I have been reading about the H1N1 flu since it was first reported in Mexico and most likely, so have you. I have been worrying about it since them and to some extent, so have you. But now I have it and you probably don´t and that´s why you may be interested in knowing what is like.

How is it to have “swine flu”? Well in my case it started as a cold but in a few hours it degenerated into a nasty flu with high fever and all sort of aches throughout the body, especially in the chest. When I called my doctor in Madrid and told him what was going on, he advised me not to come to the hospital as they are concerned about patients like me going into the hospital and making others sick. While I could understand the policy of keeping sick people at home, the “have somebody pick up the Tamiflu” proposition left me somewhat surprised. Especially since I wanted to get a confirmation that I did have H1N1. My offer to send him some saliva a la 23andme fashion was politely refused. Flu I learned, it´s a social disease. You do not have one person with flu and flu is always part of an epidemic. And right now, still in the summer, the little flu there is H1N1, especially considering that in the last week I have been flying through the world´s busiest airports. So no going to the hospital and no test. Testing was done on patients that were in bad enough shape to end up at the hospital (a policy that probably leads to tremendous under reporting of the disease). I was also confused about the other piece of advise “if things get out of hand do come and check in at the hospital”. Out of hand in what sense I asked? Not being able to breath was one example. Mmmm. Not being able to breathe, I wonder how I could make it to the hospital in that condition. But whatever I decided to follow my doctor´s advise and hope for the best.

After talking to the doctor yesterday my fever kept rising, all the way up to 38.5C in spite of the heavy dosis of Paracetamol I was taking. And I couldn´t stop coughing. During the early afternoon I started taking cold medication and Tamiflu. Now a day and a half later, the good news, is that I am doing considerably better. Fever is around 37.5C and all symptoms are back to what I would call a normal flu. I am in bad shape but no worse than you have been in the past when you had any flu.

Was it the Tamiflu that made it turn around so quickly or my own immune system? Frankly I don´t know but whatever it is it is nice to be able to say a few words without coughing, a novelty of the last few hours.

Interestingly nobody around me got the flu so far. Nor Leo, Tom, Isa, Nina who were all with me. Nor people who work with me. In any case I am now keeping considerable distance from the few people I see. Wash my hands frequently and where a special 3M mask when others are around.

Update at 10pm: now the symptoms have gone from being severe and nasty, to being those of a normal flu, to being those of a normal cold. I am doing much better than last night. If this is all there is to the “swine flu” I would summarize it as 12 very tough hours. Hopefully the rest will be a quick recovery.

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