Measles and other vaccines

Measles? Really?

Back in the day, 1963 more or less, my more or less tranquil household came face to face with a childhood disease that, at the time, was common in the United States. Measles…along with Mumps and Chicken Pox, were not perhaps considered to be a really big deal. Most children encountered the diseases in school, and were almost immediately contagious and parents and teachers alike usually dealt with Measles almost as routine.

My first grader came down with Measles, broke out head to toe in the warm red rash and fever that were characteristic of the childhood disease. Actually considered more of a nuisance than a threat at the time, we settled down into the Measles routine: stay in bed, cover windows to prevent light coming in, drink plenty of liquids, and hope other children in the family did not contract the ailment—while facing the fact that they probably would, as the patient was highly contagious.

At the time we had two younger children, boys less than two years of age. With my already worn copy of Dr. Spock’s Children and Baby Care close at hand, Dr. Spock was the first line of defense against childhood perils as the epitome of encouraging and reassuring information. When “the doctor” recommended that the boys be fortified with gamma globulin injection as a precaution, although he assured me that the risk to them was small. (Note please: I just fact-checked that statement, to make sure that wasn’t part of my sometimes dramatic memory.)

My daughter, however, became very ill very fast. She had the attendant high fever, 106-degrees is the number that I remember, and showed all the symptoms of Measles, including hallucinations, which scared the living daylights out of me.
There was the “hard Measles,” with its severe symptoms of fever, rash, delirium, eyesight impairment….and “the three-day-Measles,” which was a different disease altogether apparently.

It so happened that daughter’s first grade class was scheduled to appear in a television segment, performing a skit or song at the local TV station. The performance had been long anticipated, and the children in the class diligently learned their lines, and practiced for the show. Daughter had been looking forward to the presentation, and was very disappointed that she would not be able to participate. We consulted with the doctor, who advised that there would probably be no damage to her young eyes from exposure to the TV set for a few minutes, and we went to elaborate lengths to wheel the TV and its stand into the sick room, and dim the light appropriately…but alas, the poor little girl was too ill to even glance at the television, nor was she even interested.

This little vignette from my past (I took everything very seriously back in the day) comes to mind whenever the subject of Measles comes up. Daughter was personally none the worse for her bout with the Measles. The boys did not get the disease then, and our two little girls who came along a couple of years later were protected by the relatively-new Measles vaccine.

Rewinding to about thirty years before, when I was a child myself, I recall vividly standing in line with all of my other classmates waiting our turn to get out “shots” from the school nurse. This experience was high drama, as we watched with dread as the kids at the front of the line actually got their injection, displaying varying degrees of panic, bravado, or silent terror.

No one had a choice back then…I’m talking 1940s…your kid got in the line and got the shot. Happily, the result was that Measles disease was nearly eradicated.

A quick check on the spelling of “eradicated” I happened upon this appropriate Wikipedia comment:

What diseases have vaccines eliminated? Vaccines have contributed to a significant reduction in many childhood infectious diseases, such as diphtheria, measles, and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib). Some infectious diseases, such as polio and smallpox, have been eliminated in the United States due to effective vaccines.

New Leaf…stay tuned

OK.     Enough time has been wasted on the agonizing and agonistic misadventures of the United States Government (or lack thereof.)    I do hope to live long enough to ingrain some of the History of the World Under Trump into my DNA.   Right, I’m not even sure that is possible, about the DNA that is, but the truth is that until about twenty years ago I was not even aware of such a thing.       Science was never my bag,  although my interests and obsessions lie as much with clouds and rocks, bugs and sea creatures, as any one.

A basic interest in Geneology is in fact part of my basic make-up, due largely if not mainly to my Dad’s Mom, my Grandmother Lillian Turney Piper.    The font of knowledge or awareness of our family origins was argueably Lillian’s mother, Ann Avann Turney, of Tenterton, England.      OK, enough with the name-dropping.

We lived with the aforementioned forebears until I was three, so direct influence of Great Grandma Ann was by osmosis, so to speak.   She no doubt talked with me a lot about family affairs.  She also kept personal diaries after the age of about 80, when she was forced to curtail her former active social life and retreat to her home.   There she wrote her faithful diary entries…and discussed life and the world with visitors and family.    She read daily newspapers and other periodicals, and often wrote and received personal letters.

