Today has been the last day of my quarantine. I’ve spent all day watching the series Breaking Bad. I know I should be watching Chinese television or watching the world go by fifteen floors beneath, but I wanted the day to go by as fast as possible. And it really has.
Earlier today, Jerry called me asking for my temperature, which I gladly gave to him (my usual 36.7 degrees Celsius), and a reminder that I would gladly be welcomed back into the international studies program tomorrow at 8:00 am. I kind of feel like I did something wrong and I was a bad girl, locked in timeout for five days. It reminded me of a video clip I watched while doing research for CSAAH – the Center for Asian American Health at the NYU medical center – on Hepatitis B. A college student was complaining about being rejected from a prime institution because he had the blood disease. Check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyyW2GfMgvY. I’m not saying that Jiaoda would have sent me home had I had H1N1, but if I had AIDS, I’m pretty sure that I would not have been a. given a scholarship or b. granted a visa. I get this feeling because during my scholarship and application process I had to prove to the government (in myriad ways) that I did not have any major infectious diseases. Now, without even showing symptoms of a disease, I have been isolated for over one hundred hours.
Having said that, I do understand why people are being isolated in China. On CCTV 9, China’s English language channel, the news on H1N1 is being conveyed in a similar fashion to the States’ news coverage in April of this year. Public health professionals are saying that the virus can spread to an entire population within six days. Moreover, though there is a treatment for this flu, many victims of the virus must be treated in the ICU due to severe respiratory problems, which costs a lot of money. If Beijing were to have an outbreak of H1N1 (Jerry has told me that there have already been 80 reported cases in one of the surrounding universities), the hospitals may not have the capacity to handle such an influx of patients. So, China’s motto seems to be “better safe than sorry,” and I’ve just become a part of their safety protocol.
All in all, this period of quarantine hasn’t been as bad as I thought it would be. The internet saved my life (thank you, Internet!) and I have been able to make a friend out of my favorite restaurant’s delivery man. Also, the experience did expose me to the fact that bumps do happen when your’e on your own studying abroad in a new country, abiding by another nation’s rules and regulations. I don’t welcome any more frightening situations, but I am certainly braced for them.