The Sky is Falling- Please Hold

December 10, 2008 at 10:15 am Leave a comment

My theory that Winter Vomiting Disease (that name-it conjures up  images ring-around-the-rosie with its plague provenance) was a male plot to insert a compliance chip in womens’ minds is now dead in the water, because my husband now has it. Vomitic justice.

And I’ve moved on from being a victim to warning the rest of the world that this (medical jargon alert!)  norovirus is spreading.
And it’s virulent. Eight people on my block have had it in the last week-and that constitutes an outbreak. At least in my mind.
So I did what ever good citizen should do and reported it to the state health department. At least I tried. Three phone calls and four forwards later, I’m no closer to sounding the alarm then I was while I was sipping beef broth a few days ago. (Knorr Mexican Caldo Con Sabor de Res-easy to get here in Arizona-worth it to search for in the rest of the country. There’s real globules of fat (otherwise known as flavor)- on the top-from a bouillon cube!)

I’m not going to bore you with the details that anyone who has ever wasted an hour trying to get something done with any large organization already knows. But the fourth forward ended with this exchange.

You’re calling the wrong county.
Do you have that number?
Thirty seconds of silence.
Are you still there?
Yes, ma’am, I’m trying to look up that number for you.
More silence.
I’ll just look it up myself.
All I have is the main county information line, It’s…

Next move-a call to the number I was given, even though I know that the bird who keeps pecking at his reflection in my window could be of more assistance than people who staff help lines. I decided to ask for infections diseases-I mean, they have to respond quickly in that department, right?

I’m sorry, the person you want to talk with is out sick today.
Great. Is there anyone else I can talk to to report an outbreak?
No, but I can give you his voice mail.

What if this was something really serious? OK, I could be a nutjob, but don’t you think they’d at least check me out?
It’s not like I’m calling about a some kind of bacteria injected into womenfolks to make them behave. Oops,. that was the other day.

So I figure I’d do my civic duty and call THE MEDIA. I’d been a member of that club for over 20 years, and perhaps I still have a scoche of cache.  I decided to call our morning newspaper, We’re one of the last cities to still have morning and afternoon papers, although they’re owned by the same people and share most of the same staff. I guess we actually have one paper with two editions. I figured they’d have a health reporter, because TV people are stupid and radio newsrooms have been gutted.

After a fruitless twenty-minute search on their web page, I lost faith in what I thought were my adroit research skills. I had yet to find a list of staff. Finally, a call to a friend who works at the paper resulted in the name and phone number of the health reporter.

I stupidly figured I was getting somewhere. But Lois Lane told me she had no contacts or information access, because the former health reporter had recently been fired, and LL was also a feature, entertainment, and home reporter. I suggested she call the county health department, which she thought was a good idea.

So far, no stories, and the vomiting just keeps on coming. Maybe I should email Drudge. I even have a headline: Thousands Die as Democrats Ignore Deadly Virus. What the hell. I’ll buy into partisan hyperbole if it stops people from vomiting. At least physically.

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Up with People Who Upchuck A Quilt for Women Who Don’t Sew

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Roberta Gale

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