Tuesday, April 28, 2009
The Flu Formerly Known As Swine Flu Virus
Dr. Erskine Palmer and R.E. Bates / Centers for Disease Control / Reuters
This guy looks like a tough little bastard.
I've been through flu pandemics in 1957 and 1968. If I got sick, I don't remember it. But in Germany, in 1964 I caught a flu I remember. For a couple of days I was dreaming or delirious. I seemed to be working in a Chinese laundry, boiling sheets in big tubs. The steam in the air made it so hard to breathe, I felt like I was drowning. I kept coughing up horrible gobs of dark green mucous and spitting them into the wash tubs.
In the 70's in Austin, Texas, I spent a couple of weeks in a poorly vented darkroom, making images for an art project, and ended up with a chemical pneumonia. Or maybe it was the legionnaires disease, or just the flu that put me in the hospital for a week. I was seriously ill, but inhalation therapy pulled me through. I remember hearing that when they cultured whatever the organism was that was trying to kill me, it was a cross between a plant and an animal. I'm sure it had a name, but I don't remember what it was.