Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Swine Flu

One of the most fantastic things that has happened since William's transplant is that we don't have to worry constantly about the sudden life threatening episodes that were happening so frequently, and almost continually this time last year. We now have swine flu and most parents are concerned about the their children contracting the disease. Thankfully, for most children, swine flu results in 3 or 4 days, a week at most, being unwell before making a complete recovery. I am concerned for Hope and Ellie but really just that they will be feeling yukky for a while and it will be unpleasant for them. I don't have any concerns at all that anything more than that will happen if or when they get it. William is, of course, different in that he is a transplant recipient and is kept alive by a balance of drugs to supress his immune system to stop him rejecting his new bowel but not too much so as he is overcome by infection that his body has no ability to fight. This is explained to parents at great length at the time of transplant assessment and we are fully aware of the life long implications when we consent to the operation. This is why transplants are only offered when there is no alternative and the child will not survive much longer without one. William is amazingly healthy these days. I have had several colds lasting days, even weeks and he has had a sniffle of sore throat for less than a day, if anything at all. So, I hope that he will be able to overcome swine flu if her were to get it. Afterall, he has overcome a very severe pneumonia not long after his transplant when he was on a lot more immunosupression and was still very weak, nothing like his is now. Then, he was really ill and nearly in intensive care but bounced back in days, amazing the doctors. I am sure he will bounce back from swine flu too but you just never know do you. He is immunosupressed and, if he were very unwell, the level of his medications could be reduced to allow him to fight an infection, but then he may reject his bowel.

I was terrified about swine flu initially. I stocked up on face masks and tins of food and was ready to seal the children off from the world until it was over. Then, I chilled a bit and was not worried at all, until today. It seems William could well have been very closely exposed to it over the last few days and, once again, I feel a bit like we are haivng to keep a close watch and hope and pray he doesn't suddenly get sick and end up in hospital again. On the other hand, I could well have had swine flu myself last week and he is fine. At the very least, I had a really rotten cold and he didn't catch that so he is obviously pretty strong.

I'm not sure where I am going with this entry really. It is late night musing and venting to a large degree but I guess the main thing is we all want to be able to predict who will get swine flu, who will get very sick and who will die. The media is going crazy trying to predict these things and, in doing so, terrifying us poor parents, especially us who have more vulnerable children. It isn't helpful. I saw a poor official being grilled on BBC Breakfast this morning and he was doing his very best but he just doesn't know.

I am not going to closet William away. Life is for living and we don't know what is around the corner. We just have to make the best of the present moment. I was talking to someone today about a prayer my Grandma told me to adopt when I was a teenager. It is the serenity prayer:

'God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference...'

There is nothing I can do to take away the threat of swine flu so there is absolutely nothing to be gained from worrying about it and, as my Grandma would have said again 'dwelling on it'. So, instead of going to bed playing out all the possible scenarios I am going to go to bed with a good book and forget about it.

Having worked all that out for myself, I could delete this post but maybe I will leave it just in case it helps anyone else to try and stop worrying about it too.

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