by Charles S. Garabedian
The influenza (flu) vaccine is now available in my southern state. If you live in one of the other 49 states or a foreign country, it is most likely available to you too. My doctor’s office was having a special flu vaccination clinic this morning. I got my shot very quickly and with no significant hassle.
My doctor held one of those flu shot clinics at the same office about 25 years ago, and a long line stretched way out into the parking lot. I stood in line for hours to get my shot. Since that time, I have not experienced that kind of wait again. The flu shot people apparently got their act far more together over the years. Therefore, you should not experience a long wait to get your flu shot.
The 2017-2018 flu season was one of the longest and deadliest on record. It came as a total surprise to the medical community and ordinary citizens—and adversely affected children and teens far more profoundly than anyone had anticipated. A few days ago, I read that the coming flu season is not expected to be as bad as the one last year. Never trust statements like that. Why?
Influenza is a freaky disease that easily and quickly pulls unexpected tricks on even the best epidemiologists. It is all about sudden flu virus mutations and evolution, which are both very hard to predict in any truly confident way. It is just as much guess work as it is science, and last year’s official best guess was tragically wrong and incredibly deadly. Therefore, I would urge you to get your flu shot ASAP—and get your children and teenagers vaccinated as well—because of the large number of children and teenagers who died quite unexpectedly from the flu last year. It was a real shocker in the medical community!!!
The flu vaccine comes in two forms—a high-dose form for people over 65 years of age and a lower dose form for people below age 65. If you are 65 years old—or soon will be—you can request the high dose vaccine, which is probably a good idea for at risk people such as Type 1 diabetics and other people with immune system issues. They gave me a choice last year, and I opted for the high-dose form—a doggone wise move as it turned out.
Tarry not!!! I have actually caught influenza as early as September 30. That was way back circa 1994. September 30th was (and still is) the end of the official federal fiscal year. I worked for a private sector prime contractor that did contract work for a large federal agency, and a number of my colleagues liked to end the federal fiscal year together with a celebration at a local restaurant and bar. The one thing I most recall from that night out is how unusually relaxed I was feeling and how I was also feeling “a little bit odd.” If I had stopped and thought for a moment, I would have realized that this same combination of sensations in my past was the immediate precursor to a serious illness. When the next morning came, I was in bed with influenza, running a high fever, and feeling just plain awful. The flu had grabbed me early in the new flu season—much earlier than I had thought possible.
Let us now have a Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical interlude:
Fundies: You can’t fool us!!! We know all about people like you. These so-called end-of-fiscal-year celebrations were not celebrations at all. They were drunken orgies. You and your colleagues got drunk as skunks that night. It lowered your immune system something awful, and you got influenza from someone in that restaurant as a direct result of it. We are “true” Christians, and all of us “true” Christians know all about vile sinners like you!!!
Charles: Thanks for talking and behaving like typical fundies. First of all, just in case you fundies have never noticed, public restaurants do not allow dinner-time orgies. We had all of our clothes on, and we were seated on the outdoor deck of the restaurant next to large plate glass windows—where everyone could see us. Work colleagues, including me, were very careful to avoid getting drunk because it looks bad to turn into a lush in front of your coworkers. Neither I nor any of my colleagues got drunk at the celebration that night. The little that I did drink did not lower my immune system because I was already feeling unusually relaxed and a bit odd, which means the flu infection had already set in days before I even got to the restaurant. So, go stuff it fundies!!!
I love all of you readers very much, and the last thing I would want is for you to die unexpectedly by something so small as rejecting a simple flu shot. Thousands of Americans thought rejecting their flu shot last year was no big deal, and they are now molding in their graves—many of them children and teens. I hope you will be a whole lot smarter than those dead people—and the parents of the dead children. Please get your flu shot ASAP.