With an outbreak of measles dominating the news lately, there’s a lot of talk flying around about vaccinating children. As a youngster the available vaccines were limited to polio (thankfully), DPT (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis), and smallpox. Measles came along later, after I’d already suffered through it. As with most of my peers I survived the three most popular childhood diseases of the time, measles, chicken pox, and mumps. Of the three I probably enjoyed mumps the least. This, I suppose would like be saying you preferred an appendectomy to brain surgery. Mumps had my glands swelling up until I looked like an ardent squirrel tucking away nuts for winter. With the other two I simply scratched my way to health. Clawing my body to such an extent my grandmother put my mittens over my hands to prevent scarring. Still, I managed to wriggle out when miserable leaving several small poc marks above my left eyebrow as a memory of the ordeal.
Both my children were required to have all the needed vaccinations, by then including measles, prior to entering school. Moving around a fair bit in their formative years, I literally carried a loose leaf notebook which I referred to as their “papers” containing all required documentation allowing them entrance into pre-school first and all those following. My AKC Shih Tzu had less papers to her credit.
My brother-in-law from my first marriage actually contracted polio, or “infantile paralysis” as a child. For those of you youngsters unfamiliar with the disease, it is viral, usually entering through the mouth then targeting the nervous system. Back in the day when it reached epidemic numbers many children and adults were left crippled after coming down with it. The accepted treatment with no vaccine available were braces for the affected limbs. However, a woman by the name of Sister Kenny introduced an alternative treatment to the U.S. eschewing bracing the legs for a less conventional form of therapy involving massaging the affected muscles, a healthy diet, and retraining. Told her son would most likely be crippled my mother-in-law took him to Sister Kenny and if you looked at him today you would never know he had ever had the dreaded disease. Now, of course, there is an excellent vaccine created by Dr. Jonas Salk that successfully keeps polio at bay in the United States.Polio remains endemic in three countries – Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan.
I have to admit I wonder why if a vaccination is available that will keep your child safe, you would choose not to allow him or her to have it. I do understand we are bombarded with side effect paperwork and articles with medications, but if I did not take any medication coming with frightening literature attached I probably would long ago have succumbed to pneumonia or massive infection. This is not in any way saying we should ignore such startling information, because at times the cure can be more intimidating than the disease, just not be so cautious as to stand in the way of our well being or our children’s well being.
Another thing to consider is those coming in contact with your unvaccinated children. These kids are unable to defend themselves if too young to be vaccinated thus very vulnerable to whatever the unvaccinated child might be carrying. In essence the decision you make could impact many others around you.
You can’t protect your children from many things today no matter what precautions are in place. Helmets are available for everything imaginable. Last time I was in a toy store I was amazed at the armor for sale to accompany bikes, skateboards, roller skates, in-line skates, sleds, and toboggans. Pretty soon dolls will come with protective gear. If we purchase all this and still they get hurt, why not opt for a tetanus shot which virtually insures they will be protected at least from lock jaw? Forgive my confusion.
At seven, my son presented with a rash. Along with this lumpy bumpy skin, he had a fever, and a tongue that looked as if he’d recently enjoyed a raspberry lollipop. At first I thought he had measles, although he’d completed all his shots. Whisking him off to the emergency room, as it was a Sunday, I was ushered into an examination room to wait the appropriate three hours to be seen. A doctor came in surprisingly quickly to examine my boy. After some poking and prodding he left and came back in short order with two more doctors now wearing masks. Hmmm. Discussion ensued, and my uncharacteristically quiet youngster’s eyes grew bigger with the entrance of each new member of the hospital staff into the room. Within an hour we had a quorum. Diagnosis, scarlet fever. At one time this could have been a death sentence. Fortunately, with penicillin it is treated much like strep throat. Highly contagious we were sent home and instructed to remain on “house arrest” for four days until the rash subsided and the contagious phase of the disease had passed.
Our family is big on doing things other families only think of for the most part. We get in odd situations, contract weird maladies, and in general live life outside of the box. My son also had shingles at the age of nine. Who knew? In children the disease manifests the ugly skin rash, but bypasses the pain involved in older patients. If not for the red army of bumps marching across his lower back I would not have known he had the disease at all.
We humans are such highly delicate mechanisms. Our bodies amazing on the worst of days with their intricately intertwined systems and largely misunderstood thinking processes all continuing to be examined while we’re alive and often after we’re gone in an effort to understand what makes us work.
This chile verde got an A+ from my chile verde in-house critic. Good and fairly easy to throw together. As always if you wish to beat the heat, make the Rotel tomatoes regular diced.
Crock Pot Chile Verde
8 flour tortillas
4 lbs. boneless pork loin, trimmed and cut into cubes
2 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. oregano
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
Mix spices together well. Place meat in large resealable bag. Add spices and squeeze and shake to distribute. Place in refrigerator for 1 hr.
Spray 6 quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Add meat to bottom. Combine sauce ingredients and pour over top. Cook on low for 9 hrs. Serve with flour tortillas, rice and refried beans if desired.
1 Tbsp. chicken bouillon
1 cup water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. lime juice
1 28 oz.can green enchilada sauce
2 12 oz. jars salsa verde
1/2 10 oz. can Rotel tomatoes
1 14 1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes