Friday, October 24, 2008

An Informed Flu Shot...

My very passionate and logical, future-nurse cousin was very disturbed recently by the fact that I was receiving a flu shot. Her (completely valid) feelings are that those that receive flu shots are uninformed society-sheep that are propegating a super virus that will ultimately quickly and painfully wipe out the human race as we know it. My flu vaccine was likened to abuse of antibiotics and wasting electricity by not turning off lights. Now, this is fairly new, since the only time I tend to disagree with her is when she's mad at her nearly saintly boyfriend;)- but here is my informed and thought-out rebuttal- mainly based on my education and understanding of how the body works, since you can find arguments in either direction represented as ultimate fact.
First of all, I am aware of the risks of current medical intervention and especially the issues involved with bacterial mutation due to abuse of antibiotics. I am also aware that the flu viruses used in the annual vaccine is an educated guess and is not a sure shot against illness, especially since many winter illnesses are not influenza, but just mirror the symptoms. I am also aware that the viruses are grown in a chicken and that there is possibly mercury as a perservative in the vaccine.
First of all, the antibiotic argument - antibiotics and flu vaccines are not analogous. Antibiotics, in this instance are man made little soldiers that are intended to seek out and destroy bacteria. They are not always specific and destroy their target as well as helpful and natural bacteria, often causing an upset in your body chemistry. Two major problems are that they are over prescribed - for issues that are not always bacteria related, and their intended cycles are not completed by consumers. These factors essentially allow for a Darwinian "survival of the fittest" of bacteria, rewarding mutations that are resistant to standard antibiotics. Another issue is that you can catch the same bacteria many times without your body building a resistance to it - so in an absence of antibiotics (the enemy) bacteria need not mutate.
Viruses on the other hand, have only lasted the test of time because they constantly mutate - and have been doing so from the beginning. When a person catches a virus, their body NATURALLY developes antibodies to that virus. When you catch one strain of the flu, you will very likely, short of a compromised immune system, never get that strain again. That is why many strains develop and spread every year-vaccine or not. A vaccine is the actual (natural) virus - weakened or deadened, in my flu shot's case - intended to inspire my body to build antibodies to it. This is the EXACT same reaction my body would naturally have if I contracted these strains of the flu in "the wild", was on my back for 2 weeks, lost income, possibly missed important commitments, and risked complications.
I don't agree completely with all vaccines, and think over vaccination of young children needs to be more informed and better regulated. I haven't taken antibiotics for years, but if I develope a bacterial infection that my body doesn't fight off, I fully intend to get antibiotics and I hope to gawd that they work.
It would be fantastic if I didn't have to take precautions that were not 100% safe in order to protect myself. But that requires a gamut of social reconstructions that I garauntee aren't going to happen this winter. Workplaces would be clean and open air, endless time would be given for healing and recovery, alternative treatments would be inexpensive and readily available. Yes, someone is making money off of my flu shot, but the herbalist is making money too. And when you do your work, whether it is massively believed to help or hurt, you will make money, too. And tonight I will have fish for dinner, and very likely be exposed to more mercury than I was last night. And I will drive my car home, even though there is a chance that I will side swiped by a bus. Not all risks are uninformed, not all modern medicine is a conspiracy and I doubt there exists any issue that is black and white in this world, and a good argument always considers the other side.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Bright Side of Life

Ok, call me a total psycho (I'm sure you have already)...but another great depression sounds like it could be just the thing we need around here. If Karma is real-and a real bitch...(another post, for another day) then this will bite me in the ass, but here's how I see it...
From our nations experience, a Great Depression is a time of extreme economic downfall...resulting in the loss of jobs, reduction in value of the dollar, and mandatory page boy hats for the poor. (I have to give Amy Poehler credit for that last observation)
Consider the under 25 population of today. Now maybe I'm just getting old (almost the big 3-0 for pete's sake!)- but kids these days seem like a bunch of spoiled, over-coddled, lazy, entitled wastes of space...for the most part. There's always exceptions to the rule. Seeing this run rampid in people my age, I feel I am actually somewhat an exception. it stands, today's youth wasn't scored in competative sports so that their feelings didn't get hurt, they were/are drowned in positive reinforcement, and "cool" parents that want to be everyone's friend leading them to believe they are entitled to higher education with a caveat that they get to party their faces off in a different zip code than their parents, even if they slid into a junior college. They want to carry/wear designer labels, on someone elses dime. Certain, un-named shows, on certain un-named channels, geared toward youth and pop culture (and in a round about way, toward music)give kids the impression that the 400 kids invited to your sixteenth birthday party should bear witness to your gift of an escalade or bmw or other such status symbol.

And not to just pick on the younger generations...but everyone is far too comfortable with waste...pre-cut, pre-sliced, pre-packaged, disposable, single portions, 3 copies plus an original...made politically correct by using 15% recycled material (does anyone consider that that means 85% brand new, landfill-bound material?) There's a lot that doesn't need to be one-time use...and if you have to stand in line for it, or dig too deep in the pockets for it, maybe, finally...being green will take an actual substantive turn - even if it only has to do with their own interests and not the future of the planet.

So another widely disagreed upon, but good idea, courtesy of moi.

Waiter...there's a fly in my soup.

Well, as a return from a long hiatus, this is nothing but a sorry, sorry excuse. However it must be mentioned.
I'm sitting at my desk and hear this fly buzzing OVER the sound of planes following their flight path that happens to go virtually THROUGH our office. office is on the 5th floor with no opening windows...for a fly to get in here they would have had to do the following...
Slipped in the door undetected and unassuming, while someone else was using it.
Made its way to an elevator and AGAIN slip in during a 10 second or so time span.
At the final floor (occupied by roughly 50 people) exited the elevator, again, flying in the correct direction in a fairly small amount of time. THEN flying down the hall and AGAIN making it through a door in the small amount of time its in use by one of the 4 occupants of our office space.
PLUS flies have a lifespan of 15 to 26 days if they're LUCKY (aka - not squished), so I have to assume that this journey took the entire life of this fly.
Crazy shit, huh?