Germs, viruses, and bugs

Published 12:58 pm Wednesday, April 8, 2009

When February hit my house it brought with it all the germs that had managed to hit all the other families in my area. Every one around me was getting sick — strep throat, upper respiratory bug, and the dreaded stomach flu. Blissfully, we had sailed through without a hitch.

Why had we seemingly been spared? I assumed it was my obsessive compulsive twins who constantly wash their hands and sanitize with the portable liquid that cleans, freshens and kills all germs and comes in a little inexpensive bottle. Several years ago you would have never heard of the stuff but now it’s mandatory for schools, mom’s purses, automobiles and the check out counter of your local doctor’s office.

If you never use it anywhere else, at least squirt a bit as you leave the clinic because God only knows what you may have picked up.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Healthy and happy, we continued our germ free existence until… one snuck in under the radar and got us. I blame our journey into the illness factory on one trip to the doctor’s office for something that had more to do with maintenance rather than sickness but ended with an attack of the germ monster.

The appointment for number two son was after school which is convenient for school attendance but meant my whole clan had to squeeze into one of those tiny waiting rooms and while waiting for the doctor to come in we began harvesting the stranded bacteria hanging out from the last sick patient.

The bugs they began a comin’ and it started two days after leaving the medical facility.

What was I thinking? Why didn’t I go into preventative offense? Why didn’t I re-schedule to keep the twins away from the bacteria ridden germ factory? The teen has enough sense to not touch everything around him but eight-year-old boys? Oh, well, the deed was done.

The first to go down was Conner, the youngest of them all. Cade followed and after a few days of sick kids at home I was hoping the worst had past.

The one thing that seems to be certain besides death and taxes is that if one gets it they all ‘gets’ it! Then, while you are down, another germ comes along, maybe from the shopping buggy at the local grocery store, maybe from the snotty nose kid sitting next to yours on the school bus… but once you have a weakened immune system the bugs keep a comin’.

Well just like our deceased Paul Harvey, you know the rest of the story.

After second editions of the viruses and bugs, we have managed to slip past the sneaky strep throat for the moment; yet, another day may bring another symptom. I hear hacky coughs, sniffling sniffs and I know the germs are winning.

And why do we call viruses or illness bugs? Where did that come from? I can understand the term bugs because viruses are like a pest — uninvited, messy, and scary.

Our family and friends have become so germie that even my computer has a virus.

Thankfully, the April fool joke (conflicker or whatever made up name it was called) was not played on me. No, it took a regular, typical computer virus to take my computer out. Luke, number two son, decided to inoculate with his geek squad skills. Let’s just say I can still work on my computer but it needs a complete wipe and clean. Sort of like my house. My Windows operating system has a hacky cough and a weakened immune system.

I believe to catch this virus my computer failed to sanitize before touching other internet hands and the nasty germ infested my files before I knew it and now it’s too late.

Somehow, I was once protected and then I wasn’t. Somewhere along the way my virus protector died and no one discovered the body.

The first sign of a sick kid and a sick computer is crankiness.

It is amazing how panicky I can be over my computer illness and so calm about a child’s fever. By common sense, I know the child should get better but for my Dell, I am not so confident. Then I think about all the stuff I have on file — all the thousands of photos, thousands of words, and important documents — and the loss is insurmountable, but so would be the loss of a child. I can get another computer — better , faster, smarter — but I can’t make any more kids, even dumber, slower, uglier ones. The factory is closed, out of business and burned to the ground.

I can try to encourage kids to wash their hands, take vitamins every day, get plenty of exercise, rest, and eat healthy but I can’t back up and virus protect my computer? What kind of tech savvy mom am I?

It only proves you can do everything to protect yourself but unless you’re perfect all the time, you might as well have hugged everyone in your local doctor’s waiting room, shook hands with everyone at church, and opened every e-mail that comes across your path.

Just be careful reading this column, you could catch something!

Tracy Williams is a guest columnist and can be reached at her Web site: