Monday, September 28, 2009

My Own Swine Flu Story

Yesterday afternoon, we received the sort of phone call that ties a big knot in the pit of a parent's stomach. It was from the father of one of the boys in my son's Boy Scout troop. His son had the swine flu. Unlike those who merely claimed to have it, or to pass along rumors of swine flu, these parents had taken their son to a clinic and had it confirmed.

Last spring, there was another swine flu hysteria that hit our neighborhood and much of the nation. The Fort Worth ISD closed for a week based on one case, as did dozens of school districts in the area. Public events in Denton and Tarrant Counties, including the very popular Mayfest in Fort Worth, were cancelled. The local Girl Scout Council cancelled all activities, from planned service projects to camping trips. The mere threat of swine flu literally shut down Tarrant County, population 1.6 million.

After the overreaction last spring, we've all been rolling our eyes about the predicted swine flu epidemic for the fall. Is it really expected that half of all Americans could end up with swine flu? I'm still skeptical of that figure, but it has struck our neighborhood.

Our family knows of at least six children in my son's class to have contracted swine flu, including two other boys in my son's scout troop. So, when we received the call about one more sixth grader with swine flu, we headed over to a 24-hour clinic for testing.

The test they conduct takes about 15 minutes to determine if a person has influenza "A" or influenza "B" or nothing. The nurse told us that no one is conducting swine flu tests on people unless that person is already very sick and in the hospital or has a severely compromised immune system. So, what we know for certain is that our son has influenza "A."

Swine flu is a branch off of influenza "A." Doctors, nurses and other health care professionals are assuming that anyone who tests positive for influenza "A" right now has swine flu, because it's too early for the yearly flu season.

My son had a low-grade fever (about 99.5), a headache, and a nonproductive cough. His sister had only a low-grade fever (about 99.4).Here is a good place for information on swine flu.

After the doctor's visit, I went to fill the prescriptions and grab some food while my husband took the kids home. I had to go to two different pharmacies before I found one that had Tamiflu, the medication for influenza. The wait time for service was two hours, including a foul-up by the pharmacist. I was home by 11 p.m. and had everyone medicated and in bed by midnight.

The cost of my evening was approximately $150 for two kids. That's with good insurance.

Money has been tight around our house during the last month, because of car repairs, an unexpected replacement of glasses for my son, and a couple of non-emergency outings. So, I paid for the doctor and pharmaceuticals with my emergency checking account, draining most of what was there.

I had plenty of time to think about the young woman that the Left has been exclaiming died because she lacked health insurance. And, honestly, the more I thought about it, the angrier I became.

These idiots either have forgotten what it's like to be 23 or they are so despicable that death is only meant to be exploited to them. As it turns out, the young woman died of pneumonia, not swine flu, and had been sick for two weeks. If our experience means anything (and I realize it is anecdotal, but still), it is that you have to seek medical attention early to prevent greater or even fatal complications. Oddly enough, most people, even the poor, recognize this and seek treatment. Young people who tend to think nothing bad will happen to them? Not so much.

I jokingly told my husband that last night's experience almost made me change my mind about Obamacare. But then, I started thinking about what would have happened had Obamacare been in effect.

There probably wouldn't have been the 24-hour clinic close to our house because many doctors would have retired. That would have meant either a trip to the emergency room and a very long wait or waiting until the morning, when my son's condition would have been worse. Even if we'd gotten in to see a doctor, there's a good chance that the testing we needed would have been in short supply. We might have been told to go home until symptoms were worse. And even if we'd seen a doctor and been tested for swine flu, there's a good chance there would have been a shortage of Tamiflu.

Why do I say these things? Because rationing of testing and treatment already takes place in countries with socialized medicine.

I was happy with the health care we received through the American health care system. I'd hate to see what might have happened if Obamacare goes through.