Monday, November 30, 2009

A Swine Flu Thanksgiving

Sorry I haven't written here in a while. I wrote in my last email update about our swine flu experience and our medical problems in general this semester. Basically, we are pretty familiar with a lot of the doctors and hospitals in the area at this point. During the first week that myself and many of our students were getting sick, the dorm just felt dead. Either you were sick or you felt sorry for those who were sick and also felt like you were going to go down any day. Here's a picture of a white board we were keeping by the front door during the week.

At the time this picture was taken, there were nine people in the dorm feeling under the weather, including two staff (Danielle and myself). The piece of paper taped to the board is actually a police report created by a student. He decided to get cute and make a chalk outline of a person out of tape on the junior floor. He got sick not long after.

To follow up on my email: the school was closed Monday and Tuesday, the 16th and 17th to help prevent the spread of swine flu. On Wednesday most of the students went back to school, but there were still some kept home. Now if you happen to remember from last year, BFA celebrates Thanksgiving on the wrong date in the dorms. Why? I guess it's a compromise between the Canadian and U.S. Thanksgiving dates. But really. I don't know. It's weird. So we were all set to celebrate on Thursday the 19th, a week early. We invited all of the people who help sub in our dorms to join us. Here's a blurry picture of some of the folks eating in our dining room.

If all of the students had been healthy, we would have had somewhere around 50 people for dinner that night. But they weren't all healthy so there were a little less. Yes, we had four students with the flu who were not able to celebrate Thanksgiving with the rest of us. It was really sad! Instead we let them celebrate together in one of the extra rooms on the junior floor. They were a sorry sight. I couldn't decide if it was more funny or sad. We brought them platters of all the food from downstairs, I prayed for them, and we just let them dig in. Here's a picture of the Swine Flu Thanksgiving, again blurry. Sorry about that.

The weekend following was my weekend off so I disappeared for a few days. I came back on Monday to the news that Anna, Danielle, and the Storrs' two children were all sick with swine flu and had been sick all weekend. Poor Greg! He must have had an exhausting weekend. The good news is that none of our students were sick any longer. By Wednesday, everyone in the dorm was flu-free and feeling good. It has been several days now, and it seems like this trial of sickness is behind us.

When we celebrated Thanksgiving in the dorm, Greg gave a short devotion before the meal and emphasized that we should be thankful for everything, including the painful circumstances in our lives. This two-week battle with swine flu was not necessarily a barrel of fun, but I can see some positives that came from it. Many of the students were able to use the time off to catch up on some of their homework. They also spent a lot of extra time with each other having fun and strengthening relationships (especially since they weren't really allowed to leave the dorm or go anywhere). All of them, even the ones who were sick, were able to get a lot more rest than normal. I personally was thankful that I was forced to get a lot of rest the week I was sick even though it was frustrating not to be able to help out around the dorm. Also, this time in the semester in November is when the students often get really restless and harder to deal with because they are ready for a break and the end is almost in sight but not quite. With all the focus on the swine flu and sickness in the dorm, it felt like we kind of skipped that period of time. Now there are only a few weeks left, and I think we can make it! Thank you for your prayers!