Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Shooting Up

People invariably describe getting the flu as like being hit by a truck, in spite of the fact that a vanishingly small number of flu victims have actually been hit by a truck before. Of course, the tire tracks are a dead giveaway.

I remember years of not bothering to get a flu shot. I had the notion that I just wasn't one of those people who even gets the flu, based on the fact that I'd never gotten it. And that worked right up until the year I did get it. It gave me a lot of clarity about how I felt about flu: I'm agin it. I've gotten a shot every year since then.

You can get free shots at the grocery store but we always walk to the Kaiser clinic because we're happy with our health plan and like to consume as much doctorage as we can. For instance, if you go to Kaiser for a flu shot, they peer into a screen and tell you it's time to get a colonoscopy and a tetanus booster and a derm checkup and a will, so you get a lot of bang for your buck. The other day we showed up for our flu shots and they said they were out of the Senior Big Boy Dose, although we were welcome to have the puny regular-person dose instead. Nobody peered at their screen to discover we were in fact over 65. I think they peered at us. Dave looks like Santa Claus's skinny brother, I've got chin hairs and bingo wings, and we both think they don't make good music anymore. Shoot us up.

The Senior Big Boy Dose contains more antigens. Seniors need them because their immune systems like to take naps. So we put it off until we could get the double whammy. Our arms are a little bit tender and that's how you know it's working. Our immune systems are all Whoa, up and at 'em, what day is it, where's my glasses?

I loves me some vaccines. They've got vaccines for things I've already had and for things that didn't even used to exist. They've got a vaccine for Rotavirus. That might be a Japanese sports car for all I know but there's still a vaccine for it. You can be vaccinated as a teeny tiny baby for future teenage wickedness. Vaccines are the greatest medical breakthroughs since whiskey, which was developed just after the bone saw.

I haven't had that many vaccines even though I'm a fan. That is because I went ahead and had the diseases instead. I had the mumps when I was a mere infant. I don't know how they could tell. I've seen my baby pictures and I couldn't have gotten much rounder than I already was. It must have been the loss of appetite. To this day if I say No to beer or food, you are instructed to call an ambulance.

But I don't have a lot of health problems. My eyes are too close together, my teeth are too close together, and the day I was born and today are too far apart. On the other hand, if you take the average of those two days, I'm only 33. I'm pretty sure that's how statistics works. I'd ask a scientist but who trusts them anymore?

That's a problem. Vaccines have worked so well people are insufficiently worried about disease. So they're declining vaccination in increasing numbers. There are so many rumors out there. And people really, really don't want to be conned. They would rather get a life-threatening disease than fall for some government shenanigans or Big Pharm conspiracy. Nosirree, in a world where the nebulous "they" are always out to get you, many people refuse to get got. They'd rather get measles than get got.

There's considerable evidence that Russians are spreading rumors about such things for the sole purpose of rendering the American population distrustful of any authority at all. Basically, the message is: don't trust anything you see or hear. Journalists are out for themselves. Scientists think they're better than everyone else so they make shit up just to mess with us. This politician is spouting bullshit, but then again they all do. They're all the same. There is no such thing as truth.

Which means you can be made to believe anything. Once your critical skills have been scraped out of your cranium they're free to insert pudding instead. And this time I do mean "they."

Well, when it comes to the truck description of getting the flu, I guess it's the suddenness they're talking about. The BAM aspect, followed by everything hurting. You feel pretty much okay, maybe just a little off, and then you're abruptly not okay, and you might never sleep right or feel good again. I don't know about getting run over by a truck. But it does feel like the last presidential election.

29 comments:

  1. Heh. I hadn't even reached the end of the last paragraph when I started thinking, "That's how I've felt since the 2nd Wednesday in November, 2016!" Of course, you did some great foreshadowing in the preceding two paragraphs.

    Counting on my fingers, I realize I'm now of the age where, when taking my average age, I'm now as old as I've always felt my age to be inside. Average age, that is. I.e, if I didn't look in a mirror and didn't know the correct chronological answer, I'd think I was 32, which is now my average age. If that makes sense....

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    1. You have a lot of fingers. One of the bright things I did was to be rather unhealthy as a young woman so I never feel like I need to recapture my lost youth. I feel better now.

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  2. Be that as it may, there is still an awful lot that people can do on their own to keep themselves healthier. Too many rely completely upon their doctors. For one thing, skip the fast food and the twinkies. I go by the "Michael Pollen Rule": Eat real food... just a little... and mostly plants. Processed food is a killer. Cook it yourself. Exercise is another thing. People won't even get up to change their TV channel let alone walk a few blocks. Convenience is killing us.

    Granted, I do some things that "they" say are bad for you. (Alcohol... I'm lookin' at you...) But I go on the principle that all the good things I do at least mitigate somewhat the bad things I do. And in any case, I'm not after longevity; quality rather than quantity in all things, but especially THAT.

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    1. Just one of the things that was helpful about ditching wheat was that I obsessively read ingredients for a while and basically concluded I needed to not buy ANYTHING in a box, so I've gotten away from processed food almost completely. And today I am putting on my backpack and walking three miles to the grocery store. I am totally keeping my alcohol habit.

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  3. Age and stress are closely related, and stress can cause all kinds of inflammation, neuropathy, and assorted miseries. I got a flu shot in one arm, and a shingles shot in the other. But I am still trying to figure out the stress thing. I want to live in a state like you do with DWDA so when the time comes to leave the planet, I can do so not with a roomful of doctors and nurses I've barely met, but instead quietly alone in my own bed with family just in the other room.

