Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I'm Coming Out

(Written in response to this article.)

 For the last few years, I've added "...and vaccinating" to the end of "In polite company, never talk about sex, politics or religion" adage because, honestly, I'm no better educated than Jenny McCarthy and who needs another marginally-public figure running their mouth? Also, I know I've got readers who believe deeply in certain things and if the following hurts your feelings or makes you think "Quinn doesn't GET it" or boycott my writing then I'm sorry. But here goes.

 I'm Team Vaccination.

 While we're at it, I think antibiotics are an awesome invention and are the reason I didn't die of one of my numberless sinus infections, throat infections and bacterial lung infections. Antibiotics are the reason my daughter is here to complain when I insist she brush her teeth, another thing which, like vaccinations, prevent bad things from happening.

Side note: I do not think antibiotics are awesome for feed animals nor do I think people should get them for viral infections and I happen to be very concerned about overuse of antibiotics, which is not the same thing as being concerned about the use of antibiotics.

 I'm Team Herd Immunity.

The educated bohemian parents who are deciding not to vaccinate are putting not only adults whose vaccinations have worn off at risk, they're putting my daughter's oldest friend and people like her at risk. "Layla" cannot be vaccinated because of allergies to eggs and chicken. Her parents would LOVE for her to be protected from diseases which could kill her, but they have to rely on the rest of the population to be vaccinated and not expose Layla; they can't rely on that any more. Now the only tools they have are reminding Layla to wash her hands constantly and prayer. As far as disease prevention goes, Layla now lives in the 18th century.

 I'm Team Science.

The original study which set this whole thing off was debunked. I quote:

 An investigation published by the British medical journal BMJ concludes the study's author, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, misrepresented or altered the medical histories of all 12 of the patients whose cases formed the basis of the 1998 study -- and that there was "no doubt" Wakefield was responsible. 

 For those who thought it was the mercury in the vaccinations doing the harm, I give you Science Daily, 1/8/2008:

 Autism cases continued to increase in California after the mercury-containing preservative thimerosal was eliminated from most childhood vaccines, according to a new report.This suggests that exposure to thimerosal is not a primary cause of autism. 

 And for those who've told me not having diseases mean the body is losing opportunities to grow and develop, I give you my mother's first memory, which is of the priest over her bed giving her last rites. She had mumps; she was three. Her mother had made the dress she was to be buried in. Yes, my mother pulled through, with only lifetime deafness in one ear to show for it, but several other children in her small town that winter didn't. I assure you they weren't less healthy or worthy than my mother. My grandfather died of a burst appendix because there were no antibiotics at the time. People died of infected cuts in within the last century. Life before modern medicine was a crapshoot and I'm no gambler.

 I'm Team I Don't Want to See My Daughter Die of Something Which Was Avoidable. For that matter, I'm Team I Don't Want to Die of Something Avoidable. I have asthma which is aggravated by coughing. I could be that luckless bastard who gets whooping cough and dies of an asthma attack. Which means I just realized I have to get a Pertussis booster. And I say while I hate parking at my doctor's office, I thank God the vaccination is there.

 To sum it up, we can be friends, and we can agree not to talk about this, but I'm not going to just smile and look pained any more if someone starts slamming modern medicine.

 I've got too much team spirit.

Monday, November 11, 2013

I've Changed My Routine/Now I'm Clean

It's not that I hate the dishwasher, exactly; it's just that the position of "Thing which does nothing but sit around the house and not work" in this house is already filled by the cats.

 When we first got the dishwasher, it was replacing the dishwasher which had come with the house, a house which had been owned by people with deep ties to the shoddy appliance industry. If it was an improvement of the 20th century, we had the crappiest version of it, always with some name that almost sounded familiar: Amenna; Kenmoore; Mootag. The stove celebrated one Christmas Eve by propelling the oven door halfway across the kitchen into my abdomen. Luckily, I think the thing was made of pressed cardboard covered in asbestos, so it didn't hurt as much as it might have. The dishwasher, in cycle, made noises like it was washing Augean stables;. There was so much chugging, groaning, lamenting went on that we arranged to run when we were out of the house because it frightened the then-baby. And yet, for all that noise, the dishwasher had only two speeds; anemic sneeze and throat-clearing. It wasn't that the dishes got washed so much as the food particles got a spa day.

 Being as money was going elsewhere, we made do. We washed the dishes ahead of time, which always struck me as enabling that thing. We ran rinse cycles in between loads, the clear any particles which might have accidently been shook loose from a dish. We treated the washer like it was half invalid, half dish storage unit. It's fair to say our expectations were very realistic. When it died and we were obligated to buy another washer, a great cheer was heard as we piled into the car and headed to Sears.

 New dishwasher was solidly middle: middle-range price; middling degree of extra cycles; it's even sort of a middling beige. As we were filling out the delivery paperwork, I patted it and whispered "We're fond of you. Now let me never think of you again." And the first few months, it appeared my pathetic little dreams were to be realized. I would open the dishwasher and LO! Dishes which were clean and there was a great joy among the people, mostly this people.

 A few months later, I started to notice something. Yes, the dishes and glasses were cleaned of their particles, but it seemed that new particles were being left in their place. Honestly, I'm not that obsessive that I know what particles go where; there was a bit of sand/coffee ground/microsludge on everything and I haven't served sand/coffee ground/microsludge in years. I showed it to Consort. He informed me that I wasn't rinsing the dishes sufficiently. I briefly hated him for always taking the appliance's side and sullenly washed the dishes. The ghost slurry went away. Consort didn't gloat.

A month later, even though I was still pre-washing, the ghost slurry was back.

I did gloat.

Consort did that thing where he brings the tools from the garage and made a great deal of noise and swore and there were little washing machine partlets all over the kitchen and the ghost sludge went away again.

 And then it came back.







 "It's the drain-trap!"



 "No, it's the crimped intake pipe!"



 "How did you not notice there was a spoon caught in the drain trap?"



 There's always a reason, there's always a fix; there used to be hope. Now there is only the cynicism one feels when a friend is heading to her fifteenth trip to rehab, swearing that this time, it's definitely going to stick! Sure, honey. Let me just keep the vanilla extract and the Sterno at my house, okay? For the moment, we can't replace it. Frankly, I'm not sure I even want to. Before we went to Sears, we read Consumer Reports; we got reviews raving about this exact dishwasher. Maybe it's not that the previous owner bought every crappy appliance on the market so much as living in this house causes appliances to give up hope. We're prison, they're here for life, and the only joy they can find is to screw with our heads and carefully apply ghost sludge. Fine, I say. FINE.

Now, if you will excuse me, the dishwasher ran last night; I have a lot of dishes to do.