I want them to stop telling me the latest way we are going to die. I don't want to know that the world is going to end in 2012; that if I drink too much coffee I will develop a mysterious disease that will lead to a slow and painful death, or that if I drink too little coffee I will develop a mysterious disease that will lead to an even slower, more painful death; and I especially don't want to hear that another form of flu has crossed species and is expected to wipe out every other person on the face of the planet.
This swine flu thing has just about done me in. I'm not so worried about getting it myself; I had, after all, come down with it during the first go-around back in the '70's, so I'm confident I can keep this pig at bay once again. My kids, on the other hand – now that's a pig of a different color.
After the constant media barrage we've been subjected to since last spring, I got so worked up about it I found myself calling doctor's offices all around town, approaching complete strangers (they were wearing scrubs, so I assumed they were of the medical persuasion), and even driving my kids from one end of the county to the other, desperate to get them vaccinated.
Picking up on my concern, my 13-year-old took my worry to a whole other level.
"Mama, what if we get up to the front of the line and they only have one vaccine left?" she asked after we had been standing in line at one vaccine clinic for about an hour.
I hadn't thought of this. Oh, my gosh – it would be just like Sophie's Choice! How could I possibly pick one over another? Which one would get the vaccine and which ones would have to suffer the curse of the swine? My head was just about to start spinning when someone came out to tell us they had run out of the vaccine.
Oh man, that was a close one, I thought before I remembered that now we still had no vaccine on board. I would have to go through all over again.
The stress was almost too much to bear. How easy our forefathers had it, I thought. No swine flu, no History Channel specials on how Nostradamas and the Mayan Calendar were both in agreement that the world was going to end in 2012, no research studies showing that rats who drank 400 cups of coffee a day began twitching just before they dropped dead. Life was simpler. Sure, our forefathers only lived to an average age of 29, but they were 29 uncomplicated years.
But here I am in the 21st century; living in the age of inter-species flus and I had to do what I could to protect my kids.
I was finally successful in finding the swine flu vaccine. I was giddy with relief. And just as I was saying a prayer of thanks, the nurse said, "Be sure you bring your son back for his second vaccine in one month."
"What? You're joking," I said, anxiously waiting for the nurse to tell me the punch line.
"Kids under 10 have to have two vaccines one month apart before they are fully immune," she informed me as she motioned for the next person in line.
So my Christmas wish this year is simple…peace, goodwill towards men, yada yada; but all I really want for Christmas is a swine flu shot.