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So, Vaccines… November 4, 2009

Posted by A. Robinson in Life.
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Recently, I read this article about the anti-vaccination movement in America.  It’s long, but if you have the time to read it, it’s fascinating.

Vaccines have been all over the news lately.  From swine flu to cervical cancer, vaccinations have people all worked up, and I can understand.  I, myself, am not getting the swine flu vaccine for many reasons, not the least of which is its lack of availability in Arkansas.  I am leery of any medicine that has been rushed through trials, and it looks like swine flu really isn’t any worse to have than the regular flu.  A good 48 hours of bed rest and some popsicles, and you’re all better.

I’m also really invested in not making the cervical cancer vaccine mandatory as well.  You might remember when Texas decided that it was going to make all middle school aged female children get the Gardasil vaccine.  It later came out that Merck, the company responsible for making the shot, was a huge campaign contributor to then-governer Rick Perry.  Additionally, the shot would not be covered by many insurance companies, forcing families to pay the $70 per shot out of pocket.  This is not to mention the actual health dilemma: the vaccine was released in 2006, and although it had already gone through thorough medical testing, there were no statistics on the vaccine’s long-term effects.

Optional vaccines are optional for a reason.  However, what I have an immediate concern with are the folks who refuse to give their children mandatory vaccines.  The Wired article proves the point better than I ever could, but I still wag my finger at you, crazy parents.  The reason we vaccinate our children is not because we’re necessarily afraid of little Ricky catching measles, but to keep measles “extinct.”  The problem with not vaccinating your children is that every time a kid comes down with an “eradicated” disease, the disease has the chance to morph. I realize that this is a minute possibility, but follow me down this path for just a second.

Last month, John came home frustrated because the producer on one of his jobs was working out of his house and couldn’t come in to proof some mock-up shelving units for Pantene (I think, I don’t know for sure).  Anyway, the guy had been quarantined by the CDC because his son had come down with pertussis, i.e whooping cough, one of those “invisible” diseases you’re supposed to be inoculated for before you go to school.  Turns out this guy had vaccinated his son, but a stronger form of the germ was going around the kid’s daycare.  Where it came from the CDC couldn’t say, but they were trying to get it taken care of before the germ spread.

Again, this is the story.  It could be false.  Regardless, that’s the issue with swine flu, isn’t it?  The danger that it could morph into something not unlike avian flu with a high kill rate is possible, and that’s why the medical community is trying to get a handle on it.  Why contribute to the problem?  I know that many people are afraid that vaccines cause autism, but with no definitive proof, the argument doesn’t seem to hold water.  Additionally, most pediatricians now subscribe to a delayed vaccination schedule that space out the shots over a longer period of time to give the child’s immune system time to cope on the off chance that there are side effects from having too much thimerosal (a mercury-based preservative) in the system.  This seems like a happy medium to me.

Anyway, just had this kicking around in the ol’ noggin’ today and thought I’d share.  What are your perspectives?

I’m Loathin’: The Grossest Post Ever June 3, 2009

Posted by A. Robinson in Life, Loathin'.
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So, I figure since I’ve already revealed myself to be a terrible, AWFUL person on this blog (read: hating the homeless), there’s no need to hold back.  I have a confession to make: I cannot handle skin conditions.  For those of you who know me, you know I’m no prima donna.  Getting muddy and dirty is no problem for me; I’ve worked on a ranch before, so I can deal with various kinds of poop without flinching.  I’m rough and tumble, and with the exception of vampires, I don’t scare easily.  However, one look at someone who has a skin condition and I’m done.  I mean, mild acne is okay, but excema?  Rashes?  Psoriasis?  Absolutely EFFING not.  Had John had a skin thing, I wouldn’t have married him.  That’s how much they gross me out.

I can’t tell you where this dislike came from.  There was no huge event in my life that turned me off from people with skin issues.  However, should I ever have a rash, my life might as well be over.  A few years ago I had a pin rash from an allergy to latex I was unaware of, and for THREE WEEKS I cried myself to sleep every night. I was pretty sure I was going to die and/or I would be hideous forever. I cried sporadically even after the rash was completely gone, for goodness sake.

This fear of having skin things myself has heightened my awareness of skin things on other people.  If someone has a suspicious looking spot, I make sure to point it out and urge them to get checked.  If there’s someone shopping at a store and they have some issue, I will go out of my way to stay away from them.  I’m sure all of these people are extremely nice, and I know they have no control over what is eating their skin or whatever, but looking at these “conditions” turns my stomach.  I start to feel nauseous, I get cold sweats, and I just have to leave.

Anyway, this back story is only relevant so that I can tell you about what a TERRIBLE day I had yesterday in regard to this almost-phobia.  It all began with Subway.  I stopped in to grab a sandwich on the cheap, and I happened to notice that the lady working the Subway counter had something weird going on with her face.  It looked like she had some subdermal cysts or something; I was trying not to stare while I decided whether I could stand for her to make my sandwich or not.  They weren’t oozing or anything, so I figured I was okay (the plastic gloves didn’t hurt my confidence either).  I made it through the line okay and even ate my sandwich!  The whole thing sort of made my skin crawl, but I was doing okay.

It was Target that killed me.  My sister had bought me some flip flops for my birthday, but they were the wrong size.  I was still feeling a little funny after the Subway thing, but I was regaining my composure.  Anyway, I got in the exchange line and stood for a while, paying no attention to the people behind the counter.

“Next,” said the female cashier.  I walked over, looked up at her, and I’m sure I paled out.  On her face–ON HER FACE, RIGHT ON HER CHIN–was the biggest wart I have ever in my life seen.  It looked just like a stump sticking out of her face.  It had TEXTURE for Chrissake.

I swear to God, no exaggeration.

I swear to God, no exaggeration.

I struggled to get through the exchange.  When she touched my drivers license, I thought I was going to die.  I had to force myself to take it back from her and put it in my wallet sans wretching.  I finished my exchange was quickly as was physically possible, and ran to switch out my flip flops.  At this point, I had already reached panic stage.  Did I already have wart germs on my hands?  How will I get these wart germs off?  Is it too ridiculous to kill myself for getting a wart?

I changed the shoes as fast as I could, and went in search of Purell.  I had to resist buying the biggest bottle they had and taking a bath in it; I settled for some convenient wipes.  I rushed through the checkout, and tore into the Purell before I had even left the store.  Within minutes, I had disinfected myself all the way up to my elbows, and covered my purse, wallet, drivers license, and debit card.  Only then could I convince myself that I was okay and continue on with my day.

I know, I know.  How dumb, right?  How superficial of me.  Trust me, I’ve tried to change it, I really have.  I just can’t.  There’s too much icky involved for me.  That’s not to say that I won’t love each and every one of you should you develop leprosy.  It just means that I’ll have to keep a trash can near my chair in case I vomit.