Kate & Steve – Swine Flu

Study the transcript of this episode as a lesson on LingQ, saving the words and phrases you don’t know to your database. Here it is!

Kate and Steve talk about the H1N1 flu epidemic and other topics.

Steve: Hello there, today Mark is away.

And, besides, we’ve had a lot of complaints that people have trouble telling Mark’s voice from mine, that we should have a female voice.

So I’ve gone and recruited Kate, who’s normally busy on the lumber side here, and I’m going to talk to her about swine flu because she recently had some swine flu immunization shots.

Didn’t you, Kate?

Kate: Yes.

I got the regular seasonal flu vaccine for the first time in my life and at the same time I got the H1N1 vaccine, which is the one that is causing the controversy all over the world.

Steve: Now, there was quite a bit of controversy here because the Calgary Flames Hockey Team managed to get all their players and their family members vaccinated when there are all kinds of people who are waiting for the vaccine.

So are you a professional athlete?

Do you know someone?

How did you manage to jump ahead of the others and get this vaccine?

Kate: Well, you see, that really is the issue.

When I went in to the community center, just across the road from our office earlier in the week, I really felt quite…I was wondering whether, you know, people would be screaming and picketing “We want the vaccine” because they’re rolling it out.

They’re vaccinating people here in B.C.

on a sort of need-to-be-vaccinated basis.

So the first group to be vaccinated would be those with, they say, chronic conditions; for example, diabetes or asthma.

I have asthma.

Now I’m a very healthy person.

I exercise.

I am in good health.

Steve: Right.

Kate: But I do have asthma.

If I exercise in the cold, if I exercise very hard, suddenly it feels like there’s an elephant sitting on my chest.

So I do take a daily medication — a puffer — and I have an emergency puffer.

Steve: So this is not an asthma of convenience in order to get a vaccine?

Kate: No.

Steve: I’m not accusing, I’m just asking you.

I’m taking notes and you will be reported.

Kate: Exactly. This is a real issue.

This certainly has come up that anyone could walk in and say well, I have, you know, whatever…asthma, diabetes, kidney problems, whatever and get the vaccine ahead of people who really do have problems.

Steve: And they don’t ask you to verify it or prove it.

Kate: Well, you see, they do have nurses, apparently.

Either you can go to your doctor, who presumably would know your medical history and know whether you’re in the priority group, because I believe the first week the priority group is those with these chronic conditions that would leave you vulnerable to the H1N1 disease.

It does apparently really affect the lungs and the chest, so, okay, that’s why asthma makes the list.

But then if you go to the community centers they have sort of addressed this concern of people jumping the queue.

They do have a nurse there, so the first person I had to speak to was the nurse and everyone had to speak to the nurse.

There were a lot of people with young children there because another priority group is immediate caregivers of young children.

So when the nurse asked me sort of, you know, “What are you here for?” I said well I suppose the seasonal vaccine is probably a good idea and I have asthma, so I understand that’s an underlying condition.

Steve: Did you tell her that you parked in the handicapped spot?

Kate: Yeah. No, no, I was pretty good to walk across the street.

Steve: Alright.

Kate: You know I cycle, I’m in good health, but when I go cycling in the fall when the air is chilly I have to make sure to take my medication or I’m on the side of the road doubled over going “eeekkk.”

Steve: Right.

Kate: But, you know, I know how to deal with it.

Steve: Okay, I’m just joking.

Kate: Well, but she did ask me and I said, you know, I don’t know how to prove it.

I said I have my medication with me, it has my name on it and she said, basically, “okay.” I mean I think I looked pretty straightforward to her.

Steve: No, that can’t be the reason.

It must have been some other reason.

Kate: Yeah.

You know me too well, Steve.

You know me too well.

Steve: You slipped her a couple of five dollar bills.

Kate: Well, certainly there have been…

Steve: I mean you have to trust people, too.

Kate: Well…

Steve: I mean for a society to operate there has to be some level of trust, really.

Kate: There has to be, but, still, people seem to be so desperate and so angry about the availability or lack of availability of the vaccine.

I can certainly see that and there certainly have been stories in the news about well, you know someone could just borrow a puffer.

Well, exactly.

My puffer has my name on it, my doctor’s name, everything.

So I said to the nurse, I said, you know, “Do I need a doctor’s note or what?” And she sort of said, you know, “No.” If she had said “boo” I was prepared to leave.

I’m not going to fight for it.

