Wednesday, June 25, 2014

~ Vaccination: The Choice Is Yours

The choice to vaccinate, or not, is your choice.

But the choice matters more than you may think.  As the subject comes up health is often cited as the catalyst for not vaccinating.  Obviously, every parent's main job is to, as they are able, secure and maintain the health of their child.

While I'm certainly no expert on vaccinations, children or immunology, I am becoming an expert on the ramifications of the lack of vaccinations.  (Spoiler Alert)  The way things are going, at some point, with someone you love, you likely will be too. 

In my medium sized circle of friends I know;
2 people who have had organ transplants,
6 people who have cancer and are undergoing treatment,
1 who has undergone a bone marrow transplant in the past year. 
And one mother who has Lupus who due to meds being used to treat that (at the time, and unbeknownst to us) was immunosuppressed to the level of a bone marrow transplant patient.  A fact we discovered only after an infection that would have been an innocuous event in an otherwise healthy person, like me, that literally put her life on the line and has stolen a year + from her life.  To be clear, what happened to my Mom had nothing to do with anything avoidable by commonly used vaccinations.  ...Which probably begs the question, why they fuck am I yammerin' on about vaccinations? 

This time last year Mom was in the ICU for two weeks.  Everything humanly possible was done to keep a 'simple' infection from claiming her life by highly trained medical professionals with access to the most current protocols.  The fact that in 14 days it was not easily achieved tells ya something about what a dire situation it was.  Since then we've done everything possible to avoid bringing in some bug or virus in for a visit.  The severity of the nature of being immunosuppressed means that when her husband has a cold he takes up residency upstairs, linens require copious amounts of bleaching and surfaces are wiped down with bleach or medical grade disinfectants.  It means that those around her can not take any live virus vaccinations and safely be around her.  Encountering someone who has recently had one could prove to be deadly.  I, who has always taken a,  what doesn't kill me makes me stronger approach to germs, virus and bacteria have even started using the cleansing wipes on grocery store carts.  An act that would have been unheard of out of me a year ago.

If it sounds like we're practically on Bubble Boy precautions?  (The history of Bubble Boy:  the real Bubble Boy and the John Travoltalicious Bubble Boy made for tv movie)  It's because we are.  This is the first time I've shared much of a glimpse of a private health issue that, until now I've never felt was mine to share.  But I'm doing so now to give those who consider refusing vaccinations a decision that solely impacts themselves/minors under their control an idea of the scope of the impact of that decision.  You see our community has recently experienced outbreaks of both measles and mumps.

A new tourism slogan I'm working on...
Yeah.  Outbreaks, plural.  The last update on measles I heard was 348 cases, and last night they reported 
mumps is up to 439.  So now in 20fucking14 we have to be fearful that some unvaccinated person we randomly encounter is playing host monkey for ol' school diseases that if not for the breech of herd immunology that we're seeing played out as a result of the swelling numbers of those choosing not to vaccinate would be things people were last concerned about when women wearin'  lil' white gloves was still a thing.  

This, of course is problematic for us.  Which makes it a, that sucks for you (us), problem.  It does.  (Suck)  If it doesn't yet suck for you?  Congratulations.  I'm ecstatic for you (and yours).  Sincerely.  I am.  It's my honest hope for you that cancer, leukemia, need for an organ or bone marrow transplant never land on your doorstep or of someone in your life.  But the fact is, that if you've been lucky enough to not be touched (directly, or as in my case, indirectly) by any of these health issues it's an amazingly fortunate anomaly that is almost guaranteed to have changed five years from now. 

Most people I know would never dream of havin' a cold and visiting a cancer patient.  Because they realize direct consequences of exposure to someone who is hosting an illness to the health compromised person.  We don't think of vaccinating as having that exact kind of direct effect to people, but we should.  The decision to vaccinate, or not isn't a decision that ends at the end of your fingertips.  It's impact quite literally extends to everyone in your community.   Today, that puts my Mom at particular peril with more than 780+ carrying mumps and measles around our community.  But make no mistake, tomorrow?  You'll know someone who 'communicable disease' wouldn't just mean a temp and a few days of feelin' shitty.   It's certainly your choice to wait until any of the plethora of communicable diseases which had been at near eradicated levels in our nation, continue to surge to realize how and why herd immunization is such a critical public health issue.  Or you can learn from our experience how easily you and yours can find yourselves in these shoes and choose more wisely. 

When the CDC (Centers For Disease Control and Prevention) starts tracking Mumps in 1968 there were 152,209 cases.  By the end of the 70's as inoculation rates increased actual cases dropped to under 10,000 per year.  By the mid-90's cases per year in America average sub 1,000.  Here we are at the half way point of the year (6/14), and in central Ohio alone we currently have nearly half that number of cases with 439.    ...Which again, sucks for us.

Until you realize that the apex of the mumps outbreak in my area was ground zero'd at The Ohio State University (+ a few other area colleges/universities before it spread in to the community at large).  The Ohio State University is a campus comprised of nearly 57,000 students. (OSU has 56,371 more students than the average for all colleges and universities.)  ...Many of whom have just left campus to return home to family and friends, all across the nation (world, really).  Returning to their favorite people to spread mumps even wider.  So, now the lack of vaccination kinda sucks for a much larger swath of Americans.  (Of course I mean for the health compromised folks I noted earlier, but also for babies too young to have started vaccinations who represent some of the most medically vulnerable among us.)  Particularly, I would imagine, for those who live in the states seeing the highest number of non-vaccination levels:

It's your choice.  And your choice has a direct correlation on the health of every household, not just your own.  That is where it stops being solely a personal decision with personal ramifications and becomes a public health matter with real world consequences for real world people.   
illustration: if only some get vaccinated, the virus spreads. if most get vaccinated, spreading is contained.
(Quick video) Info I'm recommending:

And this very interesting article:


Saturday, June 21, 2014

~ Pride

Is it wrong that I had pride today?  Having been raised and matriculated at Our Lady of Badass Catholic Kidz I know being prideful is frowned upon.  (Along with a few other things I occasionally dabble in [7 Deadly Sins - #1 and #3 are particular personal faves]).

