A Lesson In Giving No F***s

My grandmother is 91. I’m not sure she ever really gave a shit about what other people think, but for sure she doesn’t now. She does what she wants, when she wants, and we’re all just lucky that she isn’t a horrible person. Although personally I could live without the banging her hands on the table and demanding dessert, which she taught to Beatrice. That’s nice.

Anyway, my mother recently told me a story of a little to-do that took place at my grandmother’s apartment. See, my grandmother had been using her electric massager in her feet, and after she put it away she heard some mysterious noises. Noises she thought must be coming from her neighbor’s apartment. Naturally she assumed he was having a heart attack or otherwise in distress, and being the conscientious citizen she is, she called whoever is in charge of those things in the building to check on him.

Well, to everyone’s relief the neighbor was not only fine, but not even at home at the time. Which is great for his health, buh didn’t solve the mystery of the noise, which was still occurring. The building manager came into my grandma’s apartment to help locate the source of the noise, and I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this, finally determined that it was the massager, which hadn’t been turned off before going back in to the drawer.

He also discovered that the massager I question, is in fact a vibrator. Yep, my 91 year old grandmother uses a vibrator to massage her feet.

Now, that would be funny enough as a story, I mean, who wouldn’t laugh at an unsuspecting senior citizen using a sex toy to soothe her tootsies? But no, my grandma knows EXACTLY what it is, and what it’s for, and has previously used it properly (I bet my mom loved hearing about that!), with satisfying results. I guess she just figured she already had it, so why not give it double duty and use it on her feet too? And who cares if the building manager needs to be called in to turn it off for her, or if maybe her daughter doesn’t want to hear all about the useage history of that particular device?

And that, my friends, is how you give zero fucks.

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As Infectious As Fear

The Measles are back. Which could be great news if The Measles were some super rock band that previously disbanded because of creative differences, instead of an incredibly dangerous disease. By alas, we aren’t so lucky. Instead, we have a disease which infects 9 out of every 10 people exposed (!), can result in permanent scarring, deafness or even death (!!), and oh yeah, was ERADICATED IN 2000.

That’s right, folks. An incredibly infectious and deadly disease has made a recurrence thanks to the unflagging efforts of an army of ignorant parents who have decided fear and paranoia form a better basis for decision making than actual PROVEN scientific fact.

Herd immunity is not a myth.

Measles (and other diseases) are not preventable by washing your hands.

Vaccines are THE ONLY way to prevent the spread of these diseases and protect at risk individuals- like the very young and children with conditions that mean they can’t be vaccinated. If you honestly don’t believe that, then I’m sorry, but you are an idiot. Plain and simple.

Yesterday two of my children and I had to wear masks at the doctors office due to measles exposure.

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Those things are incredibly uncomfortable- have you ever worn one? They get all hot and muggy from your breath; it’s awful. Have you ever tried to keep one on a 2yo because she’s actually marginally at risk since she hasn’t received both vaccines? Impossible.

I suppose we should be glad that this particular stupidity didn’t take hold until well after smallpox was eliminated from the planet, but I can not help but be incensed by the arrogance of people who not only think they know better than doctors with years of specialization in the fields of immunology and infectious diseases, but also that they have the right to put other people’s children at risk in order to appease their “beliefs.” And, to add insult to injury, there is very little we can do to escape from these people. Can you demand a pediatrician who refuses to see unvaccinated patients? Probably, but little good it does if other doctors in his practice allow them. Can you call your school and ask for rates of unvaccinated children? Of course, but even if you get them, what are you going to do about it? Hardly seems fair I’d have to homeschool my children to avoid this plague of ignorance, by with some schools in California having student bodies that are as high as 75% UNVACCINATED, what other choice is there?

Makes me want to start smacking people. So, in the interest of my blood pressure and over all sanity, I’m going to stop writing now and just repost an article I wrote last fall. Pretty much sums up how I feel about vaccination being a “choice.”

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Last night, a friend of mine sent me a lengthy message about an article on scary mommy that I had posted to Facebook, saying that vaccinating your children is not a choice. She has previously been somewhat vocally anti-vaccine, so I can’t say that it came as much of a surprise. And she was not aggressive or hostile with me- she wanted to explain her personal situation (turns out her child became seriously ill after receiving a vaccine and so they have made the decision to not continue vaccinating), and asked me to consider more than the black and white of do or don’t vaccinate.

