But the recent Balloon Boy madness (no, I'm not linking to it) almost did me in, chasing me to my old standbys: History Channel, National Geographic, SciFi, etc.
You all know that the media sometimes has a tendency to overblow things with their parade of talking heads, one-sided perspective, etc. However, in the case of the H1N1 or "Swine Flu," I thank Allah (swt) for CNN's coverage. It's about the only place one can get some real comprehensive coverage.
Why do I worry about H1N1?
Well, I am in one of the high risk categories: Adults Under 65 with Certain Underlying Medical Conditions (People with conditions including asthma, diabetes, suppressed immune systems, heart disease, kidney disease, and neurocognitive and neuromuscular disorders should receive the H1N1 vaccination to prevent further complications.)
I have asthma (in addition to a host of other opportunities to expiate sin, Alhamdulillah). And every year, I get pnemonia. So my jihad to find an H1N1 shot has begun. But I haven't had much luck. It's been downright frustrating. I have had to do a lot of leg work and personal research.
1. I started with my doctor's office:
a. no, we don't have the shots/spray yet
2. Next step is that I vent to my Muslim sister about the situation. Well, she took her son to the local medical center clinic for some other problem, and he was offered the vaccine while they were there. But she (who is an educated university professor) didn't let them give it to him due to conspiracy theories about the vaccine. "I don't know enough about it, if it's safe, what's in it, I'd like to know more." Okay sis. You have this right.
(Sister, if you're reading this, you know I love you. But do you REALLY KNOW what EXACTLY is in that seasonal flu shot you got? No. You relied on what information is out there.)
An Aside/Rant - SabiWabi has covered this issue over at her place. Jazaka Allahu Khayr, Sabi. Conspiracy theories can kill Muslims. Yes, I know there is unsavory history in the past (Tuskeegee experiments, etc.). But, if you watched the 60 Minutes coverage a few weeks ago of children in intensive care with Swine Flu, or watched the crying grieving parents who regretted the decision to not vaccinate their kids who died from Swine Flu, you'd probably be standing outside of your doctor's office with a flaming torch. You, as an informed Muslim parent, must study the available facts/research and make a decision for your children. Don't drink the Kool-Aid in Muslim cyber-space.
3. I call my doc back over the weekend and leave a message on their machine. I'm coming next week, Insha Allah, for blood work, I tell them. I explain that I was told that the local medical center has the vaccine in. I'll take the vaccine while I'm there for blood work. They call me back - no can do. We don't have it. (Why not? Did your practice register with the government for a supply?)
4. I call the medical center next. They tell me that they do not have a supply of vaccine. I confront them. I tell them that my friend's son was offered a vaccine there. And while she was there, she claims that she was offered one. The phone operator acts confused. I remain silent on the other end and wait. She then admits to me that they had it in their Pediatric Clinic - but only for their clinic patients. They only ordered enough for them, no extra for availability to the non-clinic public should the request be made.
Ah ha - there are secret guarded supplies (ya conspiracy theories!). Couldn't she have told the truth in the first place instead of saying that they didn't have it. Translation: "We don't have it for you or your family!"
But she does give me feedback. She suggests that I call the number on the back of my insurance card. She claims that the insurance companies HAVE TO keep a list of providers.
5. I call my insurance company. No, it is not true; we have no such list. How can we know which health care providers have registered to receive a supply for their practices?
6. I check the PA Department of Health website. No luck. But, they suggest to keep checking back. When they know something, they will post it, they claim.
So, this is where it is at to date for me.
But I wonder. If a person like me - who is resourceful, pissed off and motivated when on a mission, computer literate, insurance covered, etc. - is frustrated, imagine how everyone else is coping?
What about those people and parents who are not as blessed as I am?
What about the uninsured? Those not affiliated with a doctor or clinic? Those who have to use emergency rooms as their primary health care provider?
Who protects the general public at large? Is the H1N1 situation a healthcare Katrina in the making?
Maybe the people in the Survivalist movement are on to something. Is it any wonder that there are people in America stocking up on guns, ammo, food, water, medicine, generators, batteries, etc. What will you do when you can't use your laptop, iPhone, or Blackberry, loool?
President Obama has declared a national emergency for the H1N1 flu crisis. It is supposed to help cut the red tape. Oh yea, right.
Concerning the conspiracy theories about the vaccine, I know of one way President Obama can help.
Remember when he and his wife went to Kenya before he was running for president? Remember how he and his wife got tested for HIV, right in front of the people, and with media cameras covering the event?
Why doesn't he have his little girls get the vaccine and cover it the same way? I think it would help the American people and those everywhere else feel better about getting their kids vaccinated.
One thing I'm doing while I'm waiting for my vaccine? I'm changing doctors!