(*If you don’t make it through this lengthy rant like post, at least take a quicky look at this. Please and thank you!)
Last week I helped prepare one of my patients for some life changing news. This trauma patient had been intubated and sedated for quite some time (meaning a breathing tube down the throat and receiving drugs that basically knock you and your memory out) and was unaware that the injury to the patient’s spinal cord had resulted in paralyzation from the waist down (aka a new paraplegic). Now that the patient was finally awake and cognizant enough, it was time to paint a picture of what this new life would look like. I look down now and examine my own legs- ashy from the dry cold with a bit of winter fuzz (I mean who really shaves their legs every day in the winter…?) and think about how lucky I am to have the simple gift of walking. While I somehow have managed to overcome the anxiety that comes with traveling solo, the idea of losing my independence and mobility is absolutely terrifying. I’d rather walk around in a dark alley in Vietnam than lose my legs any day.
I recently read an article (where I read it is beside me now) titled Fear This, Not That, which listed many of America’s irrational fears for 2015. America as a whole seems to really thrive on anxiety and we often experience nationwide panic attacks. It’s like we never quite reach complete contentment even if our basic needs are met and live with this idea that there’s always something to fear. Here are a few examples that I found interesting and are a good reminder to keep things in perspective and stop letting media hype dictate what we spend our energy thinking about:
FEAR THIS, NOT THAT…
-A diet low in fiber NOT gluten
*Because backed up pipes are worse than gluten…unless you have Celiac disease of course! I’m not rapping on those who choose to be gluten free but let’s not also forget about the nutrients that we need instead of only focusing on the things we can potentially omit. And lack of fiber is highly related to the next disease on the list…
-Heart disease NOT mercury levels in fish
*Per the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one killer in the world. Take care of your corazon.
-Texting while driving NOT air plane travel
*Even I am guilty of not keeping these hands at ten and two.
–The Flu NOT Ebola AND the new outbreaks of already preventable diseases like measles and whooping cough NOT the side effects of vaccines
*Although we have prepared for the intensity of caring for the Ebola patient at my hospital, it’s the Flu that is really taking American lives this year. If you haven’t heard, we are facing a measles outbreak in California at this very moment. And yes, a measles carrier has been detected even here in Fresno, which has lead to visiting restrictions in my own hospital. All because people have chosen not to be vaccinated. And don’t even get me started on the ridiculousness of the autism and vaccination madness which research consistently shows is NOT related. Frustrating stuff.
So this all segways into a rant on vaccinations. There are a few reasons why I am a bit biased when it comes to whether or not to vaccinate.
1) I’m a nurse…duh.
2) Throughout my childhood, my mother jumped on any chance to shoot me up with each doctor visit. I literally think I had any and all vaccinations you could get as a child. And while I can’t guarantee it, I think it may have worked. I had perfect attendance for like six years in a row and quite frankly my child self was pissed that I never got sick enough to miss school.
3) Science has shown us that vaccinations have helped eradicate certain diseases. Please understand that it’s not the act of shooting chemicals into your system that protect you, it’s the act of stimulating your immune system to create and prepare itself for battle by exposing your body to a small amount of a disease. That way if you come in contact with a live strain, you’ll have a fighting chance.
I encourage you to read this entertaining and educational comic that breaks it down into layman’s terms. If you still don’t want to vaccinate yourself, fine. And I know, not all vaccinations are created equal- I’m saying this specifically to anyone who may want to argue about the CDC’s recent statement on the decreased efficacy of this past winter’s influenza vaccination. I’m not writing this to refute that, because in actuality the most common strain of influenza virus in America this year is Influenza A (H3N2) which is not covered in this year’s flu vaccine (the comic will help explain why but you can also read more about this year’s flu here). But I wanted to encourage you that overall it’s better to protect yourself and loved ones. Just know that in your wellness, if you don’t keep up to date with your vaccinations you may be living off community immunity (aka herd immunity) and are potentially endangering those around with weaker immune systems (i.e. babies, elderly, and those with immunosuppressive illnesses or treatments). With that being said, get poked. And if you can’t remember when or what you got, maybe it’s time for a titer.
Oh and of course, I can’t just leave you with depressing stats on sickness. So here’s what I brought to the Super Bowl Party at work last week.
And these decadent Gooey Cookies and Cream Double Chocolate Cake Bars from the Picky Palate blog!
Cheers and keep on wishin’,