The blog of photographer Kim Ayres

Rogan has Swine Flu. Probably

Thursday lunchtime we got a phone call from the high school saying my 14 year old son, Rogan, wasn't feeling well and to go and collect him. He certainly seemed a bit under the weather and an irritiating cough he's had for weeks took a definite turn for the worse.

Last night he slept really badly and spent most of today on the couch feeling miserable. By late this afternoon he was complaining of quite a bad headache and seemed to have a bit of a temperature.

Given the terrifying ordeal Attila the Mom has been going through as her son has been hospitalised over the past 2 weeks with swine flu, and the fact that 9 miles down the road, Kirkcudbright High School has had 1/3 of pupils off school because of it, we thought it time to call the doctor.

I was told to take Rogan up to the Health Centre, but not take him in until I had alerted the receptionist who would make sure an isolation room was set up for him to be seen in.

I wondered if I should start panicking, but thought I should at least wait until the doctor had seen him, just in case Rogan was over reacting and making a lot of fuss about nothing (something, I should say, he denies ever having done).

It seemed odd seeing the doctor wearing a plastic apron, rubber gloves and a face mask, but he didn't seem to be panicking.

Rogan's temperature was taken, chest was listened to and throat was peered down.

"It looks like he's probably got Swine Flu," said the doctor, "with secondary infections in the throat and chest." He said it all straight faced (as far as I could tell behind the mask) but he still didn't seem to be panicking.

I wasn't sure if I should start panicking now. I felt it would only be right if someone started panicking, but Rogan seemed quite calm about the whole thing too. In fact I thought I detected a slight air of "I told you so" smugness about him.

As the doctor typed into the computer then printed off a couple of prescriptions, I thought I should at least find out whether we should be locking ourselves in our house for a month and painting a red cross on the door.

"How long should we expect him to be off school?" I asked.

"Probably until the middle or end of next week, although if he gets any worse, give us a call."

This seemed a bit odd to me. I thought we would be given strict instructions to isolate ourselves, but apparently it's too late for that. According to the doctor it's so widespread that it would be a case of shutting the gate after the horse has bolted.

Apparently 50% of people who have swine flu exhibit no symptoms whatsoever; about 5% will get hit hard by it and the rest are on a sliding scale in between. Despite the high publicity, deaths are still very rare.

The doctor did admit Rogan might not even have it, but he was showing enough of the symptoms to be given the drugs to combat it. The only real way of knowing for definite would be to have tests done, but by the time the results came back the damage would be done, so the official procedure is to play it safe.

So, we're home; Rogan has his various pills to take and an inhaler for when his breathing becomes difficult; and he's to keep drinking plenty of water.

And I'm still not sure if I should start panicking yet.



Joan Crawford said...

My brother in law had it. Nothing to freak out about. It is just a flu. As you said - death is very rare. The numbers are about 1 in 1,000 who get it will need hospitalization and 1 in 5 of those in hospital will die. Most have no symptoms or very mild ones.

Allow him to run a bit of a fever, I go up to 102.5 before I treat them - as this will help his body kill the bug. It is like dropping a bottle into boiling water to disinfect it.

If he gets to 105 - take him to the ER. Hope he feels better soon!

Jasmine said...

Having the swine flu or the regular flu can result in a death. I've known a lot of people around where I am who have swine flu. I had it myself and when I went to the doctor for it, I was not in any isolation room, and my doctor did not wear any unusual or special equipment.
I wouldn't panic. But be calm for the sake of your son, your family and yourself. Keeping your family in my thoughts. Hope Rogan is feeling better soon!

Carrie said...

I know quite a few people that had it, and they all recovered within a couple weeks. I'd say if you watch him carefully and keep him medicated that things will be just fine. No panicking! Lol.

Hope he's feeling much better very soon! :)

Sausage said...

All the best for your son and his recovery. Please take a look at my post 'Swines on the Street' it is a sad piece of news on the swine flu from over the pond.

Rachel Fox said...

I hate that feeling though. Should I be panicking? Is my child at risk? If I don't panic might I miss something that I will never forgive myself for? Is panicking overreacting and is that ridiculous?

You just can't win.


Susan Carpenter Sims said...

I'm mentally lighting a candle for you guys.

Pat said...

I guess it just sounds worse than it is, reading the other comments. Is the media just creating a scare? Hope your son gets better soon.

Does this mean that the rest of your family will come down with it too?

gleaner said...

Its nearly all disappeared here in Australia now - but at the time the media were certainly driving irrational and rational fears. The only thing in the last couple of months we have heard about is the new vaccination.

