I ventured down to the southern-most areas of Mexico City for an assignment for an NYC publication.

After seeing a guy and his dad talk to Milenio in front of Mexico City’s federal respiratory hospital, I decided it might be a good idea to see if they were swine flu victims. One of them was and just getting out of the hospital, the other gentlman was his dad. They were telling the TV newsman that they had just gotten stuck with a big medical bill.

Somehow, my PNC (Photog In Crime) Deanna Dent, a rising young photojournalist and multimedia reporter convinced the guy, his dad, and the guy’s wife to allow us to drive with them 30 minutes to their house to witness the son’s homecoming. What followed was sad and really all crunchy, corny and sweet. Its was a reminder that this virus, as grave as it may seem, isn’t a total killer.

Albeit, the recovering victim was a former boxing champ and currently makes his money as a personal boxing trainer and is all of 30 years old. That brought home the fact that swine flu strikes the young and able, Mr. Ruiz may have lucked out with only a 3-day hospital stay.

While he seemed well, he still had a nasty cough, but the medicine– fairly costly, it presented a challenge to the family budget–seemed to be doing the trick.

What a trip though, for his family: father, mother, aunt, wife two boys and 2-year old daughter with a suspicious little stare. Watching the news, seeing the global pandemic hysteria take shape. They, of course, were all thrilled swine flu didn’t take their favorite boxing dad, even if the baby girl didn’t show it right away. She had a little attitude early on, a little upset pops left without notice like that. But she warmed up and smiled again, because after a few days, things were back to normal.

Best of luck to the Ruiz family.

More details to follow once this story gets published. Promise I’ll share.

swine flu victims

Hospital cross street in Tlalpan Six people died from swine flu in this section of Mexico City.



    1. Thanks, if you only knew how nervous I got every time cuz coughed. I wore gloves most of the time, so i figured that cut down my chances of contact with any bugs. I figure if cats go to Iraq and embed with Marines, going to a sick dude’s house is just the kind of thing you have to do as a journalist.

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