Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Beatles, Airport Dreams, the NFL, Medical Marijuana, Vaccinations and Octopi

At the Little Santa Monica-Wilshire Blvd intersection in Beverly Hills, I spotted four men with guitar cases and slyly took their photo and imagined them to be the Beatles, circa 1969, Abbey Road.

I dreamt last night that I was supposed to get on a flight to Morocco but couldn't find my ticket. I wandered down stainless steel hallways and knew that the person to call was my father who came to get me. I keep dreaming about planes and trips that I just miss, airports and hotels and frustrated efforts to get somewhere.

I felt bitter when I read about some spokesperson for the NFL, stating that they would consider "allowing" pro football players to smoke pot if it helped with their concussions and brain injuries. Evidently, football players smoke a lot of pot for pain. I imagine the hurdles to help these men will be minimal -- as compared to the legion of families who are working their asses off to get medical marijuana for their children suffering from devastating uncontrolled epilepsy. Does anyone else see the insanity of a sport/industry that gives people debilitating neurological problems yet commands fanatical attention and earns billions of dollars? I hate the American Football Sports Machine and the reek of money and profit. The smell of bullshit is bitter, bitter, bitter.

I read another anti-anti-vaccination diatribe today on Facebook and jumped in the fray despite the futility of it all. This is what I said in response to a person's comment about the "reckless behavior of those who don't vaccinate:"

Yes, those of us who have a child with a severe refractory seizure disorder because of vaccines live every day recklessly as we change their diapers for twenty years, pick them up from the floor where they lie, seizing, give them medications, scientifically "sound" that cause hideous side effects and mull over questions on whether it would be better for our child to die before us or after -- and then have to read the pablum that the mainstream media presents, pitting crazies against crazies with literally no nuance or attempt to understand the very real fears of many of us. My question to you is whether you believe my daughter's life is a worthy sacrifice for the "greater public good" -- I will pass no judgement if you believe this to be so, but I sure as hell pass judgement on those who never once entertain that THIS is what many of us have to grapple with as we make decisions in our families. And I'd add that the acknowledgement of that would go very far in persuading people to vaccinate -- much further than the incendiary language you use or the facile calling up of superficial goofball celebrities.

Now, don't get me wrong. I am decidedly NOT against vaccinations. I just think people should stop before they call people immoral or reckless and think about how AFRAID many of us are -- AFRAID for good reason. We are afraid and not crazy. How about talking to the legions of parents who allow their young children to play a sport that could very well cause their brains to be jarred against their skulls and, over time, alter the exquisite and beautifully wrought neurons of which they're made.

I'd like to be under the sea
In an octopus' garden in the shade
He'd let us in, knows where we've been
In his octopus' garden in the shade
I'd ask my friends to come and see
An octopus's garden with me
I'd like to be under the sea
In an octopus's garden in the shade
We would be warm below the storm
In our little hideaway beneath the waves
Resting our head on the sea bed
In an octopus's garden near a cave
We would sing and dance around
Because we know we can't be found
I'd like to be under the sea
In an octopus's garden in the shade
We would shout and swim about
The coral that lies beneath the waves
(Lies beneath the ocean waves)
Oh what joy for every girl and boy
Knowing they're happy and they're safe
(happy and they're safe)
We would be so happy you and me
No one there to tell us what to do
I'd like to be under the sea
In an octopus's garden with you
In an octopus's garden with you.
In an octopus's garden with you.

Where else do you read about The Beatles, Beverly Hills, the NFL, vaccinations and marijuana and have it all tied up in a neat little package?


  1. Well, this IS a wide-ranging post! You know I agree with you on the football. As for the vaccines, I agree that it's too easy for people to call critics or skeptics of vaccination "immoral" or "reckless." Personally I think vaccines are important and if I had a kid I'd get him or her vaccinated, but I think I understand why you and many other parents are concerned and I agree we need to study vaccines and reactions to vaccines further.

  2. I just found out that the NFL is a NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION!
    I understand your bitterness. I understand your anger. You have every right in this world to them.

  3. You go girl! People need to quick frickin' judging. Damn - you said it good though!

  4. Well, I'll say it - I am against vaccinations for myself and my family.

    Many years ago, I was attending an autism support group meeting and a woman walked in (who later became a friend). She told us her perfectly typical 2-year-old daughter had received a group of vaccinations on one visit to her pediatrician. Her daughter was sick and missed a prior scheduled visit so they lumped a bunch of shots on one day to make up for the missed ones. She woke up the next morning after the group of shots was given and her daughter had stopped speaking. She said everyday she was losing more and more skills. Couldn't do anything she was able to do prior to that day. She was afraid to get up in the morning and see what new loss was waiting for her.

