Wednesday, November 4, 2009 | Categories: Dr. Brian's Blog |
Lately, we've been inundated with grim news about H1N1 or swine flu. Occasional stories of patients dying that remind us that for some, swine flu is a serious disease. Thousands of us lining up for hours at swine flu clinics without guarantee of getting a shot. Complaints about GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of Canada's swine flu vaccine, confusing messages from public health officials, and charges that the federal and provincial governments have mismanaged the pandemic.
Out of the hand wringing, worrying and whinging, comes a development that I find rather welcome.
I went to a meeting at my synagogue. One of the attendees asked me "so, Brian, do you think I should get vaccine for hiney?" Next day, a patient asked me for a note saying she could go back to work. She said "my boss won't let me come back unless you say I'm not infected with hiney anymore."
The first time I heard H1N1 called hiney, I didn't understand. By the time I heard it for a second time, a light bulb went on.
The virus and the pandemic have acquired a nickname: hiney.
The Dictionary of American Regional English defines hine (also spelled heinie or hinie) as the hind end. You know, the rear, the derriere, caboose, tush, keester, backside, buns, and of course, the buttocks.
It sounds trivial, but the fact the outbreak has been given a nickname (by you) tells me several things. First, you've accepted that H1N1 -- at least for a while -- is here to stay. Second, you're comfortable enough to make a joke about the virus. And third, despite the inconveniences and setbacks, you're prepared to persevere through this.
Whoever came up with the name hiney, I salute you. I nominate you morale officer for the outbreak!
Time to get off your hiney and stop feeling sorry for yourself.