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”)…