Friday, February 17, 2012

How you can help people like me stay well

I'm slowly recovering from the neurological condition that began over 18 months ago.   I've been through some pretty radical treatments and continue to take a powerful immune suppressant drug.  Dealing with all this has taken a toll on me both physically and mentally.  Due to this and many other things, I have not sewn anything except do some alterations since I last posted.   Sadly I must avoid crowded places, especially this time of year.

I want to address the inconsiderate people who get sick,  then think it's just fine, even courageous, to suck it up to go out in public, especially to crowded venues like theaters, offices or school, and infect everybody else instead of staying home and getting over their illness.  I got a flu shot in November and also the pneumonia shot, but that doesn't protect me from everything.  So if you're sick and infectious, please be considerate.  I made the mistake of going to IKEA to look at something over the holidays, not realizing that many families with children (many sick) who were out of school, had the same idea. I even saw one small child who obviously had chickenpox. What ignorant, inconsiderate parents. My husband couldn't believe how fast I was able to walk to get OUT OF THERE, avoiding everyone I could and not touching anything.  Hand sanitizer is everywhere, in the purse and the car but I understand it's not effective for the norovirus that has broken out in several parts of NC this winter.    

I didn't get anything from that trip but since I'm much more susceptible to all kinds of germs, my family and I must stay vigilant all the time.   I will be taking that drug for some time, but I'm not the only one - There are many with compromised immune systems, including those who are being treated for cancers and auto-immune diseases, and even organ transplant patients, who must take immune suppressant drugs to keep their bodies from rejecting the organ.
Vaccinations are necessary to prevent communicable and preventable diseases like whooping cough, measles, and others, that are surfacing again due to lack of vaccination. It's scary because those diseases can kill people like us with lowered immunity. Dr. Steven Weinreb, who is being treated for chronic lymphocytic leukemia, explains why and how this works in his December op ed in the NY times, "For the Herd's Sake, Vaccinate". 

My father was in the military and we travelled and lived all over the world. He retired when I was in high school, so I have an extensive shot record with shots for everything from the regular vaccinations to shots for yellow fever and cholera.  What's going on with me at 59 has nothing to do with those shots.

In 1715 the entire court of King Louis XIV of France died of measles. His 5 year old great grandson became Louis XIV’s sole heir (Louis XV) following the deaths of his grandfather and then of his father and mother and brother in a measles epidemic. The boy survived because his governess hid him away from the sick people, and especially the "doctors" who actually spread infection and disease and killed people with their quackery. Madame de Ventadour, his governess, is credited with saving the royal line, and can be seen in this interesting painting of her with Louis XIV and his heirs.


  1. Glad to see you back posting Terri. I began to you'd become ill again when your blog was suspended. Yours is a site I come to regularly for inspiration & motivation:) Gayle

  2. Hope your health continues to improve, Terri! I missed your posts.

    Interestingly I get sick much less often now that DH works in a place that encourages working from home when you aren't feeling well. Now I just have to remember not to touch my face when I'm out and about! And always wash my hands when I get home. I'm not a fan of hand sanitizers unless I have no other option.

  3. Thank you for the interesting historical insight!

  4. This is a very late comment but I so approve of your information and observations. The herd immunity information is critically important to our ongoing survival as a species and I especially appreciate your addressing the dangerous myths related to immunization. I also become frustrated at the expectations of employers related to sick employees - many of us take pride in never missing work, no matter how sick we are. In the meantime, we are spreading our illness to others! Be well and take care!

    1. Thank you for posting Julie. I do question the reasons some of the vaccines are given to babies today, especially at their young age. Why couldn't they be postponed until the child is older?

      The good news with me is that since I continue to improve, I am being tapered off the immune suppressant. As of June 1, I am now on half the dosage of the immune suppressant that I began taking 2G a day in August 2011. My general doctor in Asheville is a former military doctor, a DO, who served in both Afghanistan and Iraq. He served with another DO whose Army engineer husband was my operations officer while she was in Afghanistan. My blood work is done every two months now instead of every month, and he coordinates with my doctor at Johns Hopkins where I continue to go for biannual check-ups. I practically sliced the end of my little finger off last fall while cleaning the edge of an electric range we were replacing with a gas one. He had to use both steri-strips and super glue to close it and stop the bleeding (his office is close and they got me in right away so I didn't have to go to the ER where one can easily pick up something else). He suggested a DPT shot since I hadn't had one in a long time. I had no side effects from that.