Karmic Deja Vu for the first time

03/09/2009 at 6:22 AM Leave a comment

This Sunday the name of Salk came up. Salk of the Polio Vaccine. And a peculiar train of thought sprung up.  Zoom to nearly 50 years ago and I am in a line that goes around the entire block of the school with every kid in the world ( or so it seemed). At the end of it we get a sugar cube with some bitter medicine inside it. But no big deal we are back at play in no time. I mention it to my mother and she dismisses it as inconsequential. No hint of the worry that mothers have had for centuries during each summer. Infantile paralysis, Polio, devastator of youth–not a peep. this is one of my earliest memories.

This was before I had any thought of becoming a doctor. Actually when the possibility of  this was too outrageous to even consider. My father dropped out of school in the 9th grade to help the family during THE Depresion. My mother made it through 5th grade because they were even poorer. That their kid could go to college was a fantasy, that he would get a masters in Physics and then his MD well, getting to the moon would be easier.

Now I regularly give children polio vaccines, but we no longer do so for the same reasons. The chance of polio is almost unmeasurable. Before 9/11 we were on the path to not require the shot any more. We give shots instead of the oral vaccine (The politics of which are infuriatingly stupid). And we give it because of the fear that someone will weaponize Polio.  Not that it is possible or likely, just the fear is the reason.

It was an very odd feeling to go on this mind trip, from the very first memories to all the crucial decision nodes that led me to where I am.

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My little girl–no more focusing during crisis

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