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    1. It's a good start, but it doesn't cover everything. For instance, it's not helpful if you have ALS or Alzheimer's or possibly Parkinson's.

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    2. Oh, and I've read that even if you do qualify for the prescription, it's sometimes hard to find a doctor who will prescribe it, and a pharmacist to fill it.

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  4. I had stuff when I was a kid that nobody’s even heard of today! German Measles? Roseola? It was a rashier world back then. One time I got a rash from eating too many pink grapefruits in one sitting. When they can vaccinate for acne, every one of those anti-vaxxers will line their kids up, right before their orthodontia appointments.

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    1. Which reminds me. Kids don't seem to have acne anymore. At least not the really awful kind. I think they have medicines for it now.

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  5. Haven't been hit by a truck. Been nudged by a car though. Wasn't a fan of that. Got blown over once while standing on the shoulder when a semi going 90 went by. Not a fan of that either. And the flu? Hell, no. I run out and get my shoulder stuck every year!

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    1. Car nudgings are annoying. Dave got nudged recently by a woman driving while looking at her cell phone. He let her know, boy howdy.

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  6. When we were toddlebods our mothers could hardly wait for the day someone's kid turned up at school with enough spots to share. First, the class, then the whole school got whichever one it was that term(semester for you 'mericans).And the mothers and kids all said "Well, you can't get that again."
    Um...no, not true. I suppose, really, they just redefined "lifetime"In my case, the whooping cough lifetime immunity ran 50 years. And it was a bastard second time around.

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    1. As far as I can tell, every little thing turns into a bad cough that hangs on for months. That's why I run away from people with the sniffles now.

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  7. This anti-vaccination idea is why old diseases are making a comeback. In Samoa this year alone, 25 people have died from measles, mostly children. I read it in the paper a couple of days ago. like you, I never got the flu shot because I never got the flu. then I did and for a week felt like dying might be a nice idea, then I got better and had a flu shot every year since. My kids had all their necessary vaccinations, the older two even got smallpox vaccinations, but then the younger two didn't because doctors weren't giving them anymore unless you planned to travel overseas.

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    1. I believe it was eradicated in the late '70s. Is what you said maybe misremembered? Because it doesn't make sense to quit giving smallpox vaccinations unless you plan to travel overseas, unless you also prevent people from entering your country from overseas.

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    2. It's what the doctor at the time told me. when child #3 planned a trip to Bali, she got her smallpox vaccination, but the youngest hasn't had one. He's 38 now to it's up to him to decide if he needs one.

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  8. I'm thinking some in the GOP need to get vaccinated against stupidity.

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  9. OMG you're hilarious and now I'm a Fan... good Humor is hard to come by... especially good Gallow's Humor which is Priceless! I only avoid my Flu Shot because the last one I got at a Military Facility Clinic gave me a deep tissue infection that damned near did kill me... they had to instruct the Airmen after that how not to use tainted needles I suppose... WTF?!? Now... if they HAD to shoot me up, I wanna SEE their entire Process to make sure they're being sanitary... who knew that was possibly necessary?!? I'm cynical by Nature so I don't Trust easily, it has to be earned and our Political Scene has become quite the Sideshow hasn't it?! *LOL*

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    1. Sure happy you stumbled into my little lair! And welcome. I think you're safe to get a flu shot now. Tainted needles? Gad. Not the norm, except on the streets now.

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  10. That little face in those photos! Priceless :)

    I can't get the flu shot fast enough when it comes out. The flu really is hell on earth. I wish I could convince my 89 year old mother to get the flu shot. She's convinced she will have an allergic reaction to it, and her cognitive condition means there's no reasoning with her. Who knows, maybe she's right. I'd hate to be the one who persuaded her and then had THAT happen.

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    1. If she doesn't get out much, she might be A-Okay. That little face? As my father put it, my older sister was the only pretty baby in the family. BUT I smiled a lot and that goes a long way when you're a baby.

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  11. Cheers to all that.

    I had the measles at age 17. In those days there was no vaccine but the strong belief that battling childhood diseases makes you stronger, also my parents believed I was the one in billion kids who will never get measles.

    Science tells us now that there is evidence that measles weaken the already acquired immune protection, i.e. when a child had to go through measles, they have to work for years to rebuld all that information their immune system had developed beforehand.

    Anyway, I was really awfully sick with the measles and it took me months to get back to partying and being a teenager. I would not wish it on anybody.

    Also: herd immunity, big important issue. Look it up if need be.

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    1. I think they've just learned that bit about how measles knocks your immune system down. Interesting. I too was terribly sick with the measles--worse than the flu. I remember the nightmares I had with the fever, to this day. I remember Dr. Martin telling my mom he hoped it wouldn't go into scarlet fever.

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  12. Having suffered through bouts of influenza four times (1st at age 11, 4th at age 47), I started annual shots as soon as I qualified to get one (shots were restricted to "at risk" people for the first few years.) I had a hard time finding a senior dose shot, this year; but, finally found the type that I wanted - a standard-dose, three-component (trivalent) inactivated flu vaccine, that contains an adjuvant which enhances the body's immune response.
    Cop Car

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    1. Four times with the flu. You need a gold star. I swear my ears still ain't right after my bout four years ago (?).

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    2. I'm sorry about your ears. Flu ain't trivial!
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