A Panoply of Tips for Surviving the Coming Pandemic
First of all, I’m not a doctor, I’m some kind of comedian, but if you get bird flu chances are you won’t be seeing a doctor anyway since they’ll be first to go. Hospitals could easily turn into morgues by default. If the avian flu steps off a plane at an airport near you anytime soon it will spread faster than a rumor, leaving death in its wake and making driving extremely hazardous.
All right, look. This is the flu, dammit, just the flu. What would Welby do? Or Hawkeye? Or Doc from Gunsmoke? Forget the last one. Point is it’s flu. Transmits through spit droplets misting the air every time you say have a nice day. Wiped on everything you touch. Imagine these germs in florescent blue as you touch things.
Irononically (or maybe not, since this is looking more and more like an act of God, His way of saying, “You think you’re tough?”), avian flu is going to love air travel and will be hitching a ride on the first sniffle. Modern aircraft are equipped with devices that recirculate tired germs, keeping them aloft and breathable even hours after passengers have deplaned.
Once again we get terror in the air, but this one can’t be x-rayed, blamed or occupied.
Dig in, don’t fly, and come with me now as we visit Victim 9875308257, whom we’ll just call “Vic.”
He’s a broker in Chicago, takes the train, wears a face mask, rubber gloves, carries wipes, has tight cups on his glasses and wears a fedora because he thinks it’s cool; his nose is too big he notices in the window through which he can see the huddled people on the streets below, some of them repeatedly run over by cars like roadkill, others simply taking a rest.
Arriving home he sneezes, freezes, say jesus. Calling his wife, he waits until she comes to the door, but she’s not home. Nobody’s home. Vic waits in the yard, refusing to infect any interior, including his car. Eventually Mary comes home, Mary, his beloved wife. She gets the BreathEasy BodyBag out of the closet and hands it to him on the end of a pole. He steps inside and zips up. The kids hose him down. He’s freezing. Shaking now, his fever fogging the bag, dizzy, disoriented, a pinata full of pandemic, he stumbles inside, goes straight to his room that he prepared for himself immediately after reading this blog.
Because Vic is the master of his domain, he gets a miserable corner of the unfinished basement, next to the furnace where it’s warm. His area is small and completely sealed with transparent plastic, seamed with duct tape. Blankets make curtains. He has 40 gallons of drinking water in 1-qt. containers because he’ll be too weak to lift a gallon of water. He has a phone, a TV, a remote, another remote, a chain for the remote, straws, towels, toilet paper, camp toilet, all within inches of his reach. He may also have a Gideon’s Bible handy, turned to something at random.
Vic’s goal is twofold. Number one: save his family by removing himself from them completely. Number two: Keep himself hydrated or die.
Like most people Vic turns into a whiny, moaning, mopey person that people want to smack. Nobody’s going to smack Vic now. He settles in with a pamphlet, The Simpson’s “So You’re Going to Die.”
Vic has bird flu, a respiratory disease affecting the nose, throat and lungs that comes on suddenly and includes fever, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, nasal congestion and body aches coupled with an inability to stay awake and wake up. This is the problem. Vic is about to die of dehydration because he forgot to set the clock.
He sets the clock. Every 3 hours it goes off. Another glass of water. Set the clock. Back to sleep. Repeat. Or die.
After a week, Vic feels better! He wants to burst out of his bubble and go for a bike ride! He snaps on the TV. Snow. He runs through the channels, more snow. He calls upstairs to beloved Mary and the children, hears Raoul growl and growl louder. Vic settles on a dusty station from out of state. The democratic candidates are debating health care. Howard Dean is against the wholesale burning of cities and wants to test radiation as a means of killing the still active virus haunting millions of cadavers. The Bush administration is out of the picture, somebody named President Warner is President. Baywatch comes on. Vic falls asleep.