I wouldn't panic but I would probably keep him at home. Keep up general hygiene measures such as handwashing and covering mouth when coughing etc.

I wont go into my rant about the investigations into this being a clever way for the pharmaceutical companies to make money... I saw a documentary on the particular company and it was just as disturbing as the causes of the global financial crisis.

Eryl said...

Isn't parenting a bugger sometimes? I'm currently not sure whether to panic that Bob sets off in my car every morning to drive to work on his own! Yet I still remember, well, the feeling of utter panic-ambivalence when it came to: measles immunisation; the time he told me he'd eaten at McDonald's; discovering he didn't have an ear for languages; allowing him to walk to school without an adult; going off to university five hundred miles away; returning to live here after university...

Hope Rogan feels better soon.


I had the H1N1 - miserable for over 2 weeks, but got through it, so I'm certain your young guy will handle it well.

Lots of love and sleep; broth - juice, and plenty of hugs = good medicine.

Cannwin said...

After I had my fourth child I had to have a blood transfusion. The doctor walked into my room, sat on my bed and sighed.

"It looks like we're going to need to give you some blood."

Thats it! There were no warning bells, no code reds, no running. Just a dr. patting my leg and calmly explaining that I had to have two units of blood.

I had this image of transfusions happening with car accidents and violent ER scenes, but all I felt was really cold and really really sleepy. My husband also said I looked like a ghost, but nothing like I was expecting.

I think people in general put way more drama into the "major" occurrences of life and death.
When usually it is calm and quiet, which might add to the shock of it since it is a bit harder to process things you were expecting to happen differently.

savannah said...

my best to rogan for a speedy recovery! as to you, sugar, well, my children are older, but i still panic when i hear about some/any illness that befalls them! it never changes! ;~D xoxoxo

Suz said...

Sounds like you have done all you can do. He's an otherwise healthy teenager and he will be miserable for a couple of weeks and then he'll be bragging to all his friends about his bout with the "dealy" Swine Flu!!

Wishing him speedy recovery.

Pat said...

Dear Kim no don't panic. You have done and are doing all the right things and I'm sure you will all keep a good eye on Rogan so try not to stress. I'm sending big hugs and loving thoughts.xox

hope said...

Dad...breathe. You did the right thing at the right TIME. My 9 year old nephew had it, took the meds and was out and about in 7 days.

Most of the horror stories you hear about concerning children are those who had pre-existing health conditions. Sounds like you got Rogan to the Doc early enough to stop it in its tracks.

So be a good Dad and let Rogan act a little smug. ;) Hope ALL of you are feeling better by now.

debra said...

So glad Rogan seems to be doing ok. I've also been keeping up with Atilla the Mom, and I understand your concern. Fingers crossed for a speedy recovery.

Jayne Martin said...

You're such a good dad. I hope Rogan feels better soon and doesn't give it to the rest of the family.

Charlie said...

Don't panic unless it becomes absolutely and undeniably necessary to panic.

H1N1 is hitting the American Southwest very hard and people are dying, but we're a long way from Rogan.

A.T. Post said...

Don't panic.

Ha! As always, your humor hits the spot. "There, see? I WASN'T making a fuss about nothing." Rogan's hauteur is palpable.

Respectfully Yours said...

Sorry to hear about your son. I work for the health unit in Canada. We are in the process of a mass immunization here. Please don't panic. I am positive I contracted H1N1 2 weeks ago. Lasted 6 days and I too am left with a terrible cough. Please keep up the hand hygiene to ensure you and the rest of the family doesn't contract it. I am attaching a link to our website where there is lots of amazing information for you to look at. Take care...

Brave Astronaut said...

Ride the wave my friend. As you say, it's everywhere and everything should be fine. But keep a close eye on him and be sure to tell him the whole internet is wishing him get well wishes.

mapstew said...

'Bless you' Rogan!

He sounds like an otherwise healthy lad who should soon recover.

(We do still worry about our babies though don't we, no matter how old they are!)


Entrepreneur Chick said...

I can't help it. I'm a big fan of panic. But, what does it help? It makes me feel better. So.. that helps.

Please plump up Rogan's pillow, give him some hot chicken soup, 7-Up, new box of tissues, and a new game for his Gameboy from Entrepreneur Chick, will you?

Keep us posted, please. Very sorry to hear he's ill.

Katie Roberts said...

I'm more concerned about the medication. Esp Tamiflu, associated with high rates of youth depression and suicide in Japan.

