed automatic hand sanitizer dispensers next to the elevators in our lobby. This I think is a noble gesture but one that I believe will ultimately prove useless.

You see, after I get my free sanitizer, I still have to touch an elevator button and 2 different door handles before I am safely within the confines of my completely open half-cubicle. So to avoid touching things I have started getting creative.

Really creative.

Since the flu often gets transferred from hands, I have been careful not to put my hands on my face, and instead will rub my face with the back of my hand or my knuckles. But then I started using my knuckles or my fist to push the elevator button and push down the door handles. So now I am still wiping germs on my face, I am just using a different part of my hand.

So I moved on to using my elbow to push the elevator buttons. This was a good idea considering I can't touch my elbow to my face.

I know, I tried.

It is easy to hit the up button for the elevators the way Fonzie hits a jukebox. There is only one button and it is pretty high on the wall. Hard to screw up.

But once inside the elevator, there are like 20 different buttons. And it is slightly more difficult to bend over to hit the button for my floor with my elbow without also hitting 4 other floors, the door close button, and the fire alarm.

Especially if there are other people in the elevator and I am still trying to make like Fonzie.

It seems being suave and germ free is a tough thing to do.

Then once out of the elevator, I still have to touch door handles to get to my desk. Granted these doors push in but I still have to get that handle down... and I've already disinfected my hands. And god knows what nose picking cretin touched that door handle before me.

So when nobody is looking, I get creative.

Since I am rather tall, and when I am feeling particularly swine paranoid, I have been lifting my knee to waist height to depress the door handle and then shoulder my way into the door. Sometimes my knee slips off the handle, and my face hits the door, which from behind probably looks like I am trying to hump the door.

But even if I make it through that first door, then I have to get through the inner door. Now the inner door has a big window in it which I can see through, but the door is in a tight corner so I can't see people coming, they are just all off a sudden there on the other side.

So if they time it just right, they will probably see eye to eye with me as I thrust my crotch at the window, while trying to get my knee to a height appropriate for pushing down a door handle.

One day someone is going to catch me at just the right time and I am going to end up in a sexual harassment seminar.

But if I do get the swine flu, the train is where it will probably happen. The train is the perfect flu incubator. Plus there are so many cooties to be had.

The other day I saw a baby who was sitting on her mother's lap, put her ENTIRE MOUTH, not just her face mind you, but her whole toothless, gummy, wide mouth around a subway pole.

I almost screamed.

I wanted to say something to the mother as she let this happen, but I'm not sure what the protocol is for recommending to someone that they bleach their baby.

Winter is coming which means that I will soon be wearing gloves. This makes me a lot more comfortable touching the subway poles seeing as I have a boundary.

When I don't have gloves I avoid touching the poles at all costs. In fact, I try to make it the whole ride without my hands touching anything.

Subway surfing is the technical term for this, but with the back and forth, jumpy motion of the subway it looks more like I'm doing the hokey pokey. The only one doing the hokey pokey.

And almost nobody does the hokey pokey on the way to work.

The paranoia for the swine flu is also unbearable. Nowhere more so than in enclosed spaces like the train.

Every time I cough or even clear my throat the other passengers swing their heads toward me and look at me as though I had a bio hazard stamp on my forehead. I kind of don't blame them because I think the same thing when someone near me has a suspicious cough;


But even more than all of that, even with the inoculations, and the Purelifications, and the warning, I am sure someone I know is going to get swine flu. Do you know how I know?

Because people don't wash their hands in the bathroom! And they will be the ones to get it, and spread it.

Damn carrier monkeys.

To Be Continued...


Quincifer said...

I don't know whether you're aware, but the flu shots that you can normally get hold of don't protect against swine flu. Its a different strain which is alot stronger.
Its been a big thing in the UK, 130-ish people have died and hundreds of thousands of people have had it. Some of my close friends have....but don't worry, it doesn't seem to feel much different to normal flu.
The vaccine is only just being given to doctors etc to give out....but its only going to people at risk (i.e. medical workers and pregnant women).
I think the media have hyped it up a little bit too much (as expected) so there has been a panic about it. More people die of normal flu every year and no one fusses over it!
*rant over* :)

The Girl said...

Aaah the swine flu. Paranoia at its greatest.

I came down with flu the other week and was off work but all anyone cared about was if it was the swine. It was as if people were saying "Oh. Just normal flu? Not swine flu? Well you're hardly ill at all!"

Here in the UK there's a swine flu hotline that you ring, some student has a list of questions to ask you and if you tick enough boxes they give you a prescription for Tamiflu. Would I have ticked those boxes? Yes. Because the questions are generic flu-like symptoms.

I saw my boyfriend's Dad who's a Dr and asked him if I should get Tamiflu and in his words I might as well piss in to the wind. Apparently it's the secondary infections you get while your body's fighting the virus that'll kill you.

And as for that pole licking baby? Bet he never gets sick. Unlike my youngest nephew who has been babywiped to within an inch of his life since the day he was born and is the sickest child I've ever known. He's always snot-ridden.

Hey and if you get swine flu then you won't need to spend the money on the vaccine! And you get time off work so you won't have to hump doors.

Meeko Fabulous said...

I keep hand sanitizer on my desk for this very same reason. 2 out of 3 men wash their hands when using the restroom. That is just disgusting. I have it on very good authority that some women don't wash their hands either!

Meeko Fabulous said...

What I mean to say was that 2 out of 3 men DON'T wash their hands after using the restroom.

Nancy said...

I am getting a little paranoid myself with all the hype. After running an immunization clinic, and never getting the flu shot myself the entire time, I am usually not worried. But it seems like a nasty one, so I've suggested my grandson, age 22 months, get one. Also my daughter with athsma. Gob - like we need one more thing to worry about!

At least you can make us laugh!

Pat said...

Everybody knows that doing the hokey pokey IS what it's all about. So. No worries there.

I've always be a germaphob when it comes to bathroom door handles. I usually pull my sleeve down to open the door, or keep the paper towel with me if the garbage can is nearby so I can toss the paper into it.

I CANNOT believe that mother let the baby mouth the pole. YUK! Did she see the baby do this?

Maybe you need to ride the subway in a hazmat uniform. Seriously.

Stay well, my friend

Caroline B said...

As far as Swine Flu is concerned, I'm adopting a fatalistic approach - I work in an infant school which means basically being surrounded by dripping noses and coughing kids, so if it's going around there's not much I can do to prevent getting it other than what I do already - wash hands at evey opportunity & NEVER put my fingers in/near my mouth until getting home and scrubbing up. We've already had a few cases but nothing serious.
Reports here in the UK say medical staff are shunning the vaccine as it has been rushed & not tested thoroughly...
Maybe we should all give our immune systems a boost by gumming a few subway poles.....gak!

trinamick said...

My cousin's son just had the swine flu. Against my advice, they decided not to light him afire and push him off a cliff while dressed in hazmat suits. He's over it now. Guess they were right. Huh.

Static said...

My advice is to either
a.) wear disposable surgical gloves everywhere you go
b.) carry around a can of Lysol
c.) carry around a flame thrower and kill it all with fire