But two weeks ago I probably would not have gotten the vaccine with all the contradictory information on the side effects, everything, but I guess in the last week or so talking to my sister who has three small children, talking to friends, my husband saying “You know we’re going to be traveling at Christmas, we’re going to be on planes, it will just be no fun.

I really think we should get vaccinated with anything we can.” Steve: Right.

Kate: It does sound like the H1N1 can be nasty.

As I said, a couple weeks ago I thought well, the flu is not that bad.

You know you’re sort of down for three or four days, you know, it happens.

Steve: Right.

Kate: But then B.S.

You hear the stories of people who have been healthy and then within three days they’re in the hospital in very bad condition and/or dead.

Steve: Yeah.

Kate: So the H1N1 seems to strike very quickly.

Steve: I read something in the paper this morning that it might have passed its peak, according to some expert. Who knows?

Kate: Who knows? Who knows?

Steve: Yeah, who knows?

Kate: A friend was just diagnosed with it yesterday and he’s at home with apparently such a splitting headache he can’t even move without throwing up.

His doctor wants to see him again.

He’s been sick for a week and it got worse after five days, so, you know.

And he has apparently severe chest pains, so that’s not pretty.

Steve: Not nice.

Kate: And he’s a very healthy guy in his mid 40s, so it can hit anybody.

Steve: I mean it is amazing this whole flu thing.

I mean I remember reading once that more people died from the so-called Spanish flu in 1918 than died in the First World War.

So you had all these people massacred during the First World War and then this Spanish flu hit and millions of people died from it.

So I mean, yeah, we are pretty vulnerable.

So, at any rate, so you’re healthy.

Where you are going?

Assuming now that you won’t get the flu, where are you going over Christmas?

Kate: I’m going to visit my sister with her three small children.

Steve: Right.

Kate: You know children, big germ factories.

Steve: And where do they live?

Kate: They’re in Ontario.

Steve: Oh, I see.

Kate: So it’s about a five-hour plane ride from Vancouver.

Steve: Oh, I thought you were going on a bicycling trip across Siberia.

Kate: No, no, not so much biking in the winter.

We’d have to get our snow tires.

Steve: Yeah, no.

Kate: No, just Christmas with the nieces.

Steve: Oh, okay.

Tell me, you know there are all these sorts of things, these events that affect sort of all of the world it seems.

Like we have the swine flu issue, there’s lots of controversy about the global warming issue, then we have the present economic crisis, so it seems like we’re beset by all these sort of events that our outside our control.

So we live our little lives, we plan our little trips, we meet with our friends or family and we eat and yet there’s all these other storms out there.

And I think nowadays with not only, you know, mass media but also the social networking and all this stuff, everything seems to be, you know, more dramatic than maybe it was before.

I don’t know.

Kate: Well I agree with you in that the information travels so quickly and can become a big story so quickly so that…I mean hundreds of years ago an epidemic of whatever in Europe no one in Asia would ever know about it.

Steve: No.

Kate: No one exploring out where it takes a month and a half or six months to go across an ocean would ever know what’s happening on the other side of the world. That’s it.

Your whole family could die of an epidemic and you’d never know it if you were an explorer, but now I mean you’d have a Twitter or an email or a text message within seconds.

Steve: Well that’s right.

And, of course, we travel and so we’re bringing, carrying all of these things.

Kate: How did you find Europe then?

Steve: Well, Carmen and I, we were in Portugal and Spain.

I mean both Spain and Portugal have swine flu or H1N1.

We just made a point of washing our hands a little more often than normal.

We didn’t get anything.

We didn’t really see anyone that looked to be sneezing our way, you know, so it was okay.

We didn’t really have a…

Kate: And you didn’t see…how about the media?

Because that’s it here they’re talking about shortages of staff and…

Steve: Yeah.

I mean there was a media…because, as you know, I am learning Russian, so on the Russian news program that I listen to the Russians, earlier in the summer, their health minister had issued an edict that kids who were planning to go to the U.K.

to study English would not be allowed to go.

Kate: Oh?

Steve: Yeah, the U.K.

Because at that time they figured the U.K.

was the real center of swine flu.

And I think someone mentioned that now Italy has also come up with some kind of a notice about not traveling to the U.K.

But we were in the U.K.

visiting with my son and his family.

I mean we didn’t feel threatened.

They didn’t feel threatened.

But, yeah, it’s out there, it’s out there, but, still, more people die from car accidents.

