Sunday, October 25, 2009

For those of you who like rants, this one's for you

I'm not a terribly political person, mostly because I can't pay attention to the news long enough to educate myself on what's going on. But I know what I like, and I know what I understand, so forgive me if I sound like the rest of the general population that reads at a fourth-grade level and considers the USA Today quality journalism.

But here's what I understand about this whole H1N1 situation.

Yesterday the president declared H1N1 a national emergency. National emergencies are bad. It indicates that this is a pretty big situation. So... why is there no available vaccine? I mean, they know how to make it, they've shipped some. Did they just stop making it? Why is it not going to be available again until the end of November? Haven't "they" been suggesting all summer that this was going to be a pretty big deal this cold-and-flu season? Isn't it better to make TOO much rather than not enough when someone says, hey, this H1N1 situation is going to be quite the issue next fall and winter, we better start pumping this shit out now to be able to accommodate the HUGE demand for it. If we make too much, what the hell, we can keep it in the freezer for the next round. I mean, isn't that what you do when you make vegetable stock?

Thursday I had a signing where the loan officer, who lives on the opposite side of the Portland Metro area from the branch I am in, attended. She seemed fine, physically. We spent maybe two hours together. She didn't spit on me or anything, but we did hug (I know, there's shit I have to do for my job, intimacy issues aside) and shake hands. Friday when I called her to tell her the file was funding, she sounded like she'd been hit by a truck. She later called me to tell me she'd talked to her doctor and he had diagnosed her with H1N1. She wanted to let anyone she came in contact know. Also on Friday one of my coworkers came in in the morning complaining about a splitting headache and general feel-like-shit-yness. She went home mid-day. She has other complications, and is a person who should probably take care of herself at the first sign of something icky. Again, she didn't like spit in our food or anything, but how much do we know, really, about the spread of this thing?

I don't get sick, generally, and you all know I got the regular flu shot a while back when it first became available (and by the way, IT's not even available now) (that same coworker that went home on Friday, with the other complication? She can't find even the REGULAR flu shot anywhere, and her doctor, who, it seems to me, should be hoarding this shit for people that have other complications and should be at the top of the list to get it, doesn't seem to be working that hard to get his hands on any for her. I don't know, I mean, I don't know the whole story, but for fuck's sake, is it me or does it seem like nobody cares?). I feel kind of bad because I have never had the need to get the flu vaccine before, and now people who really need it can't get it. Woops. How would I have known? How would I have known they would run out of the regular flu shot when they have been encouraging people to get even that one for most of the summer and so they did? And how would we, as a country, have known that something that has been on the radar since APRIL as a potentially huge issue would have been so obviously put on the back burner in terms of the production of its control?

So here's my issue (in case you were wondering what it is): control. Write about H1N1 in the media and discuss it constantly to some degree since it came on the scene in April so that people will always have it in the back of their minds. Any time anyone, and I mean anyone, contracts it during this period of time, when it isn't really the season for it, write about it and talk about it so that nobody forgets that this is a potential disaster. While you're at it, have a vaccine for it, so that there is some kind of solution and maybe some hope for all of your reader/listeners that have felt this nagging fear in the back of their brains since April. And THEN, when more and more cases are being reported, and it is getting colder, and the emergency rooms and hospital beds are starting to fill up with cases, DON'T HAVE ANY VACCINE AVAILABLE. Make SOME, just don't make enough. Decide ahead of time who can get it and who can't, but then crinkle up that piece of paper the list is written on and light it on fire because it doesn't matter anyway, YOU DIDN'T MAKE ENOUGH VACCINE TO BEGIN WITH. Control? Oh yeah. Lead by fear. I know that theory, that's how I ran my desk for 10 years.

I get that maybe at this very second, and on a Sunday no less, there are scientists manufacturing the vaccine to make sure they can get it out to meet the demand (well, I hope anyway). My point is why wouldn't they have made a ton more to begin with over the summer? Money? Is it too expensive to make? Too expensive for whom? Surely whoever is in charge has a pretty decent sized line of credit to handle that kind of expense until the local agencies and consumers pay through the nose to get it. So that's no excuse. The only answer is control. Provide a solution but then dangle it front of our collective noses, make it unavailable to us after a tease, and then declare the whole thing a national emergency to incite MORE fear. To what gain? I just don't get it. Can you tell I don't get it?

I do get this - I spoke with my mom this morning about it - she's 82 and has had pneumonia every year for the past few years, this last one enough to put her in the hospital. I know, on the huge scale, as an 82 year old she probably should be in line behind the children, but when she asked her doctor about it, the doctor told her old people are immune to it, because they have been exposed to so many things over the course of their lifetime, so don't worry. You won't get it.

What. The fuck.

I could go on and on and ON about that little pearl of doctoral advice, but this thing has gone on long enough and I've lost most of you by now I'm sure. For the rest of you 17 still hanging on, please don't think I am just poor undereducated white trash from south Beaverton - if there is a more logical reason for what seems to be such poor planning, I wouldn't mind knowing it.


At 11:42 AM, October 26, 2009, Blogger Gringa-n-Mexico said...

Dude I don't know either - I DO know that those manufacturers get some serious $$ from the vaccines so who knows what their delay problem is!?

Although I can imagine getting everyone in a complete froth over how we don't have enough and making them wait and wait COULD ensure that many more buyers??

Hell, I'm just talking out my ass. I would sure as hell like to get it though being in the Death-category of 3rd trimester prego-ladies and all. But no, my OBGYN says nothing for us for another few weeks. WTF.

At 3:04 PM, October 26, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand your frustration! I work in a doctors office, we can not get the swine flu vaccine and we don't know IF we will.
Our docs are saying "anyone born before 1976 is not at risk, but babies, children and pregnant women should get the H1N1 vaccine.
Also, if your temp is NOT 102 or higher you probably have the regular flu, and not the swine flu."
Btw, you can't freeze or just refrigerate leftover vaccine, it expires.


At 6:34 PM, October 26, 2009, Blogger JJ said...

See Gringa, none of it makes sense. Janie, that doesn't make sense either because the four people I know who have confirmed H1N1 were born in the '60s. Stupid stupid stupid.


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