Saturday, October 25, 2014

Vaccination Frustration

None of us are old enough to remember the killer bugs of the first half of the 20th century. Thirty years ago I knew one elderly polio survivor who had a great deal of trouble walking. But he was at least alive. Polio was a serious fear for every parent.

In the 1960s, I contracted rubella. It was sort of like chicken pox (which I also had), but the bumps were smaller. I recovered in about two weeks. Something had changed, though. One of my eyes went all fuzzy. I couldn't see out of it anymore. Because I still had a good eye, I was able to keep this sudden change secret ... until the school nurse tested me and called my parents on the phone.

In college I had a boyfriend whose mother got rubella while she was pregnant. When she gave birth, her twins were both deaf.

For me, it was a no-brainer to give my daughters the full flight of vaccinations, which now included rubella. If there is indeed a link between a small numbers of children and reactions to the vaccines, I would say it is still not as deadly as getting the diseases that the vaccines protect us against.

Every October, I get a flu shot. Again, a no-brainer. I work in a school. I'm around 500 people a day. I've had the flu, and what I find it to be is a terrific consumer of sick days. At my age, I need my sick days to pile up in case I get something more serious.

On Wednesday I got my flu shot and gave it no more thought. Sadly, one of my colleagues had a mild cold and called out on Thursday.

It's Saturday, and I'm too sick to move from the chair. I would probably have a mild cold today, but I sent my immune system into overdrive. It's fighting both the cold and the fake flu, and the cold is winning.

When I look out the window, I see a glorious autumn Saturday. I'll miss it. Sunday looks like a wash too.

It's frustrating, but I have no regrets. While I hate GMOs and fracking, I'm more bullish on vaccination programs. This may be because I remember seeing polio, and I remember having rubella. Glad those plagues are in the archives.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

I remember my Mom taking me to the Community Hall in our town when I was a wee girl to get my polio vaccine. It was a little bit of pink liquid in a paper cup more commonly used in those days for individual ketchup servings. I was too young to get the needle so was given the oral vaccine instead.

I'm a big believer in vaccination too. Today I'm going for my own flu shot.

I hope you feel better soon, Anne! Bummer to be sick on your own time on a weekend.

Terraluna said...

My father survived polio as a child. As a result, he had a shortened and weakened leg and walked with a limp. He had to have his shoes custom made.

My parents subscribed to the traditional paternalistic family hierarchy, and my father didn't ordinarily perform parenting tasks, outside of "You wait 'til your father gets home!" But when it came time to take the brood down to the school gymnasium and stand in line to get our pink sugar cube miracle, it was Dad that herded us through. I didn't understand why at the time, but I knew that this day meant a lot to him.

When I was 18 months old, I was hospitalized with measles, comatose with a 105.4 fever, and not expected to survive.

There is much to rightfully criticize about "modern medicine", but vaccines for those once-feared killer diseases are truly wonders. We tend to forget how many children families buried just a few short generations ago.