My head rocked with lightning bolts and my brain felt like it was loose inside a walnut shell. Every sound I made was amplified and laughing hurt like the cranium crazies. What was wrong, I wondered, and headed home in a daze and passed out after downing several Tylenols.

Was this the dreaded swine flu or H1N1? I wasn’t sure if I was sick enough to go to the clinic, as I heard there were quite a few kids there with facemasks. Was this just a nightmare? I dozed off… then the phone rang just before five o’clock to remind me to get back to work.

Wow, I guess this was a real flu symptom and not a bad dream after all. Or could it be that nasty grape I swallowed the evening before. Perhaps it was that smelly milk I tossed into my coffee just before feeling so crappy. Who knows, but I sure felt bad for some time.

The next day, I bravely faced the chilly north winds. With my head fixed but not my achy body, I went back to the daily grind I like to call a job. After making a few calls, I decided to find out more about this bad bug that everyone’s getting worried about.

First of all, I learned to use that hand-gel dispenser constantly, rubbing my hands until every bug is cleaned off until the next lifesaving gel dispenser is in reach, so that the cleansing ritual can be repeated and repeated again. That ought to hold off those little buggers. Apparently, this tough little bug hangs onto anything it comes in touch with for two whole days! And it’s invisible too so you can’t tell just by eye.

Wondering what other measures are available, like vaccinations, it seems that some sort of delivery date is required, to figure out when and where to dispense it in case of outbreaks. Wow, talk about deadly health management plans. This is where public medical management gets their skills tested (thank some thoughtful politician last century for coming up with public health plans where everyone is protected) as they deliver vaccinations across the country.

My lifestyle has changed somewhat. Now the hand contact for greeting is rarely practiced except for clenched fist-to-fist greets. My forearm now bears the brunt of opening doors and my hands rarely touch my face, in case of transferring the virus to my body. It seems pretty noticeable for others, as worries that the preventive measures may not be enough to stave off an anticipated wave of flu outbreaks in small isolated communities such as ours.

At one point, preparedness included everything, even body bags in case of flu-related deaths. But is this flu expected to change lifestyles before becoming life threatening? Is there a cure for this flu yet? People have survived H1N1, so I guess it may mean changing the way you interact with your physical environment and with other humans. I just hope that it doesn’t go down the route of AIDS, where sexual contact is basically prohibited without condoms. But now a sickness where even close contact is too close to remain localized to just you. Wow, no more kissing or even dancing in the rain, you could get the flu.