Monday, December 13, 2010

The Mask

World War I soldier and wife during 1918 flu pandemic**

I've thought a lot about the mask in terms of disability, the irony of my objecting to wearing something that is perhaps a "way of life" for a non-verbal person. My friend Andrea sent me an email with this comment which I found brilliant -- the exact words that just didn't come to me:

It has occurred to me that the wearing of the the mask, removed from the context of vaccine/no vaccine, is such a signifier of what many severely handicapped people experience. They wish to be seen for who they are behind the obvious barrier of their disability, they wish to be able to communicate unimpeded, they wish to live without the constant humiliation of whatever masks their essence. I'm sure this wish often fades with time, or is conveniently slaughtered by conditioning, or, for those capable enough, becomes a rallying point for demanding change, but for the most part it never becomes less visible, defining or in the way. They can't take it off.

**On the plus side, I've found it strangely exhilarating to troll around the internet looking for cool photos of surgical masks. 


  1. And I just remembered that little film that Freddy made about masks.
    Ah, honey. I'm thinking about you.

  2. My question is...what good is a mask, really, with a virus that is transmitted in many ways OTHER than through excretions of the mouth and nose?

    Actually doesn't it get transmitted via hand contact far more often? At least that's my understanding. Are you wearing gloves the whole time too?

    You work for asshats.

  3. the entire medical industry is really something of an extremely sore point with me, but staying on topic,


    and here I am ONLY talking about viruses that cause what the general public understand to be "flu" by its specific symptomes of fever, extreme aches and pains, chills, respiratory congestion/pheglm/bronchitis, soar throat, nasalpharyngial/sinus problems all that good stuff (which they also have tests laboratories preform to "diagnose" A & B type influenza viruses (And I really shouldn't give my opinions for or against the usefullness of these tests for treatments plans for a patient)

    Transmission of the MANY viruses (which strains of it change constantly like a damn 9 digit set of three row combination lock AND the vaccine only being worth a half of a red cent IF a patient encounteres that specific strain, other strain it does nothing) THE ONLY WAY TO CONTRACT any of the viruses that causes the flu is via your eye, mouth, nose and by far lesser transmission rates your ear and genitals)

    It is my opinion which I do not have the data to statistically prove it but it seems very clear to me that by far the most frequent method of delivery to by far the most prevalent sites of entrance to the body (eyes, nose, mouth) nearly ALWAYS gets carried there by your own hands.

    washing you hands before rubbing your eyes, biting a finger nail, swiping your knuckle across your nose etc... if you always washed your hands before picking your nose or contacting at all your eyes, mouth, nose OR never touched them until after you washed your hands (however you want to say it)

    your chances of getting the flu drop to what I say the equivalent to nil, zip, zilch, *almost* nada as the odds will be so slim statistically speaking,( but I really shouldn't say "statistically" as true confirmed cases of the flu is nearly impossible to quantify in my opinion )anyway but I keep it as long as this comment already is. The mask is superstition if you ask me. there would of course be people who contacted the flu however it would be so infrequent and so few numbers it probably would not be recognized, due to the fact that the less frequent something happens, the harder it is to recognize a pattern.

    if you were keeping pollen out of your mouth in the willamette valley during july only (maybe it would be "a little" effective against that)

    keeping a red pen in your pocket is as effective as the mask at transmission prevention of the mask.

    but what do I know. My experience is being a specialty testing technician for 2 years in microbiology medical testing lab and 6 years in the chemistry testing dept for same employer.

  4. Ahh,the saga continues ...

    Very wise words from your friend.Very wise indeed.

    Continuing on with my "issues" with my beloved CHLA protocols while spending the better part of the last 4 years there:The masks they make these poor little ones where are,ridiculous.Love that word.For babies they are large,adut size,the green and white striped ones.sure there are cute Mickey ones out there but they don't protect worth squat.

    While walking those halls for 8 straight,I thought,couldn't I come up with a more comfy one for our fragile little ones.Never came up with the design.Not to mention ones that fit my chromosomally enhanced child with the slightly flat bridged nose and low set ears.Oh well,can you tell I have an obsession with the mask thing.

    Sidenote:Each time I come here I pine for your red door and wreath!

  5. Amazing insight .... Bring it with you next time and share it with your "fellows"

  6. I would love to see all the creepy stuff your surgical-mask-internet-troll project has unmasked.



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