In Winona, Mississippi in the 80s we didn’t talk about our epidemics or pandemics. If there was an outbreak of some heinous disease we just didn’t speak about it. Doctors and hospitals covered it up or just ignored the danger of viral or bacterial doom and destruction. The mortality of many kids, teen, and elderly hung in the balance of whether or not the doctors wanted to admit there was an outbreak. Today, thousands of students were released from their school obligations with the reason of prudence. Some would say the school systems ran from fear of the all mighty lawyers and their law suits. Maybe this is the case, but I am not going to shake my fist at the Piggly Wiggly flu. We may be over reacting, but at least we are reacting.
All hail the Piggly Wiggly Flu! In 1985, bacterial meningitis hit the small towns of Mississippi. At the time there wasn’t a vaccination available to the general public. There were stubborn and ignorant doctors who didn’t want to panic the general public about this disease which attacked the brain and spinal cord. This monstrous illness would attack its victims and in days it was too late. But no one knew what was going on in the community around them and some even died.
Today, I heard many jokes, about the Piggly Wiggly Flu! Heck, I even made a few and I am now joking by calling it the Piggly Wiggly Flu. But even if there is an overly fearful reaction to a flu that has killed in another country and completely treatable in the US, I am thankful that we are reacting. We live in a modern world with helicopter moms and overly sensitive school superintendents. We see technology sometimes fail us, but at least common sense hasn’t failed us this time. Because at least we are getting the word out, hey guys and girls there is something out there that maybe, might strike you hard. It has the potential to take someone you love.
Way back when I lost my brother to something that could be treated, that is if there was the say type of awareness we have with the Piggly Wiggly Flu, no one wanted to admit that our town had meningitis in it. See, my brother got sick on a Monday night, went to the doctor the next morning, again the next day and the only thing said by the doc was, “just the common cold.” A day later it was too late and he was gone. So today, I am proud of the over reaction of the 24/7, hyper caffeinated, cable news network frenzy. Why, I am sure it has saved someone’s life, anyone’s life.
So yes, I am frustrated with the media right now. I am frustrated that the kids released from schools today littered in my yard and trashed the neighborhood. I am angered by people who run from balanced reporting and journalism. But I wouldn’t trade it for the alternative. So, please wash your hands and take your vitamins.