Monday, November 10, 2014

Flu Shots ... My Theory

It's that time of  year again, when people contemplate whether to get their flu shots or not. 

One of the reasons people give as to why they don't want to get the shot is that they had it once and then got the flu. They are convinced that the shot made them sick. We know that's not technically possible since there is no live virus in the vaccine, but I now think I have a theory on what happened to make them believe that.

Last year I had the Shingles shot, and later the shingles themselves. I didn't get the Shingles from the shot, and I know I had a much milder case than I would have if I had not been inoculated against it.  I also had a flu shot and a pneumonia shot last year. I not only ended up with the Shingles but when the flues came though here, I caught each and every one of them, one after another.  Three different kinds of influenza, even though I had the shot. 

This year they are saying that the inoculation is not for the flu we are expecting to pass this way. People wonder why they should bother to get it.  A nurse once told me that if you have the shot for five years in a row, you are pretty well safe from just about all of them.  And yet, I had three flues all in the same year. What gives?

I'm not a spring chicken anymore and I believe that my body was busy building antibodies for all the things I had shots for, and that's what lowered my resistance. When I caught the first flu, my resistance was down even further, so I quickly caught the second one, and then the third. I have never in my life spent so much time indoors.  With all that illness I had no time to get outside in the fresh air and flush the bugs out of my system. I just kept catching everything that got transported home from the very public places where all of my family work. 

So, am I going to take a chance on the shot this year?  You bet I am.  All I have to do is think how quickly we all turn our heads to see who happens to be coughing when we're in a public place these days.  We never used to pay any attention to that. People coughed and sneezed around us all the time.  The flu shots have eliminated so much sickness in our society, we are quick to notice any sign of it now. That's proof enough for me that the shots are working.  I'll be getting mine later this month. I've got the date posted on my refrigerator already.  I just don't think I'll try for multiple immunizations all within a short period ever again. I'm convinced that's what the problem was.

So, if you are healthy, stay that way and go get your shot. You aren't just protecting yourself, you are protecting those of us whose immune system may not be up to snuff. Stop the spread.  Just do it.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Shopping For Friends

It is often hard to make new friends

In my experience two types of people I can count on to be friendly are Newfoundlanders and people involved in the martial arts.  Newfies are warm and welcoming and martial artists are generally nice people who quickly embrace others in the field as if they were family.  Today we met a man who turned out to be both, and though we met him in a shopping mall, I feel like we have a new friend.

We had gone to a large mall that we had not been to in many years and got confused as to where to find the food court. The signs pointed us in directions that didn't work, and when we back tracked, and tried again, they simply didn't make sense.  My hubby approached a man and woman and asked if they knew where it was, and we were told to follow them as that was where they were going too. The reason we were confused was that you actually had to walk though the middle of a store to access the food court if you were already on that floor. From the floor below, it would have meant a simple ride up the escalator.

During that short walk through the store we discovered the man was the lady's father and that he had come from Newfoundland to visit with her. We also found out he had spent some time as a martial artist in the past and knew someone my hubby also knew. We parted ways and had our lunch.

Later, while shopping and exploring this huge mall we ran across them again, and stopped for another chat. Before parting we had his name and address and an e-mail address and a new friend. It was that easy. 

I wish it always was.

Maybe I should go shopping for friends more often.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Buried Alive.....But What a Way to Go!

When I was growing up, I heard my mother say, more than once, "I'm afraid I'll die before I read all the books." 

Now, that sounds crazy, I know, and I didn't understand what she meant at the time. I'm getting a much clearer picture of it now though. 

My name is Karen and I'm a bookaholic.  I love books, not just to read, but to have and to hold. I like to own them.  I cannot seem to pass up a good book or a good bargain on books.

It used to just be magazines. I would subscribe to as many as 7, maybe 9 different publications all at the same time.  I read them in the order they came in, stacking them on a specific shelf in my office, so I'd know which one to read next.  No cheating allowed.  

I had no time to read real books because if I stopped to read one, (as I did as a treat from time to time) I'd fall behind in the magazines. I hate reading magazines that are a month in arrears, especially if there is a holiday involved.  There would always be some craft or recipe that I would have loved to have made, but found it too late. 

If I bought books, (and I was always buying books), they were non-fiction on the topic of whatever I was interested in at the time. I have a library full of books on Writing,  Photography, Tai Chi, and Painting.  This is fine as it's not necessary to read all of these books from cover to cover. They can be accessed when you want to solve a problem or learn something new. I likely have too many painting books now, but will often put sticky notes as flags on various pages in 3 or 4 at a time, to give me hints on how to handle whatever I'm thinking of trying next. I'm never sorry to have invested in books. 

I promised myself that I would stop subscribing to magazines for a while, as I really do enjoy reading a good story that lasts for a few days....or sometimes weeks, depending on how busy I am.  The library had moved to a new location clear across town, so I started gathering ones I'd like to read at home.  I belonged to a club where they would mail you four new ones each month. Sometimes I wasn't keeping up with those very well, so I'd quit, but they would offer me a "Welcome back" package that I just couldn't resist, so I ended up with a box full that are waiting to be read.

In recent years I've been winning a few books each year from either or the publishers themselves. This year I've been extremely lucky and have won a lot more books than usual. I do get those read as I tend to review books I win. The thing is, in the meantime, I have picked up a few that I wanted to read at yard sales, and then one of the local churches held a huge book sale and I got a whole lot more. Well hey, they were selling them for a dollar or so. How could I pass up a bargain like that?  Books can entertain me for quite a while for that small investment.  Besides, have you seen the price of books in the stores today?  I'd have to mortgage the house to feed my habit!

Then I discovered that Amazon and other sites sometimes offer digital books for free. I downloaded a few of them.  I now have several of those stored too, waiting to be read. Luckily I also discovered that I'd really much rather read books with real pages, so I've pretty well stopped accumulating the digital ones.
Suddenly I realize I have a problem.  I've become a book hoarder.  I have more books now than I can handle, even if I sat and did nothing but read for an entire year. I have not even started these ones I got from the church book sale.

I finally understand how my mother felt.  I'm going to die before I read all the books.....likely even just the ones I've accumulated here.