Monday, May 04, 2009

Too Close to Home

When an evil menaces or touches others, obviously there is compassion, concern, even pain that we feel, but all are somehow cushioned by the relatively safe distance from which we think we can witness the events.

This past Saturday, we got a phone call from the Public Health department (or something like that) to inform us that there’s a confirmed case of swine influenza at my older daughter’s school, and not just in her school but in her very class.

I won’t try to describe the sinking feeling that swept over us – I can do that in fiction but not in real life.

The woman who called had a very professional voice, very calm, impassionate; she described symptoms, told us what to do, etc. etc. What she wouldn’t tell was the name of the sick child. I think that the protection of privacy is badly used in this case because knowing who it is would also help us know if our daughter was in contact with that child.

While I understand the need to keep panic under control, I don’t understand the serenity of these people after all the fuss from the media and the World Health Organisation. Is it a real threat or is it not? Anyway, I don’t understand why the school – this is a private school - is not closed and how all they’re offering is a “team of doctors and nurses” to greet the children in the morning and explain to them what to do (i.e. how to wash their hands).

Well, as many other parents did, I’m sure, we decided to keep our daughter home for a while, until things are sorted out, one way or another. She’s a bit worried about missing school, but not too much. After all, she gets to watch her favourite movies all over again (this morning she was watching the third instalment of the “Pirates of the Caribbean”)…

17 comments:

Aniket said...

Am sure she'll love the time off! Little helps more than good ol' Captain Jack to lighten the mood. :D

One can never be too careful about such things. Hope things get sorted out soon at her school.

Till then you get to enjoy more of her company. Yay for that!

May the force be with you.

Charles Gramlich said...

I think it's fairly clear the media has hyped this one up in search of a pandemic.

deepazartz said...

Vesper,Believe me when I say this...I am very earnest...I was too happy to see your comment in my blog!!!
It was a great surprise for me...& I just loved it. Thanks for your wonderful comments.

Even I do believe that Nature is the best artist & I had even posted an article under the same title...my second post in my blog!!

I am happy that there are so many like-minded people here.

I'll read your post tomo & comment abt it... I just wanted to share what I felt with you, this moment...c ya tomo'

L.A. Mitchell said...

Vesper..
I'm sorry. So hard to be rational about it with all the media. I'm with Anaket...Jack Sparrow can ward off the worst notion of illness :)

Stay well.

Catvibe said...

It would have been nice if they would have told you, I mean why the hell not? Anyway, I'm sure your daughter will enjoy the time off, sounds wonderful. Amazing what fun a little pandemic can cause.

Karen said...

Vesper - I sincerely hope that this illness is quickly eradicated and your daughter and the rest of her class will not be affected.

As one who deals with student confidentiality daily, I understand the laws -- and that's what they are -- that prohibit school officials from releasing names, no matter how ridiculous it may seem. This is how far things have gone: we were warned by our attorney not to even use the pronoun "him" in referring to a male student. By doing so, we might accidentally identify (by implication) the student to whom we refer. Then, his parents can sue us. Isn't that ridiculous? Unfortunately, that's how far this litigious society has taken us.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Vesper - I know I would have done the very same thing in your place -and kept my child home until the threat passed. Can't believe the school didn't close for a few days to clean and sanitize everything.
Hopefully, your daughter, or any other child in the school, will NOT be affected.

Serendipity said...

Is it a confirmed case? If so, you should push for the school to be shut down for a few days...

Hope this blows over soon...

deepazartz said...

Hope everything goes well with your daughter & other kids. There's so much talk about it, one doesn't know whats Really happening or how serious it really is..

A l'tl time off will be good for mom & daughter...

God bless you.

the walking man said...

It is hard to be objective when the assaulting beast causes personal fears to rise.

Fortunately with the wise precautions you and others are taking it seems this is beginning to pass on. The media are the swine if you ask me.

BernardL said...

In the fifties, they quarantined families with a contagious disease... and enforced it. My family was quarantined three times because of us little germ factories. If it helps, Vesper, I got the Asian flu in 1957 that killed a hundred thousand people, 70,000 in the US. I also got the Hong Kong flu in 1967. That one killed over 700,000 world wide. Although I wasn't around for the Spanish Flu in 1918, it was responsible for 40 million deaths due to primary infections and secondary infections.

The deaths from any flu are tragic, but this complete insanity about the swine flu is goofy. It's killed seventeen people as of last Saturday and they haven't even counted a thousand cases worldwide.

Vesper said...

Aniket, :-) :-) :-)! You’re right, ol’Captain Jack is a sure remedy! :-)

I know, Charles, I’m pretty much of the same opinion.

Deepa, it is my pleasure. Your blog looks wonderful.
Thank you for your concern. Unfortunately, there’s not much mom&daughter time - I’m at work, she’s at home with grandparents…:-)

Thanks, L.A. ! Ah, I love Jack Sparrow! We’re still ok… :-)

Cat, it’s absurd not to give people all the information. Yeah, why the hell not? What could happen? An angry mob to burn down their house? It’s not anybody’s fault if they got sick. It’s plain ridiculous. :-)

Thank you, Karen. I thought it was something like that but here in Canada people don’t sue each other as easily as it happens in the U.S. Hiding this information only brought more stress upon the others who didn’t know if their child was in contact with the sick kid. We still found out who it was, by deduction – a boy who’d been on holiday in Mexico (we didn’t know that initially); he had no visible symptoms in school except he seemed very tired on Friday. At least, our daughter didn’t play with him. I hope he’s fine now.

Kaye, thank you. The school seems to rely on parents to keep their kids at home. Many did so. I’m not even sure how well they sanitized everything. Apparently they were doing something only on Monday after he children started to arrive. Not what you’d expect from a private school, ranked among the first in Quebec.

Serendipity, yes, it is confirmed. The school won’t close, but they didn’t do anything anyway (only eight kids came to school in my daughter’s class) and all exams are postponed…

Mark, I realise that all this is hugely exploited by the media, but we were scared mostly because our daughter is not yet fully recovered from the stomach flu she’s had at the end of January. Another virus is the last thing we need… :-)

Oh, Bernard, a good immune system and plenty of luck! Wow! Compared to those numbers, what happens now is trivial. I don’t understand the fuss…

the walking man said...

No Vesper, I understood, the urgency came through but you were doing the right thing...even without the media hoopla you had reason for concern.

Is the wee one on the mend now?

All of the breathless media lead stories though...they must have gotten tired of talking, politics, finance, and whom is doing who in Hollywood...grrrrrr

laughingwolf said...

i'd not fret too much, v... the media has nothing better to do :(

in fact, more than 4,000 folk die in canada, every year, from seasonal influenza and they don't bother to report that... no one in canada has even gotten severely ill from this strain, much less died....

Geraldine said...

That would be frightening Vesper; Im so sorry this has happened. But it's a good thing your daughter is able to stay home. Sounds like the worst of this flu outbreak is passing. Here's hoping...

Stay healthy and take care, G

laughingwolf said...

update: a woman in northern alberta is reported to have died of complications related to swine flu, yesterday...

Vesper said...

Mark, LW, Geraldine, thank you for your concern and your good wishes.

My daughter is now almost fully recovered from the stomach flu of almost three months ago.

The latest news from the school is that there are two more confirmed case, in the same class! As expected, obviously. Still, they say there's no reason to be worried. Just send your kids to school, we want to see how many will catch the virus...
Our daughter - and many others - continues to stay home.