Sunday, April 1, 2012

April's Fool

It's kind of funny in hindsight that we used to have a whole day dedicated only to messing with people. It doesn't really translate now, I guess. Hard to play tricks on people nowadays without risking a gunshot or a heavy blade getting accidentally put through you because you caught someone by surprise. I guess there's the old stand-by of telling clever lies, but somehow I don't think telling a person fake bad news ("Your family was eaten by the undead. APRIL FOOLS!) is a great idea.

Still, mother nature seems to be in the mood to joke around. Yesterday was rain pretty much all day long, and this morning isn't looking any different. It's actually a good thing, because the landscape is vibrantly green as it soaks up the water. I guess after such an insane winter with its fifty degree swings over a few hours every day, the old lady decided to play a trick by giving us exactly what we need.

It's not all good news, though. Our remaining Louisville citizens are still here and still sick. Evans thought they'd be getting better by now, but whatever has infiltrated their lungs is tough and resistant to every effort to treat it. Granted, the patients aren't much worse, but still. We wanted to see some progress.

Which brings up another point that I know is a growing concern with a lot of other communities out there: lack of medical care. I know a lot of you have made yourselves into first-rate field doctors through education and experience. Most communities of any size have someone who can sew and treat wounds. Trauma is something almost all of us have some kind of handle on, but New Haven is a perfect example of how ill-equipped humanity's survivors are to deal with the more subtle and dangerous things we deal with.

I mean, we have two doctors and a nurse with the equivalent skills and knowledge of one. Yet even their decades of combined experience does us no good at all against something as simple as the flu. We're two years into The Fall, and none of us have had a vaccine for anything in that time, or close to it. There are stores of medicines around the country, but time is waging a war with them that we can't even begin to fight. Much of it is starting to go bad or already has. The liquid stuff that needed to be refrigerated, often some of the most potent medicines, were lost to us in the first weeks of The Fall. Gone. The processes to make things like insulin and the vaccine for Polio are preserved, thank god, but the material requirements for them are way beyond us.

I guess the hours I spend with the Louisville crew drives that point home to me. It's easy to line up and label a lot of threats we face. Zombies we can fight, Exiles we can avoid, food we can gather, shelter we can build. But illness is harder to pin down. I remember working at the nursing home, seeing people get sent out to the hospital from time to time. X-Rays (which we actually do have though the power supply at the clinic has its problems) were the simplest of diagnostic tools. Now they're the best we have. It was an unavoidable element of my job to deal with people dying, sometimes from causes bizarre and impossible to predict or diagnose.

Now we're going to adapt to that as a part of life in general. None of us have many illusions about it. It's one more thing we have already put up with. The flu hit a bunch of people over the winter, one or two people had strep throat. It sucks ass to suffer through, it takes a lot longer to recover, and every time someone gets really ill there's the worry that without proper treatment they could die.

A surprising side effect of the healthy diet forced on us by circumstance is that we're all getting our servings of fruits and veggies. We're taking in the nutrients we need, which boost our immune systems. Phil has argued often that part of the reason we don't see a lot of illness is because our people are eating the right things. As usual, I bow to the people with superior education and experience. The fact that he's probably right about how bad our old diet of fast food and boxed dinners was for us doesn't for one second alter my desire for a giant deep-dish pizza.

I mean, if it were a choice between being well and having a pizza, I wouldn't choose to be sick. Certainly not if it were a choice between pizza and death. I don't want one that bad.


Ah, way off topic. For now, we'll continue limiting exposure to whatever it is that has our guests sidelined. Doesn't look contagious, though that could be because our medical staff (me included) are very cautious about infection control. We're mostly healthy as a community, and we're going to do our damnedest to stay that way.

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