There has been a LOT of media hype here about the swine flu outbreak, with newspapers devoting their front pages to it several days running. Or should I say, devoting their front pages to the death toll in Norway, and the fact that it was higher than in any other Scandinavian country. That was weeks ago around the time the government started the mass vaccination programme, starting with those in high-risk categories. Not long after the media frenzy subsided somewhat, my younger daughter came down with what I believe was swine flu. Several cases were confirmed at her school and she is NEVER ill. She didn’t have a test but did take Tamiflu. After the quietest week of her life, she went back to school, and surprisingly none of the rest of us got sick. Since her experience, I feel more relaxed about the whole swine flu issue. I’m grateful not to have a young baby or pregnancy to worry about, but realise that, after all, this is 'just flu' for most people.
Last week, the vaccination programme finally reached our kommune with the under-fives going first. So, on Thursday, I took the toddler who has just turned three, to the local health station for his jab. ‘And would you like it too?’ the nurse asked (I'm translating for you, obviously :)). Well I hadn’t actually considered it but I thought, ‘what the hell, why not?’ and handed over a 100 Kr note. The injection hardly hurt at all so I didn’t cry. Toddler did briefly but only out of surprise I think. Being the experienced mommy I am, I was ready with a cookie treat to quell the tears. Twenty minutes later we left with me feeling rather pleased with myself that I had been vaccinated as most of the adults I know are still waiting their turn until all the kids are done first.
Not so smug now though. I could live with the sore arm. I suppose I could even put up with the scar, which together with the mark I have from my childhood TB jab, now makes it look like I’ve had a close encounter with an upper-arm munching vampire. Yeah, that Robert Pattison actor guy. (This is to let you know that I am vaguely aware of the vampire hysteria rampant among teenage girls at the moment. Vaguely). No what is really hacking me off is that having not had the slightest sniffle all year, even when exposed to real flu, I am now totally congested, with headaches and a runny nose. Toddler tike is fine but I'm bitterly dragging myself around saying things like, 'I can't believe the vaccination has made me sick. I can't believe I paid 100 Kr to feel this crap.' Elder daughter, who won't be vaccinated until Dec 16, enquired if it's only adults who suffer like this after the jab. All I can say is: let's bloody hope so.