So I was enjoying my senior managers meeting at work the other day when our Director of Counseling pulled out a pile of paperwork about pandemic flu planning. It is a surreal and frightening experience to sit with co-workers and brainstorm who will run which departments if people fall ill or pass away. Someone said that they watched an episode of Dateline that stated that the first wave of pandemic flu would attack younger adults. Great. Get the girl with asthma first! As you can imagine, I am absolute last on the list of people to oversee the agency, because it will hopefully give me enough time to recover from the flu, then run the show once I’m immune. I am so torn between thinking this is another scare tactic by the government/media and preparing for quarantine in my apartment for up to 8 weeks at a time. 

I look at my own financial situation, as part of a couple and as a fairly privileged and educated woman, and realize that it is difficult to find the money to purchase extra food, first aid supplies, toiletries, prescription medications, etc. in case of an emergency. We are trying to purchase an extra box of aspirin here and a few cans of tuna there, but it is still a daunting task. And where do we put all of this stuff, if we can afford to buy it? Then I think about my clients and how they struggle, with the help of our programs and others, to make every dollar stretch to feed and cloth and provide medical coverage for their families. If the avian flu (or any other disaster, biological or otherwise) hits this country, there will be such a horrific gap between the “haves” and the “have nots.

Sigh.