Thinking about Swine Flu

April 30th, 2009

Well, who isn’t?

So I was having lunch with two of my friends the other day when someone in the restaurant coughed.  There was a pause in the conversation.  We all looked at each other.  One of my friends said, “Did you hear that?  Are you thinking what I’m thinking-that it’s Swine Flu?” 

Of course, we were all thinking that.  What else are our minds going to go to these days?   Even my kids are going through this-every time someone sneezes in a classroom, the rest of the class cries out, “Swine Flu!”

Oddly, though, I don’t feel particularly worried about the Swine Flu which is weird, since I’m the Official Worrier of the LaZebnik Family.  My husband takes it more seriously than I do, but I think that’s because he just read a book about the huge Spanish Flu epidemic, whenever that was–he told me, but I’m not a good listener.  The Spanish Flu did a job on the world, so you can’t blame him for feeling a bit nervous after absorbing all that. 

(Speaking of reading stuff, years ago I read Stephen King’s The Stand and I will say that any time a disease appears to be spreading, my mind instantly leaps to thoughts of the entire world sickening and dying.  But that thought doesn’t bother me.  It seems kind of cool.  Except when I think about people I know succombing.  That’s not cool.  But The Stand is fiction anyway and gets into all sorts of God and the Devil scenarios if I remember correctly.)

Here’s something I’ve learned about myself over the years: I worry about things that I’m responsible for, not about things I can’t control.   I worry about whether we made the right choice in schools, about whether I offended someone by saying the wrong thing at a party, about whether I should change my diet . . .  But I don’t worry about things I can’t control, like whether a flu will become a pandemic. 

So far, most of the people I know are cracking jokes about it on Facebook and the like.  We’re all essentially waiting it out, waiting to see if it’s going to be something big or not.  Latest indications are not, which doesn’t surprise me.  Most things that get lots of attention and predictions don’t ever amount to anything–it’s the ones that sneak up on you from behind that change your life and the world.   

I’d be completely calm about it if I weren’t going away for the weekend and leaving my kids.  As I mentioned in my previous blog, I don’t go away without the whole family very often.  I’m looking forward to it and so are the kids since someone fun will be staying with them. But it does add an extra worry.  What if this virus thing flares up suddenly over the weekend and the U.S. government shuts down either the Boston or LA airport? 

You know what?  Just writing that makes me realize how silly it is.  My brother the scientist would be scolding me for worrying about stuff that’s statistically almost non-existent (and then he’d remind me how statistically more dangerous it is to drive on the freeways and that we do that all the time). 

Am I deceiving myself?  Should I be more scared?  Are  you scared?  Let me know what you’re thinking.  Meanwhile, I’ll be packing.  (And driving on the freeway today.  Oh, dear.)

  • Kim says:

    There’s the difference, I worry about things I can’t control rarely about what I can. I have faith in myself that borders on arrogance, or maybe it doesn’t border and I work hard to hide it, or maybe not hard enough. I think you maybe rubbing off on me.

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