Australia had the big drama about it all months ago, and now it has all blown away. At the time I was panicking I know its no worse then regular flu!

Hope he gets well soon.

Attila the Mom said...

Oh my friend, I'm sending all my best healing thoughts and prayers to Rogan and your family.

Not going to respond to those who wonder if it's just media hype. We never thought it could happen to us, yet there are 10 otherwise healthy young people on ventilators in Big Kid's ICU unit alone who are clinging to life.

Take care of yourselves.


Annabelle said...

I had it. I spent five days with a fever and the most painful body aches I could ever imagine feeling. The shower made me cry. After the sixth day, I was on my way to recovery. Now, I have a terrible cough, but I prefer it to the body aches. I am so sorry your little one is going through it and I pray that you all stay healthy.

Caitlin said...

The swine flu panic has definitely died down, hasn't it? A friend of mine (a Kiwi) on his gap year in Canada caught it, and we all just laughed at him. It's become quite a joke in New Zealand. No-one here's really sure what the difference between usual flu and swine flu is. Sure people die from the swine, but they do from the usual sort too.

After reading Annabelle's comment, I feel a bit bad for laughing at my friend in Canada, although I don't think his was as bad as that.

St Jude said...

I hope that Rogan is soon on the mend. You took action promptly and he has his medication so all should be well.

Sadly I think Attila's experience is not going to be isolated as we are now entering the flu season. However it is also not going to be the norm.

BB said...

Just keep following the doctors instructions.Everything will be fine you´ll see.
Best wishes.

Anonymous said...

Hugs a lots of tea to you Sir (and Rogan)! The flu sucks but I think you have the right info about it. I'm amazed at your Dr's presentation! Hard not to panic when presented with that get up! We've got plenty around here. I succumbed to having my child vaccinated although I resent the pharm co's pressure tremendously!

Jennifer said...

My 20 year old sister comforted me this summer when my little one had an ongoing fever that would not hindsight we "think" she had the H1N1, but the doctor never tested for it.

Anyway, my sister reminded me that my daughter is building up antibodies against illness. I remember being sick in my early 20's with all kinds of flu & stomach bugs. In my 30's not so much. Of course I exercise and eat a little better. Maybe my sister is right. Maybe it all is tied together somehow.

Pat said...

hope your son gets well soon..=)

A Daft Scots Lass said...

Yeah they're not even testing for it anymore here in SA. There are so many being diagnosed that there is an 8 day back log on blood tests. By then its too late so the doctors are playing it by ear and treating for it anyway just to be sure.

I wish Rogan better soon.

Restaurant Gal said...

No panic. He'll get well, as have so many around here. I'll get my great cook to whip up a batch of chicken soup for him!

Anna van Schurman said...

Based on the freelance work I did writing about H1N1, I can confirm that most places aren't testing for it any more, just acting on the assumption. Also on NPR yesterday, they had a pediatric public health dr. talking about what the public health officials have gotten wrong--the whole isolation thing. How does a parent isolate a sick child? parents have asked. He says there's no reason to do so as long as you wash your hands. He said public health officials should have given the "best" way to respond, a better way, and "good enough." Washing hands is good enough. I imagine the thing that is--and perhaps should be--most frightening is that members of your household may have additional illnesses that would weaken your immune systems. That seems to be where the real problems lie. We think I had it this summer, and I'm asthmatic. The cough lingered pretty much forever, but I seem to have lived to fight another day. Quick recovery for Rogan and all best to the rest of the household. (Check out my blog for the handwashing video.)

Sir Jackson Peaks said...

Out of curiosity, why did the doctor not test for Influenza A, B, and H1N1? My lady works at the number one research hospital here in the states--they deal with patients with respiratory issues and enviro/food allergies... Long story short, they have even learned that those that test negative for A and B can still pop positive for H1N1. Any plans on having him tested?

Hope he gets to feeling better soon... nothing some good meds and home cooked meals can't remedy!

Falak said...

Hope your son gets better soon!Don't panic. Just follow the doctors instructions and you'll do fine like you always do!
Wishing Rogan speedy recovery! :)

Barlinnie said...

Keep calm pal, it'll pass as quickly as regular flu, and has run its own course this end without any real harm.

Keep an eye out for rashers... swine flu.. rashers... och, never mind.

Anonymous said...

Myself and my daughter had it. When she went to the doctor he diagnosed it as a respiratory infection, I'm guessing because of all the media hype he was afraid of our/her reaction.

Mary Witzl said...

Hope he's okay now!