That’s not to say that one shouldn’t take precautions, but I think to walk around in dread of catching the swine flu.

Yeah, every time, you know, obviously a very tragic story, a 15 year old girl or a boy, you know, a teenager in the prime of health gets this thing and dies, so that’s on the front page and then the funeral and the family weeping and grieving.

And so then you say gee, that could happen to my grandchildren or to me or whatever, but people also get hit by cars.

You know I’m not trying to minimize it, but it’s…

I also believe that…there was an article in the paper the other day explaining that they really hadn’t defined this particular virus until, whenever it was, six-eight months ago and then it takes a certain period of time to develop.

First of all you’ve got to find out what exactly it is then you have to come up with an antibody, some kind of a vaccine.

That doesn’t happen overnight.

Kate: No.

Steve: No.

And so then the health officials have to make certain decisions: How much of the seasonal flu vaccine are they going to make or order, how much of this other are they going to order and how are they going to distribute it and where are they going to distribute it.

It’s not such an easy thing to do.

I, of course, don’t know, but I’m not ready to be persuaded that the government botched it, that the health system botched it.

Kate: Well, as you say, it’s such a huge decision with so many factors and that’s it, I think, going back to your point that things become bigger perhaps because of the media exposure.

They’ve been doing their best in Canada to convince people to get the H1N1 vaccine and they may have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

Steve: Beyond their ability to supply.

Kate: Yeah.

Because there are certainly a lot of people who do not believe in vaccines and believe vaccines whether they have mercury or the thimerosal or fish oils or I don’t know what.

Steve: Yeah.

Kate: There are things in vaccines that people don’t believe are good for them.

Steve: Right.

Kate: So some people are just simply anti vaccine.

Steve: Right.

Kate: And then there are people who, you know as I certainly was thinking, ah, you know the flu, not a big deal.

Steve: Right.

And then there’s the usual, ah, it’s just the pharmaceutical companies trying to make money.

Kate: Exactly.

Steve: So there’s always those conspiriologists who see a conspiracy.

Speaking of conspiracies — you know I enjoy people who see conspiracies everywhere — we came home and my in-floor heat system wasn’t working properly, so we called the plumber and the plumbing company sent over a plumber; very knowledgeable guy whose name is Ali and he’s originally from Iran.

Nice guy.

I like accents and try to identify where people are from.

He’s been here a long time and, you know, totally with it.

You know, “Hi, Steve.

Okay, where’s your problem.” But he speaks with his accent and I said “Ah, you’re originally from Iran.” “Oh, yes,” he says.

Then he goes on.

He goes “Oh, you know we’ve got these crazy Mullahs” and blah, blah, blah.

And he said, “But you know it’s not our fault.” I said, “It’s not your fault, for sure.” “Well, you know the Mullahs?

You know who put them there?” I said “No.” “The British.”

Kate: Oh? I had no idea.

Steve: So the Mullahs are an instrument of British foreign policy or something.

Because of course the British in the previous century and in the early part of the previous century…

Kate: The British Empire.

Steve: …they were all over plotting and scheming and doing their thing.

Kate: Well the sun never set on them.

Steve: Well, that’s right and they were playing one off against another I’m sure, yeah, but today in Iran the idea that the Mullahs basically were planted there by the British.

I thought that was in terms of conspiracy theories and I bet you he’s not the only one who thinks that.

I think there’s probably quite a widespread, you know, this is obviously the Mullahs…like he doesn’t like them.

I said “But I understand in Iran that you have, you know, part of the population, particularly the urban population, who aren’t so very religious, but that in the countryside people are quite religious.” “Oh, no, no, no, no, it’s just the British.” Well, okay.

And then he said, “You know we are not like the Saudis, our women wouldn’t wander around with their faces covered.

Iranian women are very strong and they may be the ones to take down the Mullahs.” I said “That’s good.

You know, that’s a good theory.” And I’m sure that there are women like that.

But I was in an Iranian restaurant here.

Every so often I go to an Iranian restaurant because I’m attracted by exotic food and then I end up with…

Kate: Iranian food is fabulous.

Steve: Well not to me.

I end up heartburn for the whole afternoon, but I keep on going back, you know?

Eggplant stew with gosh knows what.

Kate: Oh, yeah.

Steve: But this lady serving, who didn’t speak English very well, so I chatted with her.

Of course gave her a LingQ card and told her to go to LingQ.

