Like the smarties that we are, Tim and I got our flu shots yesterday. Couldn't be easier. Just stopped into the pharmacy of our local Publix, filled out the necessary paperwork. Bam and Bandaid. Done. And in theory, we are protected once again, from the evil scourge called influenza. It's sort of like a super-villain.
The flu shot didn't even hurt. I mean, I wasn't even certain that he had given me the shot until he said, 'All set". Wow! That's nice. However, this year I also got an additional shot called, Prevnar 13 at the recommendation of my physician. It's supposed to protect me from bacterial infections, which includes pnuemonia. Ok. I am good with that. I do not like being sick one single solitary bit so if I can do this one little thing to prevent it, it's all good.
The Prevnar 13 shot hurt. In fact, it hurt a lot. Today it still hurts. Ouchie. I don't care. Still better than getting sick. This too shall pass.
In actual fact, as we enter this season of many germs, I am much more likely to be exposed to the flu or any other nasty germie out there than Tim is. Most of his life nowadays is spent in solitary. Kind of like a prison sentence. Since he works from home, he is holed up in his office from about 7 or so in the morning until he is done at night, usually around 6. In the middle there, we usually take a walk together, a nice 3-ish mile loop. But even though he is out of the house at that point, it's not as if he was being exposed to someone's sickness. We walk around the island, not through the ward of a Tuberculosis center. We are almost always out and about on the weekends so two days out of seven, Tim gets sprung for good behaviour. But odds are good that unless I am sick, Tim has far less chance of exposure.
I am out and about all day every day: the grocery store, the outlet shops, the hair dressers, the library, the museum, Pilates class, teaching, talking to the neighbors as I wander through town. But that also means that I have built up more of an immunity to germs because I'm exposed to them all of the time. Sort of like elementary school teachers and medical personnel.
So while I am more apt to be exposed to illness, I'm more protected against it. Tim is less apt to be exposed but has less natural protection. Ironic isn't it.
So the flu shot in short, is to protect us. I'd like to be a bigger person and say that the reason I get it every year is protect everyone I come in contact with but that would be a lie. I might be selfish but I'm not a liar. My first reason to get the shot is to protect me, which in turn protects Tim AND everyone else I come across as I am out and about. So it's not as if global kindness is completely off my list, it's just not number one.
And that's how I feel about any other vaccine available to us. If you aren't going to do it to protect other innocent lives, how about doing it to protect yourself.
According to an article I read just this morning, more than 200,000 kindergartners started their scholastic careers in 2017 without any vaccines. The numbers have skyrocketed up from there. In quite a few states, amoung them: Colorado, Idaho, Washington and New Hampshire, one in ten children have had no vaccines. None. One in Ten!
When I was in elementary school, the polio vaccine was a brand new idea. It wasn't even a shot. It was a nasty-sweet pink liquid given to us on a sugar cube. We lined up with the school lunch room/gym and one by one were told to open our mouth, the sugar cube placed on our tongues where it quickly melted and we went on our merry way. Nobody I went to that school with contracted Polio. Thank goodness.
As a kid, my sister and I had every single childhood disease out there because at the time, there was no MMR, nothing to protect us against chicken pox or whooping cough. So of course, we got it all. And we were sick. Really really sick. In fact, my hearing loss is a result of a childhood illness that there was no vaccine for.
By the time my kids were born, there were a few more possibilities for protection. My boys all got the shots for measles, mumps, whooping cough and every thing else that existed at that time. But they all got chicken pox. No vaccine. One boy had a mild case, one had a moderate case and one had the worst case the doctor had ever seen. EVER! And before it was over, he ended up with Mono. Poor baby. It was a long awful winter that year. One kid after another sick, home from school, and feeling so awful and there is not all that much a mom can do to make them feel better.
We were lucky and survived our various childhood illnesses of course Lucky because sadly, there are some people who do not.
Of course I'm not in charge of the world. (Terrifying thought!) It's not up to me to make decisions for everyone else. But I can suggest, I can inform, I can hope that everyone out there values their own lives and those of their loved ones enough to make the right decision now that we are entering the dreaded season of many germs!
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.