No matter how much you read or hear about an internationally feared illness, nothing accurately prepares you for a super-close-to-home hit.
Last night, the Town Crier made it known that the school at which I work will be closed Monday because 2 students have confirmed cases of Swine Flu.
It's true, too. A public write-up (a pdf file) and everything. Not just a rumor or a trick of someone trying desperately to get a day off.
I'm not sure which kids are ill, but my heart is much heavier than I expected it to be. I know just about every kid at the school, and I hate to think any one of them being so seriously sick. To make matters even more distressing, I was unofficially told that the children have been placed in quarantine, hence they cannot even have contact with their parents.
As I drove by the school a few minutes ago, I saw a major news station's van parked outside, its towering antenna creating an alien-like presence in the tiny parking lot. I imagine this is what the child must feel like- an alien in the only world they know.
Just as horrible as this is for the kid, so is it horrible for the parents. Imagine having to spend Mothers' Day away from your little one and knowing of their solitary suffering.
It's really something the way that many people don't particularly enjoy sharing...unless it's germs that they are making available to everyone! It only takes about a second to cover your mouth, sanitize your hands, or use a rag instead of your sleeve. Failure to do so exposes others, especially the very young or very old or ill, to the very critters that our own bodies are trying to kill off.