Visitors included members of social clubs, and church membership.   GG Ann was into all sorts of world activities, and wrote poetry.   Yes…a poet.   There was no WordPress then, of course, no computers or email.   The telephone was tied to the wall with a cord, and used only in turn with other people on the line (of course they listened in) so one just stated their business and got off the phone.    No texting…no cell phones.

GG Ann was keenly interested, and involved to whatever possible extent, in the WCTU: The Women’s Christian Temperance Union.   Their target—Alcohol.     I wish that here would follow exciting tales about women in long dresses and big fancy hats smashing bars and bottles with axes.   Or at least, rolling pins.     I have no details about GG Ann’s adventures with the WCTU, although there are extant examples of her original poetry and quotations clipped from newspapers.

To get back to my new pursuit…as I said earlier, my preoccupation with the United States government (or lack thereof,) only grows by the hour, and has no practical application to my personal blog.    My associates, followers, correspondents, critics…mostly are on the same political page wherever they are in our world.   Common sense and questionable judgement urges me to stay out of the comment sections of various venues, on the premise that everyone has an opinion and anything I say they will ignore, take offense, or call me names…which hurts my feelings.    Preaching to the choir has no direct result except winks and thumbs-ups…and arguing with the posters, trolls or not, is counterproductive and only makes me mad.

This morning a blogger pal reposted an article from a newspaper that mentions the Koch Brothers and hitherto emphasized family (group?) The Mercers.   I know who the Koch Brothers are…friends of Trump, I think…but the Mercers?   Hmmm, I have decided to find out who these people are, what they are up to, and—if they are related to ME.     GG Ann’s grandmother was a Mary Mercer… so that’s my new preoccupation.   (stay tuned)

 

 

My (Mostly) English Heritage… Part One

Reading about differences and similarities between folks here in the US and in the UK, inspiration has been beckoning me to write about the subject in my own blog.

Actually many Americans began as British, back in the days of pre-American Revolution.  It was in fact a British colonial government, which was over-thrown more or less by rebellious subjects who wished to control their own affairs.  This was a lot easier since the British military was engaged in more pressing issues, such as keeping the French at bay and making sure the Spanish didn’t get all the goodies from the Americas.

But this isn’t a History lesson, although at times I admit that I am prone to lecture on various and sundry topics, not all of them necessarily pertinent to the current subject.   So I have no intention of going back over the common knowledge and think-we-know facts, and write about something that is pertinent…at least to me.

Background

I am at least three-fourths English, based on family origin.  My children, however, are three-fourths German counting the fourth they get from me, and the rest from their father, whose grandparents were all born in Germany.

There is one questionable thing about these facts, in that my maternal grandfather was born in Australia, of German-ancestry.  Hmmm…come to think of it, if I said he was an Australian-American, is that accurate?  Also, as Australia is part of the UK, does that count as German or British?    I usually say German,, which is how I arrive at being able to claim the one-quarter German.

An aunt of mine, Grandpa’s daughter in fact, did an in-depth research study into the Australia connection.   That history goes back pretty far, as we have considerable amount of information about the men in that family back at least to Grandpa’s grandfather.

The way that grandfather became an American is after he had run away from home in Australia at age 16, and worked on fishing boats for several years .   Then he met and married my grandmother in New York.

Anyway.  One of my distant relatives on that grandmother’s side did a quite extensive geneological research.  That branch of the family in fact has held annual family reunions here in Ohio for at least 140 years.  They are two-thirds of my English ancestry.  The geneology report lists the names of dozens of people –related to me–that came to the United States from England  prior to the American Revolution.   In fact, I have been told by a cousin that the family researchers have gone so far back that they found a Viking!

Actually I don’t think that is particularly uncanny, finding a Viking in the family tree of anyone that hails from the British Isles.  “They” tell me that this is where the blonde hair and blue eyes comes from.   hmmm…

Many of these ancestors are buried along the train track between Boston and the northern end of the line.  This came to light when I was visiting my son and daughter-in-law who were living in Massachusetts at the time…as we rode on the train the conductor called out the names of the stops, and many of them were surnames of my ancestors.   Many more from that clan traveled westward at least as far as Ohio, which is where the family is located now.

Since I have gotten SO far afield with my story, and in view of the fact that I only have chatted here about my mother’s side of the family– and I need to wind the tale down for this Part One only.

stay tuned for Part Two of the saga, in which I will continue with my Dad’s side of the family.