My Family's Experience with Swine Flu

A scary disease hits close to home

by Lisa Stilnovich • More.com Member { View Profile }

I am 44 years old (truly closer to 45) and a mother of two (Fred 18, and Isabella ,12). I have just rediscovered MORE magazine. And to be totally truthful, as I’m sitting here on an overcast, cold, and drizzly Sunday afternoon in Washington state still in my pajamas with my hair unbrushed. (Does running your fingers through it to get the snarls and knots out count? No, okay, then hair unbrushed.)

On a very serious note, though, I picked up MORE magazine as my son Fred tested positive Friday for H1N1. He is sleeping as I write this, and we have been fortunate that he has not been hit hard with this yet. How am I staying calm? Well, I won’t let myself become unwound. I am doing what the doctor said and working to keep Fred upbeat because he’s scared; all the news reports scare me, as well. Today I am watching for signs that would  tell myself he is getting worse, vomiting, or not breathing well. It is hard, as a parent you can’t stand to see your child sick. You’d rather it sick yourself. I will update this as Fred gets better. As he will get better. I won’t let my mind go anywhere else.

So rediscovering MORE. When Fred was 16, I saved all my dimes, dollars, and pennies, and took both my children along with my mother and nephew to Disneyland. While there, because I have medications that fatigue me, I went  back to the hotel room to rest. The children  stayed in Disneyland with my Mother, their Grandma—aka "Ma"—who, by the by, is much more fun for the kids to be with than me. While in line, Fred saw a beautiful woman with a young boy that looked like Diane Keaton, so he and Isabella approached her. Fred timidly says, "Excuse me, you  look like  Diane Keaton." And the graceful women in a long down parka says, "I am Diane Keaton." Now my Fred is a different breed of cat, and he (as I was later told) thought he would faint  right on that spot. Isabella wasn’t as taken. (Sorry, Diane!) Fred was over  the moon. I think they must have seen the movie she made with Jack Nicholson. Because that’s when Fred discovered Diane Keaton.
So to cheer him up, I bought the MORE magazine with Ms. Keaton on the cover for him, and I borrowed it last night after I tucked him in. Yes, he is 18 and too old to be tucked in, but with this flu, I’m baby-ing him. I think  it comforts him, and I know comforts me. 

So that’s our story in a nutshell. Typos, swine flu, a 44-year-old mother in her pajamas, and now I’m going to check on Fred.

  If anyone reads this: my daughter Isabella is safe at my Mom and Dad’s, who live next door to us. I tested negative. I have alerted Fred’s school, people; family and friends who he is in contact with, and I am not leaving the house, as I am unsure if I can get it… I do not wish this on anyone, so i have quarantined ourselves. I suggest everyone get this flu shot asap, and take a nose swab test—it only takes 15 minutes if you have flu-like symptoms. Thank you MORE for giving a mom a format in which to speak.

P.S. Fred just woke as I was finishing writing this—no cough, no fever, and he has an appetite, which are all good signs. Thank God. I’ll keep you posted.

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