I remember scoffing at the whole “swine-flu scare” that started way back in April of this year. I thought it was just another piece of propaganda in the media. As the months have passed, the scare seems more real. In Oman, here are some facts (taken from the SQU Hospital website): As of September 2nd 2009, a total of 1145 people were infected with H1N1 in Oman and only a few of them required hospital admission. Total deaths from H1N1 in Oman were 10 as of September 2nd 2009. The department of Communicable Diseases Surveillance and Control (DCDSC) collects, compiles and analyzes information about the new H1N1 virus in Oman since the beginning of the outbreak. They have hand sanitizer dispensers in just about every building throughout the city including malls and schools. I did a small survey among my students. Of my 51 students, 4 had swine-flu before the semester started, 2 were out of my classes for a week during the semester due to H1N1 and 5 had direct family members who contacted the disease. The hard part about avoiding the disease is that many of my male students put their hand forward and insist on hand-shaking when entering or leaving class! The last thing I want to do is be rude so I tended to shake everyone’s hand that asked and would later rub my hands with hand sanitizer I now carry everywhere with me.
Well, this past Monday I had a SEVERE migraine that lasted from noon until late into Tuesday morning. I also had several other symptoms including pain in my chest and a strong feeling to vomit. The most alarming symptom to me was the sudden dizziness or sense of confusion I seemed to be feeling. The pain was SO intense and I felt so deathly ill, that I decided to get checked out for H1N1 at a nearby free clinic. My honey caught this photo of me as I came out of the clinic. I went there after having many of the H1N1 symptoms that seem to be posted everywhere these days. It was quite an experience getting tested for swine-flu. First they put a thin plastic cover over some tongue-thermometre and asked me to stick it under my tongue. I couldn’t help but think about how many others had done so (and some with H1N1, no doubt!) before me and that perhaps people who were perfectly healthy BEFORE coming to such clinics might walk out infected…Anyway, I was led into another room where a nurse stuck a stick with a swab on the end down my throat. That wasn’t the worst part. The worst was when she stuck a similar stick several inches up my right nostil. It was SO painful; it felt like she stabbed my brain! I was directed to the pharmacy where I picked up these meds:
Oral Rehydration Salts (to drink when needed), 40 Paracetamol tablets (2 tablets every 6 hours depending on the pain) and 10 Loratadine tablets (to be taken once daily at night).
The next step was TO WAIT. I asked my wife to wait out the next 48 hours at her sister’s place just to be safe. These were the instructions for waiting: Well, I waited 24 hours and still no contact. I thought about the possibilities of the nurses writing my cell-phone number down incorrectly or a host of other mistakes that could have been made. I decided to drive over to the clinic and ask for my results in person. The main reason being that I wanted my pregnant wife home but I didn’t want to put her or our baby at risk! Was I supposed to keep waiting and waiting “in limbo”? The Indian nurse kept referring me back to the useless message. I told her that they should inform all people of the results, regardless of the outcome for peace of mind rather than wondering. She finally told me that the results were negative after repeating time and time again that it was normally “against policy” to share the results in person.
Anyway, thank God I don’t have H1N1! For any of you out there that might be suffering from sickness of any kind, my heart goes out to you. It really sucks to be sick!!! For any of you Arabic speakers out there, here is an informative video put out by SQU Hospital: http://www.squ.edu.om/A-H1N1/animation/H1N1-1.wmv
Here is a promise of the Bible I can claim: “Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. (Psalm 91:5-10) Thank you, LORD!!!