So about that Swine Flu

Since we’ve been so swine heavy the last couple days, I thought it was time for me to chime in, as someone who is currently dealing directly with the dreaded Swine Flu. My girlfriend is one of 10 people in California who has the barnyard flu.

Feeling right as rain she left for a work trip to Las Vegas last Thursday. By Saturday night she started to feel ill. Within twenty-four hours she was back in Los Angeles in the hospital with a temperature of 103.

Once arriving at the hospital, she was immediately put on zanamivir. They diagnosed her sickness as the Swine Flu for a couple important reasons, one because she became ill while traveling and two because she already has had a flu shot.

Sorry gang flu shots are no match for this virus. 

They asked her to stay in the hospital and take a bunch more tests but she was told that none of them would make her feel any better. Upon hearing this she asked to leave so she could get home and rest. The physicians let her go after she promised not to leave her house or to make contact with anyone.

A few things bother me about this situation. First off, I’m happy she is home but why did the doctors allow her to leave with an extremely infectious disease. Two, she got sick while traveling and was at her peak of the illness while on a plane.

It seems like she may be the monkey from “Outbreak” or patient zero for LA. My feeling is that more should be done in alerting people she may have been in contact with. Lastly, according to a regional map there are no cases of the virus in LA County. This is obviously not the case.

I wonder how many instances of this flu really exist and if the misinformation delineated by the press and the medical community is a tactic to avoid mass hysteria, which obviously hasn’t really worked anyways.

There were 40 cases in the US yesterday and according the CDC it’s up to 64 as of this writing. Remember that’s only confirmed cases. It’s on both coasts. This is no laughing matter.

She’s doing better. She says it’s like a regular flu but with a severe fever that hits like a ton of bricks. Only poor Mexicans without health insurance and access to decent hospitals are dying but this is way bigger than we are lead to believe.

I dropped off some chicken soup to her last night with a little gift. I placed a to go bag on her door step. I back away like she was a leper as she opened the door. She was shrouded in darkness only her back lit by glowing TV light. I told her to open up the bag because Jerry’s Famous Deli had given her a little treat. She opened the bag to find the pink stuffed pig I stuck inside. She almost started crying it made her feel so good. Since hugging me wasn’t possible she embraced the pig tightly. At that moment, to both of our surprises the pig began to sing “Old MacDonald Had a Farm…with an oink oink here and an oink oink there…(you know the rest)”. We both started laughing hysterically. Hopefully as they say it’s the best medicine.

I’ll try and keep you guys posted if there are anymore developments. For now…beddy budddeee beddy…that’s all folks.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • pariah May 29, 2009, 6:41 pm

    Flu vaccines have never been developed for Influenza A, which Swine Flu is.

  • jamesfurbush April 30, 2009, 12:48 pm

    In Scotty's defense, I thought he did a good job personalizing something that has been covered by the media only in terms of scare words like pandemic, or epidemic, number of deaths, end of the world, blah blah blah. That's why I decided to run the piece.

    There might have been some things we should have double checked in terms of medical aspects (which he addressed above), but that's on me for not copy editing more thoroughly and double checking with Scotty and removing any things we had doubts over.

    Blame me, as I'm the one who added that only poor, ie. unwealthy Mexican citizens without access to decent medical attention were the ones dying from this. To date, 159 have died. In America? Only 1. (It's also possible on 7 have died and not the 159) It's not an illogical conclusion that wealth and access to health care are at least two factors involved in the discrepancy. Am I concerned about this? Sure. But am I worried about dying? Not really.

    This sort of thing happens every few years (Avian Flu), only now it seems to be a reality instead of just manufactured panic.

    Still, I stand by his piece – what it's like to deal with this disease on a personal level when someone you care about is infected by it.

    Anyways, any slings and arrows should be pointed in my direction. Sorry."

  • Scotty D April 29, 2009, 10:28 pm

    Teresa, thank you for the concern. You seem to be highly informed so I appreciate your input.

    My girlfriend began feeling worst and was taken back to the emergency room yesterday. There it was determined that she is almost certainly suffering from the swine flu. Doctors took three cultures, froze them and sent them to Sacramento today where they are being processed.

    It was the belief of multiple doctors on both occasions that she is suffering from this swine flu. Unfortunately, the public will likely get the confirmation at the same time she does. The results are being MAILED to her! I’m assuming the state will alert the press before she gets the results.

    Fortunately, you’re most likely not going to die of swine flu. Teresa I’m assuming you’re not elderly, an infant or living in a Mexican village without the necessary medical supplies. So as you say, “PHEW” you’re probably in the clear.

