2 05 2009

A few years back I watched a Jeff Foxworthy programme and he explained in the bit about his wife’s hypochondria.  They were watching a documentary and as they watched she counted up and finally remarked, ‘That’s it, I have all of the symptoms.  I have that!’ To which he replied ‘Honey you do not have testicular cancer – you don’t even have testiculars.’ And as comical as it is, I can totally empathize with her.

After 9-11, when the anthrax scares abounded, I was convinced that I was afflicted and my throat swelled, my lungs ached and I coughed in the most painful manner.  The doctor gave me the all clear and amazingly, I got well in no time.

I was having joint pain and thus the doctor tested me for arthritis varieties and for the four days until I heard the results, my joints ached more than ever and yet when I got my results, the pain is only random once again.

I could give so many other examples, but I don’t need to convince myself of the paranoia I already know I embrace.

So this swine flu is just an open invitation to my hypochondria.  I was doing well, ignoring the panics until they announced that two cases had broken out in Lee County – where we live.  Within thirty minutes I found myself feverish and a headache banging at my temples.  My throat swelled and my coughing began.  Of course since the accident body aches are already prevalent so check that symptom off the list as well.  And even though I knew full well it was my panic sinking in, I couldn’t seem to help it.  I took my temperature – a healthy 98.2.  I told Glenn I was losing my marbles and he just chuckled and kissed me then laughed and said ‘don’t get me sick’.  So I popped in a movie instead and got so engrossed, I was 100% free of my ‘symptoms’ by ten last night.

For people like me who panic anyhow, the media noise of this flu is not really a factor.  But for the millions worldwide on the verge of becoming hermits – I think it is over the top.  Due to poor research and lack of thorough reporting, they have created this ‘pandemic’ with less cases yet verified than a normal flu season.  In fact, just looking at the death toll numbers of this flu strain to the ‘common’ flu and you will find that the ‘common’ flu strain claims more than 97% more lives a year than this has yet to claim.  And there is simply no way to run numbers on just the infected except to say that each year millions of people contract the flu and yet we have only just begun to near one thousand with this flu strain.

Once WHO identified patient zero, the media posted that his family believes he got the disease because there is a pig farm nearby, despite scientific claims that it is not contracted through the pigs.  And thus, Egypt then slaughters tens of thousands of pigs that most of the people in their country don’t eat anyhow – just to be safe.  And though the scientific community, the people who have degrees and education and experience to speak intelligently on this topic, those people have stated that pork products that are properly cooked won’t make one ill – many countries in the Orient and Europe have banned their use – just to be safe.

What has happened to the days of professional journalism, when reporters interviewed the knowledged and let those people state facts and carry that weight on their shoulders?  Instead, now every reporter with a camera and a microphone and a computer is suddenly Sanjay Gupta and declaring how the disease is transmitted and what to avoid.  Much the same as the peanut butter salmonella outbreak of this past winter, the media has taken an inch and ran five hundred miles with it – creating a panic and chaos as they go.  Local stores here are selling out of hand sanitizer and face masks – long before any cases were announced.  Little signs in the grocery store announce that their pork is safe and yet unsold nonetheless.

I think we should host a big barbeque and invite every reporter to it and we should each cough just a little as we tell them no face masks allowed – just so they can feel a taste of the panic they have helped create.



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