Sunday, April 26, 2009

Memories of 1968

I was reading up on the growing threat of Swine Flu this morning. I do not live in a major city and with my lifestyle (artist in own studio) I can avoid a lot of the risk centers. But I do live in a border state with Mexico and between the drug traffic and illegals crossing (not to mention tourist traffic) I cannot be totally sure of safety from the feared pandemic.

This morning's news was, however, particularly interesting in that I evidently survived a previous pandemic in 1968.

From Yahoo News: While all the deaths so far have been in Mexico, the flu is spreading in the United States. Eleven cases were confirmed in California, Kansas and Texas, and eight schoolchildren in New York City caught a type A influenza virus that health officials say is likely to be the swine flu.

The new flu strain, a mixture of various swine, bird and human viruses, poses the biggest risk of a large-scale pandemic since avian flu surfaced in 1997, killing several hundred people. A 1968 "Hong Kong" flu pandemic killed about 1 million people globally.

New flu strains can spread quickly because no one has natural immunity to them and a vaccine takes months to develop.

I was a University of New Mexico student in Albuquerque in 1968 and fell victim to the Hong Kong Flu mentioned above. I spent three weeks on a couch too sick to even get up and go to the doctor's. The news agencies were urging everyone to stay home and even if sick just drink a lot of fluids. I tried to get down anything anyone brought me in liquid form.

To this day the smell of Dr. Pepper makes me a bit ill. And I can still remember vividly the dreams of being buried alive and smelling my body rotting. I lost about 15 pounds which was good. And evidently a natural immunity to flu strains that has lasted four decades and I hope lasts five at least.

Time to check the larder for supplies (no Dr. Pepper) so I can avoid trips to the store if people in my area begin getting sick. And definitely a good time to make sure I take all my vitamins to keep my resistance up. I really don't ever want to be that sick again.


  1. Any flu strain has NO respect; seems being
    healthy isn't a deterrent, either!

  2. Wow! That's a story and a half! Sounds as though you had your 'flu experience for life and certainly you don't deserve another round of that!
    Keep well!

  3. What a scary thing, Jacqui. Glad to hear it's NOT swine flu and that you're on the mend. The WHO may soon be out with a vaccine. During such epidemics I always flash to thoughts of 'Captain Trips', as Sci-fi writers often tend to write a 'bit of truth'. No need to panic though, not yet anyway.

  4. Because of the process any vaccine is 6 months away. And I am not altogether sure that the vaccines don't cause the flu to mutate faster. There are currently two strains of flu out both not covered by the vaccine that was produced and given this fall.

    Virus is a survivor and it mutates fast taking with it parts of its host (ie the swine and avian flu). But I do remember Captain Tripps


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