“Vaccines are the tugboats of preventive health.”

Cold is the optimum word for today’s weather. Right now it is 30˚, one degree away from what will be the high of the day. I crossed the dump off my list. It is cold even when the rest of the world is warm. My list is now empty for today. I’ll loll.

I remember getting my small pox vaccine when I was a kid. I had to get it so I could go to school. My doctor shot me in the upper leg. I remember it hurt. The spot scabbed over then left a scar, a funny looking scar. It was round and had little white spots in the middle. Most of the scar has disappeared, but one small spot on my upper leg is a bit whiter than the rest of the area so I’m thinking that’s where the shot went. I was already in school when the polio vaccine was available. They gave it to us in school. Over time I’ve had a couple of tetanus shots, but it was in Ghana where I hit the jackpot.

Before we left for Ghana, we all got yellow fever shots. I remember standing in line waiting my turn. I don’t remember the shot hurting. I guess being in a crowd made me brave.

During our first week in Ghana, we had shot day. Tables were lined end to end. Each table was manned by a shot giver and a helper. I can still see the whole scene in my mind’s eye straight from my memory drawers. We moved in a line from table to table and stopped to wait our turn when the line slowed down. The only shot I remember still makes me cringe. It was the rabies vaccine. I have never had a shot as painful as that one. Mostly the shots were given into my arms. Some of the shots were live vaccines. They seemed to fight over control. They also gave me a fever, and one shot moved up my arm. I followed the red trail. My butt got gamma globulin. We were in a room one at a time for privacy when we got that shot. The only painless stop was for the polio vaccine which we drank from a small cup.

I have amazing memories of Ghana. Shot day is not one of them.

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5 Comments on ““Vaccines are the tugboats of preventive health.””

  1. Bob Says:

    Hi Kat,

    Today is sunny again with a high of 67° The wind is blowing from the south which should warm us up close to 80° by Thursday when the rains will again begin with the passage of a cold front. We can use the rain because we are still in a drought situation. All that snow and ice didn’t make a dent in the drought.

    The line for your Ghana shots seems similar to how they had us lined up for the Covid vaccine. In this system the tables were stationary and each person was assigned one of the many tables. It was the same shot for everyone followed by sitting for 15 minutes to make sure you didn’t have a reaction while driving home. What you described was just the way the military does inoculations according to my comrades who served.

    Today we took another road trip, this time to Bridgeport Texas. It’s advertised as the stagecoach town of Texas but the place appeared very depressed and nothing was open. We looked for a stagecoach museum or something and eventually just headed back home. We’re running out of places to visit and hopefully we are approaching the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. I only hope that by opening up the state too early, the light might instead be a train coming at us at full speed. Only time will tell.

    • katry Says:

      HI Bob,
      It was cold so I stayed home nice and warm. The trash can wait until Wednesday when the dump is opened. It is all waiting in the trunk to be dumped. I did nothing constructive today, and I’m just fine with that. The heat wave of sorts will be here Wednesday through Saturday then we change the clocks ahead for Sunday. Spring is coming.

      We had to stop at each table for one shot. There was an assortment of shots. Some of them were necessary for Africa like yellow fever, typhoid and later cholera. We had to get a gamma globulin shot every six months, and we took anti-malarial pills every week.

      I get e-mail from a web site which highlights what to see in Massachusetts. It includes amazing sights, restaurants, places you never heard of. Some are close to me but many aren’t because of my being on the cape.

      Even though nothing was open, was there anything you might like to go back to see?

      Our governor was taking criticism for the slowness of vaccine distribution and the slow opening in the state. Next week more is opening here but almost everywhere you have to wear a mask still. There is fear of a breakout if we don’t. I hope that doesn’t happen in Texas.

      • Bob Says:

        I think Bridgeport is one place we will pass up. With the upcoming warmer weather you should take a few short trips during the semi-lockdown. Take a mask, take Henry and see a few places. Isn’t Rhode Island nearby the Cape? We rarely get out of the car. We either bring food and drinks or eat in the car.

        The latest nonsense from our governor is that he’s not going to give the Johnson&Johnson one shot vaccine to the public distribution centers, but only to private distribution. Supposedly, he can keep it away from the big cities which usually vote Democratic. I got the story from my son, so I will take it with a grain of salt. But I wouldn’t put it past him.

        Regardless, of the end of state mandates on Wednesday, most large businesses, including my employer, are going to continue with requirements for masks. The list includes, Albertson’s, Costco, Walmart,Target and many others. HEB grocery was going to not enforce masks but their employees’ safety concerns made them change their policy. My biggest concern is spring break, bars and restaurants at full capacity.

  2. I’d always heard that the rabies vaccine was one to avoid if at all possible. (With the stomach — ouch! — as injection site?) But it was also my understanding that you only needed it if you’d been bitten. Was this the case with you?

    • katry Says:

      That first vaccine was so painful my knees buckled. I had seen the reaction of the guy in front of me whose knees also buckled. The protocol meant two more shots, but they were not so painful. We got the shots in our arms. They were meant to slow rabies if we ever got bitten. We were given med kits and a pamphlet explaining everything in the kit and more helpful med information. We laughed at the section which said if you get bitten by a dog, cut off its head, put it in ice and bring it to Accra. We figured that was written by someone not so familiar about Ghana. First, the owner of the dog would charge big bucks for the dog if a white person wanted it. Second, finding ice was almost impossible especially enough to last all the way to Accra from where I lived., about as far away as you could get from the coast.

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