Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Tuna & Powdered Milk-A Nod to Avian Flu-H5n1
My teenage kids have been socking away their milk money because of bird flu. Not, as one might think, to stock up on "tuna and powdered milk", which they wouldn't consider consuming, but for their dear mother's (that would be me) psychological evaluation. Two months ago when I began stockpiling food and supplies and placed mandatory handwashing in effect and increased my already diligent use of bleach on kitchen surfaces, they came to the consensus that I had finally gone the way of Howard Hughes. I became a household joke in my own household. I had to hide my rubber gloves so they wouldn't see me use them when I cleaned up the dead bird that one of our cats brought to me on a cold, January morning. I erased my tracks on the toolbar so they wouldn't know about my late night searches for "H5n1, unusual bird deaths, 1918 flu". So, this week when the major TV news outlets gave wide coverage to the possible (I am a realist, it may not happen) flu pandemic and Michael Leavitt, Secretary of Health and Human Services, United States Department of Health and Human Services recommended stashing food under our beds, they took notice. They wondered aloud, could mom actually be onto something, has she recognized a trend before us trendsetting youngsters? Considering the US Government reaction to recent natural disasters, this mom, at the risk of being an alarmist, is preparing for an outbreak of a previously unknown virulent flu. Food, water and medical supplies are not a guarantee that we'll make it through alive. We need oxygen, ventilators and pharmaceuticals that I just can't seem to find at my local grocery. This is a serious issue and I hope that our government can provide something better than tuna and powdered milk under the bed, which at the very least could cause an insect problem. And no one in this household wants to be around when I spot a bug, a fear that no amount of therapy could resolve.