As a young boy growing up in Southwest Virginia, we children were not allowed in the creeks and rivers flowing so close to our homes. Grassy Creek suddenly became the nemesis of our existence as Polio, the crippler of children and some adults, swept the great country of the United States of America.
I was probably around 12 years old when a now famous doctor, Jonas Salk, along with other doctors, came up with a vaccine for the dreaded archenemy that had threatened our way of life. The vaccine was administered by placing a small amount of the vaccine on a sugar cube and what kid does not like sugar? Talk about happy! We were totally elated to think that we could once again dam up Grassy Creek and learn to dog paddle in the polluted waters. It seems that children have no fear whatever from the ways provided for them to enjoy nature. (As a side note, we used to climb upward in a cave, using crevices as a handhold to go up. Several years later a snake hunter from down south of Virginia came through and captured over a hundred rattlers from that one cave.)
Since the 1950’s there have been many epidemics in the U.S.A. Different strains of flu have killed thousands of people leaving them with a fear of the next antagonist. When I joined the USAF in 1960 I was introduced to every kind of vaccine known to mankind at that time. There seemed to be an endless stream of Airmen going through the medical clinic with their sleeves rolled up. We often said, “If the amount of needles we were injected with should suddenly protrude outward, we would resemble a porcupine!”
I was happy this morning to hear that there was hope on the near horizon for a vaccine that would shorten the stay of the Covid-19 pandemic. Both the United States, with the Remdesivir drug, and Russia, with the Avifavir drug, are creating quite a stir around the world. The drug from Russia was a joint effort between Japanese and Russian scientists. It does not matter to me who creates the cure for Covid-19. I will be just as elated about this as I was about the Polio vaccine in the 1950’s! Whoever comes up with a cure first will be a great hero in my house!
My wife is a very sensitive lady. Yesterday, we went for a ride to Folsom, Ca. just to get out from our self-styled detention for a spell. We planned to go to Trader Joe’s to get a few items that we needed, or thought we did, and this we did. Trader Joe’s was being run in a very orderly way, people with masks, keeping social distance, and the checkstands were marked with tape to keep us apart when checking out. This worked!
In the parking lot, I said to my wife, “I believe we just passed a Taqueria on the way here. Let’s go there and get some good ole Mexican food for lunch!” After going to the Wells Fargo bank to do some deposits, we proceeded to the Taqueria.
At the Taqueria, we found out that there was a great plan for social distancing as we ordered our food. We could see workers there keeping the tables and areas sanitized so we had no qualms about purchasing their food. We ordered ours to go as we had decided to eat in the car. We had already found a nice shaded spot in the parking lot. As we waited for our food, a man came in with a small boy and they both wore masks. With them was an older lady, probably the mother and grandmother of the pair, sans the mask! I noticed my wife’s face change to a despairing look and my thought was that she disapproved of the lady not wearing a mask.
Our food came and we wended our way through the restaurant, keeping our social distance, and eventually ended up in our own car. Suddenly, as we became seated, my wife burst into tears! I asked, “What in the world is the matter?”
She replied, between sobs, “It broke my heart to see that little boy wearing a mask, in of all places, the United States of America!” (We have been isolated for a while.)
I tried to console her, and finally we were able to enjoy our food, which was delicious, by the way! As I thought about the little boy, I could think back to all the epidemics I have encountered since I was a small boy. Then I thought, “This is probably not the end of all these plagues!” I was reminded of one epidemic in particular, chicken pox, which ran through our community when I was very small. Also, I was given a vaccine in the arm for Smallpox and being a very aggressive youngster, I would not let the shot scar over as I picked at it constantly. It took quite a while for that one to heal leaving a huge scar that is with me to this day, I’ll be 78 in July.
Some folks are deathly afraid of vaccines! Isn’t it easier to get a shot in the arm than to face the devastation of something worse than death? Could it be something that could result in being crippled or ill for an extended period? This is what I think each time I am requested by my doctor to “get the flu shot!” Somehow, I am under the impression that he was trained to help us against these different bugs that hound us, so I trust to his judgment when he recommends something new to me. If we do not trust his medicine, why do we even go to the doctor? A doctor cannot heal us, he can only assist nature!