Thursday 11 June 2009

Cabin Fever Day Four - I'm free! plus celebratory cake

Free, free at last! The ADHB called late this afternoon to tell me they'd finally got around to testing my throat swab, and gosh, I don't have swine flu.

And they cleared up the 72-hour thing too: once the test result is negative, the five-day quarantine turns into a three-day quarantine. The purpose of still having a three day quarantine after the first Tamiflu is to cater for the 0.001% of actual swine flu cases which return a negative test result. Quite frankly I wasn't listening too hard to the explanation by that point.

I'm free! My 72 hours ended today and I rushed out of the house... to the supermarket.

You see, earlier in the week my friend Karl had sent me a Five Minute Chocolate Cake In a Mug recipe which I've been dying to try. But it needed an egg, and I didn't have any. This evening I got an egg. I tried the recipe. Here's a photo. Note the Elvis Presley mug; I felt it was appropriate to the occasion.

Now before I tuck in, I should fill you in: I did Google the recipe before trying it, because it looked a bit odd to me (as a baker) - no baking powder, no baking soda, so what's making it rise? and seriously, a whole egg for a cake that small? Google first pointed me to a forum overflowing with complaints from people who'd tried it... but then pointed me to Not Quite Nigella, who has a very pretty website and who had modified the recipe a bit, making it look more likely to work. I used her recipe.

And now, live on the internet, I taste the cake ...

nom nom nom ...

... and find it quite okay! Not awesome, and it would definitely be improved by adding the prescribed chocolate chips, and possibly some cream and raspberries, but a perfectly acceptable little cakey treat.

The only problem is that Not-Nigella's modified recipe actually makes two little cakey treats. Oh, this could be dangerous.

That concludes my Cabin Fever series. I'll be back at the office tomorrow. Thank you for your attention.

Symptoms present: hacking cough, still.
Symptoms missing: swine flu!
Boredom level: not at all.
Days to go: none!

Cabin Fever, Day 4

I've become invisible! Quoting from the Ministry of Health's swine flu media release for yesterday, 10 June:

"There are 92 people in isolation or quarantine and being treated with Tamiflu. This is down from 161 yesterday (Tuesday June 9 June 2009). The numbers of people in isolation vary according to when they complete 72 hours of the five-day course of Tamiflu.

After today, suspected cases and numbers of people in isolation will no longer be reported. Fewer reporting requirements on public health services helps to relieve administrative pressure and allows them to focus on the increasing number of calls on their services in response to H1N1 cases."

Two things strike me as interesting:
1) they say the isolation period ends after 72 hours of the five day Tamiflu course. That's not what I was told: I was told to stay in isolation for the entire five days.
2) they're going to stop reporting numbers! Does it really take that much effort to query a database and write a sentence containing the number? Or, and I believe this is more likely, do they not have a database, and have to collate all the data manually.

Given that I still haven't been contacted directly by the Auckland District Health Board, and that they still haven't processed my swab, I think the latter explanation is more likely.

Which makes me fear what would happen if this was a serious pandemic, not just a normal flu with added oinking.

Symptoms today: hacking cough, sore stomach muscles and throat from coughing incessantly all night.
Symptoms missing: all other flu symptoms. this is definitely just a cold.
Boredom level: nil. Actually not bored at all, but craving human interaction.
Days to go: one and a half.

Wednesday 10 June 2009

Cabin Fever, Day 3 - updates

Catherine the sender of lovely soup and milk said I should see who else was in quarantine, and set up a Twitter group. I haven't succumbed to Twitter yet but over at Stuff, Guy MacGibbon is in quarantine and blogging incessantly. I have borrowed his idea and started to anthropomorphise my Wii (not a sentence you'd want to read out loud).

Cabin Fever, Day 2 (Tuesday)

I had been thinking about sneaking out to the shops in the early morning, to get some milk. But I'm glad I didn't - even though I am sure I don't have the flu, I don't fancy being arrested and fined. Besides, it was raining.

I was really busy today. I believe it's called displacement activity. All those little household chores.... I planted out some new herbs, which have been languishing in their little plastic pottles since I bought them over a week ago:

I defrosted the freezer, for the first time in years (I'm not a domestic goddess). It took ages:I studied for my exams:

And I did some paid work, although not as much as I should have. My workstation at home is not very ergonomic:

I miss proper coffee.

My friends are finding this quite entertaining. The lovely Catherine sent me some delicious pea and ham soup with bread and MILK, YAY!, and the New Bloke's workmates ginned up a very authentic-looking health warning containing our names (he's fine).

Symptoms present: cough, rusty voice
Symptoms not present: sniffles, aches, headache, fever, curly tail.
Boredom: actually lower than yesterday - I'm more alert and have lots to do
Days to go: two and a half

Tuesday 9 June 2009

Cabin Fever, Day 1

As at 8 June, 56 people in the Auckland region are isolated with flu-like symptoms, awaiting the results of tests to confirm whether they've got it or not. One of them is me.

I'm pretty sure I haven't got it. In fact I don't think I've got flu at all; I think it's just a bad cold. But I've just come back from a fabulous Melbourne holiday with the New Bloke, and the doctor couldn't rule out swine flu, so here I am, stuck at home for the next five days, taking Tamiflu and waiting for my test results. (I'm not completely quarantined, just can't go to work or spend lots of time around people.)

Visual representation of my first day:

Finished the top book, read the middle one start to finish (but... it's a children's book, and a re-read), started the bottom book, and did the small amount of work on the scribbled pages. Pathetic.

In my defence, I am actually sick. I spent about half the day asleep, trying to escape the headache and cough, and my brain's pretty much non-operational. I've nearly lost my voice, but it's amazing how this isn't an issue when you're stuck at home alone.

After the bird flu scare, I'd made half-assed plans for what I'd do if I had to stay at home for a while. So I've got a whole lot of canned food and so on in a box, and that's about it. This will be a good test of my readiness for a real emergency.

If I feel better tomorrow I'm going to get better organised about this. How often do you get a chance to test your disaster plan AND get all those odd jobs done around the house?

Symptoms present: cough, sore throat, blocked nose, headache, tired, stupid.
Symptoms missing: fever, aches, oinking.
Boredom level: moderate. Too sick to be bored, really.
Days to go: four.