Yesterday, at 3:58, two minutes until my call was over, I got a call from hospital administration.
"Will you do a live interview on Fox 16 tomorrow about the swine flu?"
It was a challenge. One I had to think about, especially since I had been on call all weekend and work had deprived me of knowledge about the new pandemic. I first learned about it from Gasper on his blog. Now I had 24 hours to bone up on the swine flu so I could be perceived as an expert on TV.
It was a rough 24 hours, fraught with stomach knots and, again, GI distress. I read all the info on nytimes reader questions and cdc.gov. I memorized it. Then I discussed the matter with the head of microbiology, and attended some meetings today to learn about what we, at our hospital, were doing to prepare for what the World Health Organization had deemed a Level 4 pandemic. I felt like I was reading Stephen King's The Stand all over again.
I was cursing myself for agreeing to go on live television all the way up to the 5:00 news. I reached the Channel 16 metroplex at 4:45 and called my dad.
"I don't want to do this. I don't know why I agreed. I'm gonna make a fool out of myself and all the people that trusted me to represent the hospital."
"Don't worry, Elizabeth. You'll be fine. Pretend you are discussing it with your kids."
Good advice. I am so uninhibited with them. As I entered the building, and was escorted to the breakroom, I became strangely upbeat about the whole situation. I was prepared, damn it. Despite the fact that I had attempted to hide my tv appearance from everyone I knew, so I wouldn't have to worry about being watched by friends, I felt like I might actually do ok.
Ike was impressed. My dad was encouraging. Both expected, because after all, if your husband and dad aren't on your side, who is?
The Fox 16 news team told me they wanted me back, for future interviews. Maybe they say that to everyone, to make them feel better about their interviews. I was just happy I kept a running conversation and didn't freeze up, or god forbid, projectile vomit on Donna Terrell (sp?). I was surprised to find that I didn't really have enough time to discuss all that I wanted to about the swine flu. I wanted to say more.
I know everything, currently, that there is to know about the swine flu. Including the hilarious battle of the name - no one can really isolate the original pig. Israel is trying to call it the Mexican flu, and Mexico is in a tizzy. They don't want to be forever saddled with the nomenclature baggage, like the 1918 Spanish flu, which really originated in Kansas. Hard to blame them.
Any questions? Feel free to ask. I can probably answer them.