All semester we’ve been getting emails about the status of the H1N1 flu. Students and faculty are told to stay home if they have the flu and isolate themselves from the rest of the population. This marks a big change in the campus culture. We’ve mostly always just gone to class no matter what.
But of course, now we’re hitting the season where everyone’s getting colds, sore throats, coughs, stomach viruses, sinus headaches — and all the normal stuff we get this time of year. All this newfound sensitivity to sickness raises a dilemma. Do we heed the warnings and stay home when we’re sick, even if it’s not something exotic like the swine flu?
I had a dreadful headache today, with nausea and a fever. But it’s probably not H1N1. Shaggy Hair Boy arrived home announcing that his roommate has the flu. Or at least, he’s pretty sure he does. Students are being told not to go to the health center, so he’s just making his best eighteen-year-old guess. Boy in Black says he doesn’t know if what he had a few weeks ago was the flu or something else: “I always have aches and pains from playing Ultimate hard.” He definitely had a high fever that made him kind of delirious.
I keep getting emails from students, who are sick, but aren’t sure if they are “that sick.” A colleague tells me he thinks he had the H1N1 flu, but it wasn’t that bad, and now he hopes he’s immune. In the meantime, it’s the busiest time of the semester: end of the month deadlines are looming, advising for next semester begins soon, and I’ve got stacks of papers to grade. I’ve got a long to-do list of stuff that needs to be done before I head south next week for a conference in Southern City at the Beginning of the Alphabet. My plan is to wake up in the morning feeling all better. Like my students, I just don’t have time right now to get sick.