My grandma, who was born in 1910, told me how she, her sister and her father all lay sick – so weak they were often unconscious – for two weeks with the Spanish flu in 1918. Grandma’s mother didn’t get sick at all. Not even so much as a sniffle.
The Norwegian newspapers announced yesterday that they no longer believe the current swine flu (H1N1 influenza A) can be contained. The message is that there’s no way to avoid it in this country any more; it’s being spread from Norwegian to Norwegian here at home. Keep washing your hands, avoid sneezing or coughing without a hankie and throw the hankie away immediately is still good advice, though. But I wonder: Should I resign myself to this fate, this virus? Or: Should I assume that great-grandma’s genes are still alive and kicking in me? She was a tough Irishwoman – real tough.
I’m choosing to believe the latter. And maybe there’s also a bit of the luck of the Irish, too.