But I said, “Well how do you like it here in Vancouver?” She’s been here like four months or something.

And she said, “I like it.” “Well why do you like it?” “Because of the law.

Because in Iran women have no rights.” And so I’m saying to myself, who is probably closer to the truth, this lady who is serving in the restaurant or Ali?

Kate: And he’s been here how many years.

Steve: And he’s been how many years, yeah.

Kate: And she’s been there a little more recently and gets it.

Steve: Right.

Kate: It affects her.

Steve: Yeah, but I’m sure…everything that I’ve seen would indicate that women in Iran are much freer than they are in Saudi Arabia.

Kate: Yes. Well, ah…

Steve: But I’m sure that the women in Syria are much freer than they are in Iran and she said so.

She was in Damascus and there the women you don’t see so many hijabs and stuff and the women are, you know, basically allowed to be more free.

But I don’t buy the idea that somehow the women are going to bring down the Mullahs and that the Mullahs were put in there by the British.

I think that’s kind of stretching it a bit.

Kate: I really have never heard the British thing. That’s interesting.

Steve: And then he went on to say that in Iraq, of course, the Americans are the ones behind the Curds wanting to be separate or whatever.

I mean there is enough of a, you know, ethnic division there.

It may serve the Americans there I have no idea, but to suggest that it’s exclusively created by the Americans.

I always find that in countries where they try to pin the fault or blame for their own problems on others that that quality is in itself probably the main reason why they’re in trouble in the first place.

You know whatever the circumstances it comes back to you, your group.

Kate: It’s not an outside force which is driving that.

Steve: I mean there are outside forces, but yeah.

Kate: But not completely. I mean I don’t think…

Steve: Exactly.

There’s got to be…you’ve got to begin by looking at yourself.

Anyway, so that was the conspiracy theory.

So the conspiracy theory, certainly there’s lots of conspiracy theorists here who feel that…I mean I’m sure there are people who believe that the H1N1 flu was created by the big multinational pharmaceutical companies so that they could make money.

It wouldn’t be hard to sell that theory.

Kate: No, no.

There are certainly some people who believe that probably all illnesses were concocted by the drug companies.

Steve: So you are vaccinated. Now I don’t need a vaccine you know.

Kate: Because you were born before 1957, perhaps, maybe.

Steve: Fifty-one even.

Kate: Ooh!

No, I didn’t say that, did I?

Steve: I know. But apparently if you’re born before 1951 you’re immune, they say.

I don’t know.

Kate: Okay. I had heard ’57, I think.

Steve: Is that right, ay?

Kate: Who knows?

Steve: I qualify for both.

Kate: There you go. You’re good.

Plus you’re just healthy.

Steve: Well, but being healthy there’s no guarantee.

Kate: No, you’re right. That’s the whole point, yeah.

Steve: A number of the people we’ve seen, teenagers or even middle-aged people…not middle-aged, but people in their 30s have been extremely healthy, like your friend in his early 40s.

Kate: Exactly. Well then you’re lucky, because actually the vaccine really hurts.

Steve: Oh, it does hurt?

Kate: Well I got it…not the vaccine itself, but you know I got the seasonal in one arm and the H1N1 in the other.

And the one that I got the seasonal in is from four days ago a teeny bit achy, but the one that I got the H1N1 still feels like I basically tried to go through a brick wall…

Steve: Oh, really.

Kate: …shoulder first.

Steve: So it feels like a bruise?

Kate: Yeah. It feels very bruised.

Steve: Not like a bee sting?

Kate: No. Well, no, because it goes into the muscle.

Steve: Right.

Kate: So the whole sort of upper arm muscle is very sore, so putting my, you know, shirt or sweater on for a few days was very, very painful.

Steve: Wow.

Kate: It just feels like a really, really badly bruised and/or overused muscle and I’ve heard that from other people.

The aches are apparently sort of four or five days for the H1N1.

Steve: Really? Still, preferable to having the flu.

Kate: Absolutely.

Steve: Kate, thank you very much for visiting with us.

And, we’ll see, maybe people don’t want Mark to come back.

But then you have your work to do too, don’t you?

Kate: Yes.

And Mark’s coming back whether anybody likes it or not.

Steve: Well he’s coming back here, but he doesn’t have to come back on our show here. Okay.

Thank you very much, Kate.

Kate: Thanks Steve.

Steve: Bye.

Kate: Bye.

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