    This is just one "anecdote" of tens of thousands out there. I've probably heard a few hundred of them myself. From my friends and others I've met. But science hates anecdotes. Especially by women. Mothers. What do they know? Who are they to stand up to the male medical establishment?

    I have a friend, a virologist, who worked for Merck on the MMR vaccine. He's now involved in a whistleblower suit against Merck because the was told to doctor the data on the vaccine. The suit is Krahling and Wlochowski vs. Merck. He has two unvaccinated children because of his work there. I am amazed at his courage to do this because his whole life and his family's has been impacted tremendously by this suit.

    Elizabeth, about the NFL you say, Does anyone else see the insanity of a sport/industry that gives people debilitating neurological problems yet commands fanatical attention and earns billions of dollars? I hate the American Football Sports Machine and the reek of money and profit. The smell of bullshit is bitter, bitter, bitter.

    I'd say the same about the Pharmaceutical industry. Yes, neurological problems from their vaccines, drugs.

    There's a movie called Rabbit-Proof Fence. It's a true story about three mixed-race Aboriginal girls, who ran away from the Moore River Native Settlement, north of Perth, Western Australia, to return to their Aboriginal families, after having been abducted from their mothers and placed there in 1931. The movie follows the Aboriginal girls as they walk for nine weeks along 1,500 miles of the Australian rabbit-proof fence to return to their community while being pursued.

    The oldest of the three girls is the one who makes the plan to escape and walk home and she takes her two younger relatives with her. On the long trek home, one of the younger girls gets captured and is taken back Moore. The remaining two unbelievably make it home and are reunited with their mother. In the beautiful scene where they are reunited, the older girl falls into her grandmother's arms and whispers "I lost one."

    I stopped vaccinating my third child at 6 months of age after it became apparent to me his older brother's autism was vaccine-related. I too, lost one, and refused to lose another.

  5. Good post… I feel your stance on vaccines is very well thought out and expressed articulately in your facebook comment. As a pediatric nurse practitioner, I encourage parents to vaccinate their children ( as I have my own) but having heard your story in other posts, I very much get your point of view and would not be as reassured by the current research as I was in deciding how to vaccinate my own kids. Hopefully, you have found a pediatric provider who gets it too. You seem to be aware of the risk of NOT vaccinating your other two children and take it seriously. Ironically, I'll never forget taking care of an infant at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles over 30 years ago w/ whooping cough, whose mother contracted it from her…. it's a horrible disease that, yes, can take your life. I was fairly young and the primary nurse in a six bed infant intermediate care nursery that had six different rooms w/ cribs that could be isolated so all infectious diseases came my way. I remember driving down Sunset Blvd on my way to work every afternoon and hearing that "whoop" for 10 hours and watching that baby spasm and turn blue while her mother did the same….. that young mother never left her baby's side 24/7 despite her own illness. Where dad was, who knows?…. They both survived it, but it was awful and there wasn't much medically to do besides offering oxygen and humidification which didn't seem to do too much. I was one of the few clinicians (until lately) that had seen two true cases of whooping cough when I returned to the northeast. I didn't contract it because of my own parents' decision to vaccinate me as a child (but I was the sixth of seven and my family had no history of vaccine reactions). You and other parents like you are between a rock and a hard place…. and I'm sorry that is, yet again, the case. Please help yourself to my family's herd immunity, its the least we can do.

  6. That was incredibly well said, Elizabeth. I feel the same about football - the hypocritical industry that is called the NFL. And I get your fear, your multifaceted fears. You got guts, girl. I thank god for your guts everyday.

  7. You have no idea how much you've sharpened my ways of thinking, sharpened my nuances, and even affecting my work in healthcare. No idea.

    Thank you for this post, and all of them.

  8. Hugs and hugs. All so well said.

  9. I appreciate your comment. I know too many mothers personally that had one child one day, and a different child the next following a barrage of vaccines all at once.

    I love your brilliance.

  10. Seeing even my dog have a severe seizure within hours of his vaccine (which was a three drug combination) convinced me.

  11. this was so great to read, the whole "package" works so beautifully. brilliant really. it really packs a conundrum, something to think about. i wouldn't be against vaccination, but i would be against not being able to make an informed decision, that is, surely the FDA would know about the potential dangers, so why isn't there publicized warning, or a way to test people to determine who might be vulnerable to obvious dangers? it's completely unacceptable imo.



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