The apocalypse is here, and it aint pretty.
Samoa has been in the throes of a horrible epidemic for the past month and hundreds (thousands?) of people have been affected. Schools nationwide were closed and businesses are complaining about employees away sick. This epidemic does yucky things to you and transforms your eyes into a gooey, grimey, itchy, weepy mess. For some people it lasts a couple of days. For others, it drags on for two weeks.
No, its not an apocalypse of the zombie variety – its the viral conjunctivitis kind. Otherwise known as pinkeye.
I’ve been super vigilant with hand sanitizer and getting kids to wash their hands. Yelling at them “I don’t care if she’s your best friend in the universe, STAY AWAY from her at school, y’hear me? And no hugs or hi-fives anyone. Remember, EVERYONE is your enemy! EVERYONE is a possible carrier! There’s no room for silly things like FRIENDSHIP when survival is involved!”
So much for my vigilance. Little Son caught it last week. Which surprised no-one because he lives and breathes sweat, dirt and too much sweaty body contact with other jostling, sweaty, grimy children. Honestly, that kid thinks he’s the bringer of happiness and hugs to everyone he meets – personal space is a foreign concept to him. And it doesn’t help that he likes to play rugby in an often muddy field that smells a lot like a septic tank…
Anyway, he’s got pinkeye. I know I’m supposed to be kind and loving and all Florence Nightingale-like when my child is sick but cut me some slack here, kindness and soothing compassion went out the window after I think, child number two? Or three? No, I’m now more like that “traditional Samoan mum”, the one who, when you fall off a tree and break your arm, yells at you for climbing and falling – the whole time that they’re setting your cast. Little Son has been quarantined to his room and I am unimpressed with his pink-eyed self. Especially when he keeps sneaking out to go play rugby with random neighbourhood children from down the road. (No doubt infecting them all, and then getting RE-infected in return.) Dammit.
Its a minor miracle that after ten days of it, the rest of us haven’t caught it off him. But that’s because Bella has taken my apocalypse survivor fire deeply to heart. She walks around with a bottle of disinfectant, spraying door handles, cupboards and taps. She has hand-sanitizer strapped to her bike and another one in her school bag. And whenever Little Son goes outside, she races to lock the door after him, “Now stay outside with your germs!” After church, she indignantly reported to me that “There was a lady with pinkeye there and she was touching the children! And giving out the crayons!” A vehement shake of her head. “But I didn’t go close to her. And I didn’t get any crayons.” I suspect that if Bella were the Boss of Samoa, pinkeye sufferers wouldn’t be allowed to walk the streets – until they’d been given the all clear.
I should be glad my six year old is so well prepared for a REAL epidemic. Or Zombie apocalypse. She’s ruthless, thorough, and committed to survival.
But I’m worried…if I wake up tomorrow with pinkeye, Bella might make me sleep in the garage and chuck me scraps of food, while shouting from behind a locked door, “Go away with your germs!”