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Archive for June 1st, 2011

Cat-ass-trophe? Perhaps not.

Please note, due to the HUGE number of spams your comments may or may not get caught at times.  It’s been awful lately.  It’s not personal, trust me…

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I took my cat, Jack-Jack, to the vet yesterday.  He’d been vomiting for 24 hours plus change.  Started out horking up food then progressing to frothy stuff.

So they took some blood.  Then they took an x-ray.  Then they injected this ****load of electrolyte solution into the loose-skin area between his shoulderblades and neck to the point that he looked like the Hunchcat of Notre-Dame.  But it did give him some pep.

I haven’t seen any more barf and he’s actually eating something.

The part that isn’t so cheery is that they saw a thickening of the intestine which they attributed to inflammation. “Inflammation” seems to be what they say when they don’t really know for sure, suspect something not-good, and don’t want to wig the pet owner out.

I’ve been trying to reach the vet all day and for multiple hours he was operating on a pet – a tail-tuck or teat-enhancement or something.   Perhaps nose surgery on a Himalayan.

Soooooo, it’s either a result of eating plastic bags (he’s a real connoisseur) or something Distressingly More Serious.

I’m not worried about Jack though.  He’s just a cat after all and I have absolutely no attachment whatsoever to him or his sister.  At all.  None.  Nope.  Cats are cheap – they’ll be putting them in cereal boxes next.  Why would I care about a furball?

Update:  Jack-Jack had a good blood test – a bit dehydrated but you get that when you can’t keep anything down.  Kidneys, liver, tail, all seem good.  A bit of gas but unlocalized when the doc checked him last night so blockage doesn’t seem likely.  They said to give him some canned food, maybe with a little canned pumpkin mixed in for fiber and he’d be good.  Gastroenteritis (aka tummy irritation but it sounds all official-ey, don’t it?) without a source.  Unless it returns, give him a swat on the butt and let him mingle.

Total cost?  $200 to find out he had an upset tummy.

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Americans are losing faith that the economy will keep improving, according to a monthly survey.

When did we have faith in our economy to begin with, exactly?  Pretty stupid concept that Americans could have economical faith in the past few years (which the author doesn’t believe for a second).  Losing faith?  Oh, my faith was gone years ago because I’m bitterly cynical.

As megablogger Glenn Reynolds, aka Instapundit, has noted with amusement, the word “unexpectedly” or variants thereon keep cropping up in mainstream media stories about the economy.

“New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly climbed,” reported CNBC.com May 25.

“Personal consumption fell,” Business Insider reported the same day, “when it was expected to rise.”

“Durable goods declined 3.6 percent last month,” Reuters reported May 25, “worse than economists’ expectations.”

“Previously owned home sales unexpectedly fall,” headlined Bloomberg News May 19.

“U.S. home construction fell unexpectedly in April,” wrote the Wall Street Journal May 18.

Those examples are all from the last two weeks.

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Those of us “on the ground” so to speak – aka “us little people, financially” – we did not really need a “Economic Surprise Index” to know that something is terribly terribly wrong.  Politicians, the media, and the Wall Street folks that got bailed out don’t seem to have much common sense, as we established above.

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Yes, I’m on a rant about vaccinations again.  It’s a hot-button issue!  Feel free to debate the topic but if you flame me and treat me like dirt I’ll blacklist you from this blog so quickly you’ll barf up your toenails.

Amazingly, there is still debate over the notion that vaccines cause autism even in the aftermath of Scientist O’ FAIL Dr. Andrew Wakefield who faked so very much and is paying the price today even as do the children of misguided but well-meaning parents.

There are two autistic kids in my family – one is my son the other is my sister’s son.

Sister is convinced vaccines do it.  I don’t harbor even the tiniest suspicion that they do.  I think genetics is the single biggest determinant.   Skyrocketing incidence of autism?  Chalk that up to over/mis-diagnosis and previous un-diagnosis of actual cases.

Note:  Oooooh!  There is a new scary thing in town!  “Fever during pregnancy, diabetes and obesity may raise autism risk.”   Well, since the old scary thing was shot down we need a new scary thing to keep interest up and funding fluid.

Here’s a suspicion of mine – that “autism” has become more of a bogeyman for our culture of intolerance of what we perceive as behavioral issues – and that “skyrocketing” rates reflect a desire to blame behavior on a condition rather than address the behavior or possibly harm a child’s wickedly fragile self-esteem.  My daughter has shown some behavioral issues which we’re still working on ferreting out but after I asked her teacher to “cut the bullshit and tell me what you think”, she whispered to me in conspiratorial tones that my daughter falls on the autistic spectrum disorder.  She’s also one of those teachers that feels she knows more than any parent could possibly fathom and only barely conceals it.  Not surprisingly my hackles go up when I’m even near the woman.

