Why I Want Swine Flu.

by Leslie Morgan Steiner

 

Swine flu. It’s on NPR in my car. The local news every night. The front page of The Washington Post and the New York Times. Even my Facebook wall!

 

Not the flu itself. I mean stories about swine flu. How to avoid getting it. When to quarantine your household. When to rush to the hospital. HOW WHERE WHEN the vaccine is available. The thousands who were vaccinated today! The millions who went home disappointed! The people who lie about pregnancy or underlying illness to pilfer the vaccine!

 

I feel like the only mom in America who actually WANTS to get swine flu.

 

Now let me stress – before you wipe your holier-than-thou nostrils and throw snotty tissues at me – that I do not advocate intentional exposure to the virus. I’m in a unique position. I have no underlying conditions. I am not pregnant (oh yeah!). I am healthy (physically at least; mentally is another story). My kids are robust dynamos ages 7 to 12 with no risk factors either. We rank just below “nowhere” on the nation’s priority list for vaccinations. However, I do have two relatives battling cancer and undergoing chemo and radiation, who are legitimately terrified of getting swine flu because, um, it would probably kill them. I would never belittle anyone’s fears about illness and my heart goes out to every family who has lost a loved one to this awful virus.

 

But I want it. Now. Now is a good time. I don’t have any deadlines looming, presentations due, or business travel planned. Both my husband and babysitter are A) in town and B) healthy themselves.

 

So can we just get swine flu now and get it over with?

 

Because otherwise I know what will happen.

 

My husband will be on a business trip to the North Pole. All current and former babysitters will have final exams or great-grandparent funerals to attend. The entire Steiner family will get swined between November 5 and December 8, and I will have to renege on a series of speaking events and consulting commitments that have been on my calendar for the past six months and that account for 30% of my annual income. Neither I nor any of my kids will die, which is naturally good news. My career will not end. My marriage will survive. But there is always the possibility that Oprah will call and Barbara Walters will finally invite me to co-host The View. Because of piggie flu, I will have hidden my cell phone under six pillows.

 

The bedrock of being a good mom while simultaneously meeting work obligations lies in careful forecasting and plotting to steer clear of unnecessary drama, conflicts and suffering.

 

If I could get swine flu today, I could make it all happen.

alistortelini
10.14.10

Pregnant women should take prescription flu medicines if they are diagnosed with the new swine flu so I would not know what somebody would want that.

leslie morgan s...
11.05.09

Leslie Morgan Steiner

Dear Hiccup -- This is one of the seamy secrets of parenthood: how disappointing and awful it is when your spouse doesn't take care of you when you are sick. For nearly 10 years of motherhood I refused to get sick because I knew no one would take care of the kids in my absence! But I have to say my husband has gotten better (finally). Last time I was sick he did EVERYTHING. And about two years ago when I was sick the day of our daughter's birthday party, he handled the whole thing beautifully. I feel for you!

hiccup
11.05.09

I just want it so I can finally stay in bed for few days...last year I may have already had it - I certainly had the worst flu of my life and got strep on top of it. I asked my husband to take me to the hospital, but of course he said no, they wouldn't admit me for having the flu he said. I lost 8 lbs in three days. Then he got it. He sure was fast to get that anti-viral prescription and just get waited on while he lay in bed. I still had it and strep, and I'm not sure if I'll ever forgive him for not taking care of me when he wasn't even sick yet, and leaving all the child care to me once he was. He has no idea how big a dent in our marriage that flu was. But now I know. If I get sick, call my friend Lisa, and have her take me to the doctors. Stupid me for letting someone else decide how sick or not sick I am. And not knowing when to put my own health first.

leslie morgan s...
11.03.09

Leslie Morgan Steiner

Today is election day in Virginia's gubernatorial race...and the big news is that there is hand sanitizer at every voting booth! Reported on local tv news channels.

MyHormonesMadeMeDoIt
11.03.09

The swine flu has everyone, including me, crazy. Today I actually considered taking wipes into the gym to wipe down my machine pre-workout. Over the top much.
http://www.myhormonesmademe.com

leslie morgan s...
11.02.09

Leslie Morgan Steiner

One of the ironies here is that although we keep escaping swine flu, everyone in my family (myself included) keeps getting sick. For past 10 days, someone in the house has been sick in bed every single day. No piggie flu -- but really bad colds and viruses. This is one of the hidden costs of motherhood no one tells you about in advance. It is really hard to go to work when your kids are home sick!

ginnylou
11.02.09

I just love your take on the Epidemic of the Century!! As a pregnant health-care worker, married to a health-care worker, and mom of a petri dish...er...toddler...I feel like I have spent the better part of the last 3 months searching for someone to give all 3 of us both flu vaccines. I am SO TIRED of worrying about the flu! We are down to needing just the second H1N1 booster for my little guy, so hopefully the ordeal is nearly over. But, regardless, I feel your pain, here's hoping for a flu-free season!