August 24, 2009

What are these people thinking?

The person with whom I share this place, Roy, is diabetic and asthmatic among other things. This means not only that he is extremely susceptible to infections, but also that he cannot take many forms of medication that we wouldn't think twice about because they create havoc with what he has to take for his asthma. Something that would merely be a mild cold for you or me can end up as a full-blown chest infection for him with all the consequences of time off work.

Roy is a civil servant with a public-facing job, which certainly exacerbates the risk of infection seeing so many members of the public every day from all walks of life, often in poor health.

Last week, he saw a woman who spent the whole interview not only being dense but also coughing and spluttering all over him. She then boldly declared that she had been diagnosed with swine 'flu and whipped out a prescription to back the claim up. She also claimed that she'd phoned before coming for the interview and that she'd been told by Roy's coworkers to come in anyway despite her medical condition.

What is wrong with these people? If you've been diagnosed with swine 'flu, you stay at home. You don't go to a location through which many members of the public pass every day, thus potentially spreading your infection to half the population of the town. Not only that, but I'm sure she was lying about being told to come in anyway. I don't think anyone at the office would have been stupid enough to consent to that. Either she didn't call at all or she lied about the answer she was given.

The fact is that Roy is now at home off work with some kind of infection. He called the NHS helpline earlier and it would appear that he is not exhibiting some of the key symptoms associated with swine 'flu, so we're off the hook from that point of view.

There is, however, a good chance that I'm going to catch whatever Roy has caught. I'm also supposed to be travelling southwards to meet up with family in 2-3 weeks from now. If I'm knocked down with something then there's a good chance I'll have to scrap those travel plans. Some of us have a conscience. I have no intention of putting members of my family at risk.

On the other hand, if I'm fit at that time then all will be well.


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