Sunday, September 19, 2010

Beginning of Flu Season?

Since last week, between a local epidemic of Salmonella and perceived flu-like symptoms, I have washed my hands 7,542 times (they are ready to fall off). I have lost one really nice pen thanks to the assbag who sneezed on it while she signed her discharge instructions; now I religiously use hand sanitizer on my pen after anyone uses it. If they are really grubby individuals I use another pen and throw it away. If I don't even want them to touch the pen at all, I scribble something indecipherable myself in lieu of their signature and hand them the copy. Yeah.

I have also de-bugged my stethoscope and shoes (don't ask) approximately 3345 times, had to chaperone too many pelvic exams to count for STD's, and collected several stool cultures. Therefore, I am so not looking forward to mining flu swabs once it is determined that the flu season has officially begun. How does one collect a flu swab? I'm glad you ask. Please keep this in mind before running to the ER with a cough and sniffles.

We wear a mask, of course, and gloves. Then we take a slim Q-tippy apparatus on a very narrow bendy wire and PLUNGE it deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep into the nostril where it stays for about a minute. It sucks big time, although I will say most women tolerate it better than men for some reason.

Everyone is far less afraid of Swine flu, or more accurately, the H1N1 flu (thanks to the pork industry and their SWHIning) than they were last year. CVS has advertised the availability of flu vaccines in their stores for about a month now, way ahead of the primary care offices; who knows when they will begin booking appointments for that. I think it is still too hot out for people to worry about flu in this neck of the woods, but come the first lighting of the wood stove the onslaught will begin with a vengeance.

Yes, it's nasty. Yes, people feel lousy. For the most part it is not the end of the world; regardless of how much you feel like you are dying, the odds are good that you won't.

We've had a number of patients with fever, cough, sore throat. None sick enough to be seen by their PCP, and certainly not sick enough to go to the ER to be told to rest, take Ibuprofen, and drink fluids 'til you are better.

So we put a mask on all the coughers, and have resurrected the Altar. Gotta protect our secretaries.