Now, I will say that while I agree wholeheartedly with the scary mommy article, I don’t consider it to apply to all people everywhere all the time. Obviously there are circumstances that affect whether or not you are able to vaccinate your children (no, I do not believe your religious preference is one of these circumstances). Where my friend is concerned , I don’t think the decision to not vaccinate her child is even worthy of discussion. Let’s see, possible death or not getting vaccinated? Yeah, that’s not a choice.
And I understand that vaccines have some potentially harmful ingredients, and that they carry the risk of serious side effects or even a fatal reaction. So does peanut butter.

Vaccines are a preventative medicine. They exist because in most cases, people react appropriately and develop antibodies to dangerous diseases that might otherwise do them grievous harm. Diseases, which before the invention of vaccines, killed, disfigured or otherwise permanently damaged VASTLY more children than any injection. Vaccines are not a magical, 100% foolproof cure. Neither is my seatbelt, but I still fucking wear it.

In my opinion, instead of jumping on the propaganda train, people in my friend’s situation should be the biggest proponents of vaccinations. Due to uncommon sensitivity, her child will remain unprotected, and so can only benefit from being surrounded by other kids who aren’t likely to pass along measles or whooping cough. Children who for whatever reason can’t fight these diseases on their own are exactly why vaccines were invented in the first place!

Here is where my friend and my opinions differ: she obviously views her decision as a choice. I do not. She made the call as a parent to vaccinate her child, tragically learned that it was more of a health risk than benefit, and stopped the protocol. There’s is no choice there- that’s adapting to the situation as a parent, and looking out for the best interests of your child. The people who have no right to make the choice not to vaccinate are the ones with perfectly healthy children, who have just decided on a whim, or because it’s trendy in the news right now to sensationalize the horrors of side effects, or because Jenny McCarthy told them to. Peanut butter probably has a higher incidence of critical interactions, but you don’t see a coalition of moms joining together to have it stricken from the national diet, and you don’t see people with zero history of an allergy refusing to buy it just to be safe.

The supposition that the medical industry is ganging up on us, forcing us to accept more and more exceedingly dangerous vaccinations so they can line their own pockets, is absurd. Health professionals are not members of some nefarious syringe wielding cabal. Sure, the drug manufacturers are in business with the aim of turning a profit, but if anything, that is just going to manifest in the prices charged. The scientists who develop these vaccines, and the doctors who recommend them, do so out of the knowledge that the diseases they prevent are MUCH WORSE.

In any endeavor there is an acceptable amount of risk- and it absolutely sucks that in this situation the risks involve children. There is good justification to continue developing better options- vaccines that don’t contain some of the more reactionary inert ingredients. But to abstain based on fear or the arrogance that reading a few internet articles makes you more qualified than someone who has dedicated their life to studying viruses and their effects, is ludicrous. Being a parent makes you an expert on your child’s needs- it does NOT make you an expert in the the field of medicine. I don’t see a lot of doctors or nurses in the front lines of the anti-vaccination movement, and to suggest that you know better than someone with the education to fully understand the ramifications of your “choice” makes you not only a fool, but a menace to society.

This post originally appeared on September 14, 2014

ps: disagree with me all you want. And feel free to post a rebuttal that features LEGITIMATE SCIENCE. But I will not entertain arguments that consist of hyperbole and falsehoods vomited up by some unqualified publicity hound. I love my chiropractor, but he’s not an expert on virology, so I’m not going to be swayed by an article just because it has a lot of graphs and was written by someone with Dr in front of his name. History professors are Drs too, but I don’t go see one when I break my arm. Comments that are insulting or inflammatory without adding to the conversation in a meaningful way will be deleted

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365 Project- Week 3

Still going! And I think I may even be improving a little?

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Mani Monday 2015 vol. 4

This just may be my new favorite neutral

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Tuck it in my tux, by Essie

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And Now You Are Six

Today, Sophie turned six.  SIX.

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It almost seems impossible that my little dink, my sweet Sophie, could be that old.

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Crazy.  The other kids I expect to get older, but she hardly changes, so for her to also be growing up is something else.

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We even just cut her bangs again, after spending the last 6 months growing them out.  it is her signature look, after all.

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I love you, wonderful girl.

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I hope all of your wishes come true.

 

 

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