Friday, August 31, 2012


“Legally blind” or “bland” strikes again.Vacation for Wusses is what I saw on my friend Andi-Roo’s (SHAMELESS PLUG FOR AND, FOLLOW HER ON TWITTER @theworld4realz) blog post entry for today. As I was contemplating what type of vacation my friend could possibly be planning (Lava skiing on Etna? Shark hunting in the Alps? I hear the saltwater Crocodile roundups are particularly fun this year) I start reading this post about how we need to expose ourselves to the more seedy sides of life. I’m thinking, “Andi, Andi, I should have the immune system of a goat. I LIVE in the seedy side. What in hell does this have to do with vacations?

Oh, VACCINATIONS!!! Now, I get it. Flu shots and stuff. I still have a pretty decent immune system, I worked in a teaching hospital during college. After about 6 months of weird illnesses, I never got sick. Now, of course, I have all kinds of strange crap. I once got typhoid and salmonella. Typhoid? Typhoid Mary, yay. I am my own meme. Geeze. When I worked at the hospital, everytime some chucklehead showed up with the measles or chicken pox, they’d test everyone to see if we had immunities. I’d had the diseases but not the immunities. Then the Virologists and Genticists started showing up for “samples” of my DNA. I decided to pass on playing the donor in “COMA.”  I never could just have anything normal. During my computer science career, I was working in Detroit, programming tool paths and got Legionnaire’s disease. I always wondered if it was from the French Foreign Legion or the American Legion. Whatever.

Sometimes I think we’re going about this the wrong way. Rather than be concerned about vaccinating populations, we should be more concerned with disease vectors themselves. The paths and hosts diseases use to spread are far denser than they were back in the 1300s when the bubonic plague first appeared in Europe. Granted, hygiene is better, but with globalization and swifter travel, diseases and man-made or even weaponized diseases could take terrific tolls before being stopped.

To have a successful killer, it has to be one that allows the host enough time to infect others before dying. This is why Ebola has not been successful, thank God. It kills TOO quickly, so it’s always confined to a rather small group of people. Not happy to think about, but a horrible way to die. This is one of the reasons HIV and AIDS has been so supremely “successful.” What a horrible appellation for a hideous set of diseases.

As Andi-Roo points out, the U.S. doesn’t possess a vaccine to ward off the Bubonic Plague. The cure for it has always been tetracycline; just hope you take it in time. I took tetracycline for my acne in high school, so I should probably be okay. As if, yeah. The plague is also more prevalent in the southwest. The fleas on the squirrels out there carry the bacillus that cause the plague and some of them have Pneumonic plague which I understand is about 99% lethal. The Bubonic kind has a 90% kill rate I understand. Neither one sounds like any picnic.

After the plague was introduced to Europe in 1349, or thereabouts, 75% of Europe died. The economy had actually been stagnating, prior to the great die-off. A decade or so later, the economy started to flourish. Subsequent waves of the plague took fewer and fewer lives as more and more people survived; natural selection at work. Along with the plague however, people were still contracting smallpox and always had been dealing with that scourge.

Smallpox has been a constant in civilization since the dawn of man, but the first recorded epidemic is Athens in 430 BCE during the Peloponnesian Wars, described by Thucydides. Smallpox caused 20 – 60 % casualties, ⅓ of all blindness, and scarring through the years.

In 1796, the process of the smallpox vaccine was first printed by Edward Jenner, who acted upon his observation that milkmaids who had contracted cowpox, did not catch smallpox. Before widespread vaccination, mortality rates to smallpox were high – 35% in some instances.

I’m not going to burp up anymore of wikipedia. The smallpox vaccine was a good thing. The question before us now is, should we be vaccinating our kids willy-nilly when there is evidence that shows higher rates of autism among children who are vaccinated?

Autism is a lot like Parkinson’s, MS, Bipolarity, and many, many other psychological-physical connected conditions. The hell of all these diseases/conditions is this: we are using LABELS on things that defy labels. No two of any of these conditions are alike. My Parkinson’s Disease-Bipolar disorder is nothing like yours. Karens’ son’s Autism is nothing like Cheryl’s Daughter’s Autism. YumaBev’s Parkinson’sDisease (SHAMELESS PLUG FOR MY FRIEND, FOLLOW HERE ON TWITTER AT @yumabev) is not exactly like Muhammad Ali’s Parkinson’s Disease, and not exactly like Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s Disease. They all have it and NO ONE IS FAKING, RUSH LIMBAUGH!!!

The argument about the vaccinations is valid. If people don’t want to vaccinate their children, they shouldn’t HAVE to in order to be able to let them in school. Forget contagion. If a parent’s fears and a parent’s rights aren’t respected, what have we become?

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