    • MicroGeek May 29, 2009, 7:54 pm

      I should be able to provide some quick explanations for you Scott

      "It was the belief of multiple doctors on both occasions that she is suffering from this swine flu. Unfortunately, the public will likely get the confirmation at the same time she does. The results are being MAILED to her! I’m assuming the state will alert the press before she gets the results."

      As I am sure you are aware there is no way for a doctor/s to confirm swine flu without blood results, add to the fact that there is no symptomatic difference between swine flu and the regular flu at this time and it becomes quite apparent why she wasn't considered a confirmed case at that time. Now the fact that the results are going to be mailed to her and be released to the public (sans her personal information) is actually common sense once you have an understand of how the Swine flu testing is currently done. As of right now the turn around time on swine flu is 2-3 days minimum. Add these 2-3 days on to the time it took the patient to actually seek medical after symptoms showed up (say another 2-3 days) to the incubation period during which no symptoms would be seen (another 2-3 days) and you find that the earliest you would get a positive swine flu test is around 6-9 days. Taking into consideration that the length of a flu illness is usually doesn't exceed 2 weeks, its highly likely that the patient has already gone through at least half of the illnesses normal cycle.

      So there really isn't any need to rush the results to her, because she will have already been dealing with the symptoms for 4-6 days and the actual illness for 6-9 days. Add to the fact that a positive test wont change her treatment and you can easily see that there is no problem with sending her results to her via the mail (which only takes 1-2 days). Now in reporting her results to the public it should be done as quickly as possible so that accurate data on the number and spread of cases can be given to those people who can put that information to good use.

      "Fortunately, you’re most likely not going to die of swine flu. Teresa I’m assuming you’re not elderly, an infant or living in a Mexican village without the necessary medical supplies. So as you say, “PHEW” you’re probably in the clear."

      Your right in that we are most likely not going to die of swine flu, we have now seen that this variant isn't very deadly. But remember 4 weeks ago when you wrote this most of information coming out of mexico was saying that a large portion of the deaths were relatively healthy 20-30 year olds, which while poor and lacking advanced medical care should NOT be dieing from the flu. These results were eerily reminiscent of the death pattern seen in the flu pandemic of 1918, during which most of the deaths were seen in 20-40 year old range and remember this pandemic killed between 50 and a 100 million people (in reference the total number of deaths from WW2 is around 74 million).

      So while we now know that you were accurate in your assessment at that time you wrote this there wasn't enough information to substantiate your claim and there is also the fact that the Swine flu might just come back bigger and badder this fall.

  • Teresa April 29, 2009, 8:10 pm

    Not only did he back away from her like a leper, BUT HE ALSO LIKENED HER TO A MONKEY. Now, that's true love.

    There are so many quotable quotes here, I just don't know where to begin. Clearly, Scotty D doesn't understand that his girlfriend cannot truly have been actually a "confirmed" case of swine flu just based solely on that fact that she was traveling when she got sick and had a flu shot. Many other viral infections could be described by the same characteristics. Confirming swine flu takes an actual viral culture, not just a list of symptoms reviewed in a hospital. It takes time, and if the above post isn't missing information from the story, his girlfriend didn't allow the hospital staff to perform those tests before checking her out of the hospital. So his little "Lastly, according to a regional map there are no cases of the virus in LA County. This is obviously not the case." Is just ridiculous. Now, if she did allow a culture to be taken, and it tested positive for A/H5N1, then the story makes more sense. But again, that takes time.

    Good thing we have Scotty D to sound the alarm, and create the conspiracy theory that there are more confirmed cases than are being reported, info that is being withheld or that "the misinformation delineated by the press and the medical community is a tactic to avoid mass hysteria," – because without a culture, that map he links to is, technically, accurate. Confirmed means tested positive for H5N1, not just "got sick while traveling & had a flu shot."

    Oh yeah, p.s. according to him, we don't need to worry here in the US, because "Only poor Mexicans without health insurance and access to decent hospitals are dying" – well, PHEW. That's a relief to me.

    To Scotty D's girlfriend: I hope you feel better soon. Whatever you are sick with, I'm sure it's not fun.

  • Brennon April 28, 2009, 7:36 pm

    I'm glad you posted this. Good show, my man.

  • Elish Danglish April 28, 2009, 7:06 pm

    Damn sweet story. Love that relationship bond. Good to hear everything is going to be ok. Love to all.