I am fairly convinced we've all had it here. It's been in the neighborhood -- a school in the neighborhood was closed with it, and it's now at the husband's school, where a LOT of teachers are down, though some (including mine) are continuing to teach because they figure they can't spread it any more than it's already been spread, and all vulnerable kids have been taken out anyway. I had something awful for one day (and it was truly horrible), but was okay in almost no time. Youngest kid had whatever it was VERY badly: high temperature, both ends of the digestive tract badly affected, headache, etc.

Give Rogan our regards -- and take a nap yourself!

flashbulb100w said...

You shouldn't panic at all. It will only make things worse, swine flu or not.

Unknown said...

Yup, looks like you've discovered the swine flu is yet another "epidemic" that has gotten blown out of proportion by the media. My family had it last week and my 18 month old handled it better than any of us - he only got some sniffles and that was it! So much for him being a part of the "danger" group...

Anyways, swine flu *can* still kill, so it's no reason to let your guard completely down, but it is reason to let it down a little. Your son is not going to just stop breathing in his sleep one night out of nowhere (my worst fear when I found out my son had it). When there are complications the symptoms are severe - troublesome breathing that is not due to things like congestion, very high fever, disorientation, etc. All the symptoms that would cause you to run to the doctor with ANY illness.

I'm glad however that my family caught the virus this early on. It prevents us from having to get the shot and made us immune to the virus before it had the opportunity to get much worse.

I hope your son gets to feeling better soon. Even though this is a mild illness, it is still pretty unpleasant to deal with.

Jeans and a Sweatshirt- said...

My 12 yr old son had it a few weeks ago. He just sat on the couch for about a week and a half, watching TV. I tried to get him to turn it off for a little while to read. He usually LOVES to read, but he said he couldn't focus enough.

When we went to the Dr, we were told to walk in the front door and nobody had on any extra garb. "It's already rampant, and we are not going to be ale to stop it anyway."

Just make sure he keeps up with the liquids, mostly warm made my son feel better. Tea, hot cider, hot chocolate...anything we could get him to drink.

My son did however end up with pneumonia as well, he's better, but not great, a week and a half after he went back to school.

I wish your son a speedy recovery, without complications.

Christy said...

I, too, am curious about whether the doctor did any testing to confirm his diagnosis. Getting actual data on rates of infection could be invaluable to medicine.

In any case, I hope that your son has a light case, and that no one else in your family gets it!

Anonymous said...

Being one of the worst type of panicking parent (although now my offspring are grown up,I tend not to panic quite as badly as I used to) I know that feeling well. Of course much of the panicking is caused by what we have either read or heard on the TV.
This gives the unsuspecting parent a false sense of danger that Swine Flu is somehow far worse than ordinary flu, more akin to the black plague, so your thoughts of having to paint a red cross on the door aren't all that far fetched.
I would have probably got the tin of paint out and done it come to think of it. Hope he is feeling better soon.

Tlacotzontli said...

One of my sons had it, I thinks a you did it, that probably I will need to put a red cross on the door front, but no, our Doctor said that this virus is on everywere.
We gave all the pills and liquids and he is fine now, he have 5 years old, and he is healty as a goat.
Do not worry, he will be ok, it is just another normal flue.
Best regards.

Lisa Page Rosenberg said...

Thank you for introducing me to the idea that panicking can be a choice, not just an immediate response to anything that involves my kid and the words "secondary infections."
Good luck to you and Rogan through this!

erika said...

Any news on Rogan? Is he doing better? Did anybody else get sick in the family? Did you panic? You are in my thoughts. I hope all is well.

Entrepreneur Chick said...

I was just checking in again today to see if all is okay.

? Please write soon. I'm a professional worrier.

Dr Maroon said...

Jesus how awful.
Put a raw onion in his pocket.
Don't ask, just do it.

Kim Ayres said...

Thank you to everyone for your kind words of support and well wishes.

Rogan seems to be past the worst.

For those of you asking whether he was going to be tested, the answer is no. As mentioned in the post, the doctors are just playing it on the safe side if enough symptoms are shown.

There seems little point in having a test when by the time the results came back it would all be over anyway.

In the end, I didn't panic. Frankly, with the CFS I didn't have the energy...

Anonymous said...

I'm only just catching up on my blogs because I was out with H1N1 for a good chunk of time. I was one of the ones hit hard and fast, but have recovered quite well. If Rogan's temp didn't skyrocket right off the bat, he's likely one of the infectees whose body is handling the bug above average well. : )

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