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October 24, 2009 - Kathleen Palumbo
My daughter and I spent Saturday afternoon at the emergency room. As the clock ticked oh so slowly, we found ourselves reading signs to pass the time when we happened across it – the H1N1 sign. Simply put, if you were visiting the ER that day with flu-like symptoms you were asked to sit in “the designated area.”
For us, boredom led to humor (OK, for us, anything leads to humor), and so it went. Scanning the room, we saw it – the flu area. Separated from society, sat one man. Not only did he appear ill - he appeared shamed - it was nearly comical. One glance at my daughter, and it started.
Our thoughts included a neon flashing FLU sign above those unfortunate to have to sit alone, meant to assist them in finding one another more readily, or perhaps simple games meant to make their wait-time less tedious.
For instance, instead of the festival-like “guess my weight,” game, the staff could offer “guess my temperature” attempts with those above 102 degrees receiving an “I’m Infectious” T-shirt (couples in attendance receive a matching “I’m with infectious” tee). Hoping to offer something for everyone, for the gamblers: FLU bingo – fill all four corners labeled H1N1 and win a free dose of body-ache relieving Advil; and for the adults only: Tamiflu-laden gelatin shots.
Although certainly no laughing matter, the H1N1 virus, like everything else, was subject to our somewhat questionable sense of humor. Like the virus itself, you either get it or you don’t.
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