But today's pride was Pride pride.  For today, dear friend, I created a new term.  A term that I expect will sweep the nation. 

In fairness, there's a strong possibility I'm simply co-opting an existing term.  There's also a strong probability that my alternate usage will, in meeting with the same fate of my attempted revival of the term 'snatch', not, in fact, sweep the nation.  I just like to keep it real.

Today's random adventures put me in proximity of a former local radio celebrity.  As the only other person in the room I didn't consider myself eavesdropping as there literally was no way I couldn't have heard the conversation.  The former uber popular, I'm talkin' back in the day she was the queen of the (radio) market, made mention that she after being married for x years she came out and started livin' her authentic life.  They also were discussing the Pride ta-doin's this weekend in BBGmetropolis.

Because I've never met a stranger, or put much stock into resisting one of the life mantras I hold so dear;  I do what I want, I quickly found myself sideling up to display my nails.  My manicure was, and yes I am embarrassed to admit this, a joke manicure created solely for my own personal amusement.  I know.  That's ridiculous.  Know what else?  Suck it.  A few weeks ago an ol' friend, (codename) Oscar, posted a series of photos chronicling ROYGBIV.    A few weeks ago I also read that applying white polish as an undercoat vs. traditional base coat (which I never use) was the way to go because it provides a true-er foundation for whateverthehell shade you chose to top it with.  Which totally made sense, so I gave it a whirl.  ...Then things became problematic.  In the I can't decide which color to use in this wee nail-y color science experiment, kinda problem.  So.  As anyone who does what they want as much as possible I'm not a complete asshole I took inspiration from Oscar's ROYGBIV-ing and spelled it out with polish.  My pragmatic side told me it was a comprehensive way to evaluate the tip with a wide spectrum of colors.  My, I'm 13 side told me it was hifuckinglarious.

Made even more so by the fact that I purposefully made it read correctly when I look at it, not when displayed to others.  Now, in fairness?  That I did do because I'm an ass.  Because I suffer from tooliteralism (click to diagnose yourself) I consider ROYGBIV a name, rather than the mnemonic it is, therefore I spaced mine out to read Roy space G space Biv.  If you're asking yourself if I realize I'm a hot mess?  The answer is also, yes.  Behold:

Don't judge me.  It's a 2wk old mani.

I crash the conversation show my nails, to what seems like the delight and slight amusement of the four random chatters.  I may have been overly anxious to share my new found knowledge.  Yep.  Here it is 2014 and I've just discovered that Roy G. Biv is the rainbow flag.  I knew the rainbow flag was a thing.  I knew Roy G. Biv was a thing.  I did not know they were the same thing.    I'm not proud of this fact.  I'm simply sayin' it's so.  Once I found out Pride (Grand Marshal'd by George Takei) was this weekend I decided to overlook the almost two week wear 'n tear and hold onto it as an ally for a few more days.  The problem is I loathe the word ally.  'I'm a gay ally.'  ...I am.  But the word.  Ugh.  First of all when I spell it, it becomes this big ally vs. alley? debate, that listen, I've got other shit goin' on--  I just don't need.  Therefore it's a term, although accurate, I don't engage in.  If I'm being honest?  I almost took it (nail polish) off because the thought of, 'if someone notices and asks you about it you might in some context have to say ally.'  A concept that was almost too much.  But I reconsidered and decided a demonstrative, albeit, a lil' batshit crazy display of solidarity was the proper message to put out into the world.  Even if I was in danger of being faced with the a-word.  I'm selfless like that.

Once the swell of Ooooooh's and Aaaaaaaaah's subsided the former DJ asked if I was "family"?  In what, admittedly makes me a freak, since 10 minutes ago had no idea of the Roy G. Biv/rainbow connection (Kermit shout out!), I immediately knew that "family" means gay (/on the LBGTQ spectrum).  'Cause I'm cool like that.  My answer, and the birth of the new term I'm gifting to the world;   "No.  But I'm family friendly."

Family friendly.  Finally.  A supportive term I can live with.  What used to stand to denote that a movie/tv show would be boob and George Carlin 7words free kid appropriate shall henceforth be recognized as the go-to phrase to mean, "I want EVERY American to have the same privileges being a grown ass straight American provides. Period.  End.  Of.  Fucking.  Story." 

It wasn't until the moment had passed that I felt what I can only describe as Pride-y pride at the invention (fine.  Straight up co-opting.) of the term.  An off the cuff and somewhat smartassy retort turned out to be a better contribution to solidarity albeit far less hi-larious than my fabulous unintentional turned intentional mani. 

To mark 'family friendly' being an official thing I have started #FamilyFriendly. (I'm at the super creative handle @TheBigBrownGirl)  Feel free to share (or here in the comments) how/when/why you've shown your support for equality for all.   The best way we, as family friends can make things right for our LBGTQ peeps is to flex our muscle to show that we also demand equality on their behalf.     

"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." 
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

 Related Post:    My Big Fat Gay Manifesto


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