Medic!

Mum – don’t worry, I’m fine …

A post to prove that I haven’t succumbed to swine flu and, for the moment at least, am alive and well. If you’re reading this, then I guess you’re not dead from swine flu either – which is apparently at global pandemic proportions. Once the WHO (World Health Organisation, in case you’re wondering) raised the status of a bunch of Mexicans having a cold (yes, I know it’s more serious than that) to global pandemic level, governments kicked their action plans into, errr, action I guess.

In the UK, I’m told this basically means instructing people to cover their mouths when sneezing or coughing. Doesn’t this happen anyway, or have hygiene standards in the UK slipped to Hong Kong levels whilst I’ve been away? Fortunately, Hong Kong, having dealt with SARS in the past is well prepared for these non-events. There has been an increase in the number of locals wearing masks (the surgical/sterile variety – not the Hallowe’en ones). There are still more people not wearing them than wearing them though. This does make me wonder if those wearing them are infected with the plague swine flu. Wearing these flimsy little masks does apparently enable you to cough/sneeze even more freely than before without the need for covering one’s mouth. The  MTR is truly delightful at the moment as a result … especially given the thoughts of infected/not infected as expressed above.

Swine flu has hit Hong Kong though. I read in the local free paper (think low quality Metro and you’re still not quite there – yes, it’s worse than thelondoner or whatever it’s called) that the Metropark  Hotel in Wanchai had been quarantined off due to the dreaded swine flu. Apparently, someone from Mexico had brought it in (what a surprise!), but within a couple of days the authorities had already picked up the drivers and cabs that the guy had taken and screened/scrubbed them. Just to clarify, that is they had screened the drivers, and scrubbed the cabs. Wanchai is a fairly large area within Hong Kong Island, so I didn’t give the story much thought (bunch of tourists trapped in a hotel seemed quite funny), until I was out shopping on Monday. Within 300 yards of my apartment there was a police cordon at a street corner, and quite a bit of press activity. Looking across to the building that was surrounded I saw someone leaning out of about a 7th storey window. ‘Nutter about to jump’ was my original thought. Then scanning down to the building name, I saw ‘Metropark Hotel’. Admittedly, it took a few seconds for everything to register and fall into place, but it seems that the swine flu pandemic is on my doorstep.  I still haven’t rushed to the pharmacy chemist to buy sterile masks though – that would be a sign of hypochondria after all, and not at all manly.

As of today, they’re still holed up in the hotel – the guests (prisoners?) must be going mad with cabin-fever by now. Fortunately, as I’m not  infected I was able to enjoy the long weekend just gone. We get Labour Day rather than May Day here, which means we had Friday as a public holiday rather than Monday. To improve the weekend, the weather was blue skies and sunshine over all three days, which was fantastic. Not so fantastic was  playing hockey at 12:30 on Sunday in the heat/humidity though. We lost to the local rivals (Football Club B) 4-2. It was 3-1 at half time despite them having no keeper for the first half. How does that work?

I wasn’t exactly on my best form having been out the night before. One of the Ladies A team had organised post-match roof-top drinks on Saturday night. This civilised small get-together seemed to carry on for quite some time with a rapidly expanding guest list. The roof top became quite busy, wine was flowing, and much fun was had by all. Prime location had to be the hammock though, which was very comfortable. By about 2am I had managed to secure this location for myself and was thoroughly enjoying myself … right up until I somehow tipped myself out of the hammock. I’m still not sure how this happened. I’d like to think other people were to blame for tipping me. What I do know, is that my fall to the ground was ‘cushioned’ by landing on a wine glass which immediately shattered and meant I landed ungracefully on the ground with an assortment of cuts, scrapes, and a nasty looking laceration to my calf.

Alcohol being a good anesthetic meant I was aware of this, but not in too much pain, although there was some bleeding. No arteries cut, and not masses of blood, but enough to make those queasy feel uncomfortable. I’m told I’ve left a trail of blood from the roof-top down to the kitchen where I was tended to and patched up. The kitchen being nextdoor to the bathroom where the apartment owner was busy throwing up (through alcohol not at the sight of blood). Suffice to say, between the two of us we cleared that party in record time.

Turning up to hockey the next day having to explain the variety of bandages I was wearing as a result of a ‘hammock incident’ is slightly embarrassing. Hospital was suggested for stitches, but I’ve since been told that the queues at hospitals are no fun whatsoever. Lots of hypochondriacs (twice in one post for that word) with a mild sniffle, heat sensors, temperature readings as you walk in, and before you are examined, and surrounded by sick people does not appeal. I’m fully stocked on antiseptic cream and bandages, and will wait for the wounds to heal naturally. I might even get a ‘cool’ scar out of it.

Hope you’re all well, and I’m hoping to plan a trip back to the UK in July to see as many friends and family as possible!

Update: I also meant to add that after the pandemic upgrade, my building put clear plastic over the lift buttons. It took pointing out by friends that this was so they could be wiped (hourly) to sterilise them that this was the purpose of the plastic covering. Sometimes, I can be a bit slow on the uptake.

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