Monday, August 24, 2009

Oi, stop chucking all them bloody spears!*

Right now I'm feeling a bit like Michael Caine playing Lieutenant Bromhead in Zulu. The first wave of the attack has passed and the troops are seeing to the revetments and mealie bag barricades in anticipation of the next wave. Happily thus far, the hospital isn't on fire.

Now you're all sitting there wondering what the hell I'm rambling on about. That's o.k. Sometimes I wonder myself. But no, this time there is a point, honest.

I'm talking about the "Swine Flu". The reason I haven't so far is because early on in the pandemic we were a bit busy preparing, like Michaels tiny band of Red Coats, piling up the barricades. Then it all went a bit berserk, with assegais flying about all over the place... er, the phones ringing off the hook, mainly with the "worried well" but in amongst these a fair few who were poorly. Due to an appaling coinicidence of timing Ambridge was hit with a bit of a summer cold bug just as the flu hype was really getting going which didn't help. In the end we peaked with something over 50 flu related calls a day in addition to our normal workload, which doesn't sound a lot until you figure that's three full additional surgeries worth, with each call needing at least ten minutes to triage and advise, and with a number ending in additional home visits.

Just when it looked like the dam was about to burst the National Flu Line, which had been promised, then posponed, then rushed into service anyway, started, and the calls went away, almost overnight. Then I went on hols, and now I'm back and all is calm again. The only snag is they tell us to expect it back in the autumn. Perfectly timed to coincide with the expected seasonal flu taking off. Since we have no tool for discriminating between the two, things might just get exciting again soon. Especially since this latest outbreak has rammed home to the whole contry that Flu is a significant and occasionally fatal illness (which it undeniably is), and also that it is "treatable" with Tamiflu (which is, sadly, far from true).

So here I sit, and just one question remains. Is it time to learn the words to "Men of Harlech" then?

* Rather disappointingly he never actually said that in the film, but I tend to the view that he should have ;-)


Anonymous said...

Do you maybe still have something in a cupboard for Avian flu? ;-)

Swiss Missus said...

Three out of four Swiss aren't worried at all about Swine Flu, it said yesterday in the paper. 50% don't believe they'll get it, and the other 50% believe they might, but it won't be more serious than 'normal' flu (which is ghastly enough, if you ask me).

Of course we've only had around 800 confirmed cases so far...

Doctor Jest said...

The Famulus-- welcome. Sadly no. Avian flu is still the one we loose the most sleep over tho'. If nothing else H1N1 has been a good dummy run, and has exposed a goodly number of Dummies too.

Swiss Mrs-- indeed. If anything local experience of H1 N1 has it a little milder. When it comes back though it will likely have cut some teeth :-(