Now, let me be perfectly clear: My ego isn’t involved here.  I say without a lick of shame that my son is autistic – it is mild but it is there and it is as real as the day is long.  But my daughter doesn’t exhibit a single one of the classical signs of it.  She has no problem making eye contact or communicating, is a very outwardly loving and compassionate little girl, does not respond atypically to physical stimuli, and isn’t obsessive any more than the wife or I am (let’s not delve too deeply there, ok?).   Behavioral issues?  Gosh, yes – of course there are.  Show me a kid whose parent claims their kid doesn’t have behavioral issues and I’ll show you a parent that screams about “no coat hangers” on a regular basis, and immediately after that I’ll show you a kid with more cracks in their psyche than a Michigan highway.

Anyway, the scare about vaccinations and autism is beyond ridiculous.  It is causing parents to avoid getting vaccines for their kids that puts them at risk for things that are well-established:  Diseases.  The danger in not vaccinating is much higher.

In the case of clear evidence that vaccinations save lives I have little issue with requiring simple prophylactic medicine.

If my child is unvaccinated and all these other children are vaccinated, How does my child pose any threat?’ responded Workman. ‘This is my child and it’s a right I should have.

In part she is right – there’s a grey area in terms of your freedom but then again we also have traffic laws, seat belt laws, and helmet laws… so go argue about it in court.

In 1999, Madison’s older sister developed autism just months after receiving her state-required immunizations for measles, mumps and rubella.

“Right after she received her childhood vaccines…her verbal…her potty training…everything had stopped,” she said.

She didn’t describe anything other than common beyond-a-doubt autism progression.

She’s ignorant of the realities of vaccination.  There are a few things wrong with the popular understanding of “herd immunity”.  Depending upon the communicability of the disease, the number of vaccinated individuals may need to be quite high to keep the disease under control and keep making strides towards actual eradication.   Smallpox eradication happened because they made a push to get darned near everyone innoculated.

It is not unreasonable to ask that easily communicable diseases be prevented from spreading.  When you are sick and still as-yet asymptomatic as is often the case before you are full-blown sick,  you are a contagious walking virus-factory – in some cases highly so.  People who don’t respond to vaccines, are allergic to them, or are immune-compromised would appreciate it if you’d do your part.

Vaccines do not grant you ironclad immunity to diseasethey aren’t silver bullets even though they work most of the time (85% or better).  They give your body the chance to be pro-active with pathogens.  You may still get the disease and have drastically reduced symptoms (generally because something has weakened your immune system).  You may still get the full-blown disease or a variant of it.  You may not even get sick at all.

Then again you have people who love a good conspiracy story…

www-dot-unhinderedliving-dot-com/immunizations.html

Here’s the webpage’s author’s remarks:

Louis Pasteur’s germ theory is flawed.  It is not true that germs make us sick.  Germs change their function depending upon the kind of tissue they live in.  If our tissues are full of toxins, dead and decaying cells, and are in general not well nourished with vitamins and minerals, the germs will feed on this diseased tissue.  If we take good care of ourselves, make sure we have good nutrition, and regularly cleanse our bodies inside and out, especially the intestinal tract, the germs perform a maintenance and restoration function, helping keep our bodies healthy.  Germs cannot hurt you if you keep your immune system in top shape.

Amazing.  “Germs cannot hurt you if you keep your immune system in top shape.”  See the logic that requires not a shred of proof?  If you do get sick then it must follow that your immune system was not kept in top shape.

Most of these diseases, if contracted today, rarely if ever cause death, and are easily dealt with using antibiotics. They are not the threat that they were in the previous centuries, because our standard of living is better.  We know about food spoilage and clean toileting habits, which caused the majority of disease outbreaks in the past.  Personally, I would rather that my children contract measles, mumps, chicken pox, and all the others so that they develop an active immunity.  However, my children have very strong immune systems, and even though they have been exposed to children infected with these diseases, my children have never contracted any infectious disease.   There are ways to build up your immune system so that you are not susceptible to infections.

“Most of the diseases if contracted today rarely if ever cause death” is utter horseshit.  The VAST majority of people have immunizations and have no difficulties whatsoever – the number of complications from a vaccine are outweighed by several orders of magnitude by the dangers of the diseases they help prevent.

DISEASE

Measles
Pneumonia: 6 in 100
Encephalitis: 1 in 1,000
Death: 2 in 1,000

Rubella
Congenital Rubella Syndrome: 1 in 4 (if woman becomes infected early in pregnancy)

VACCINES

MMR
Encephalitis or severe allergic reaction:
1 in 1,000,000

DISEASE

Diphtheria
Death: 1 in 20

Tetanus
Death: 2 in 10

Pertussis
Pneumonia: 1 in 8
Encephalitis: 1 in 20
Death: 1 in 1,500

VACCINES

DTaP
Continuous crying, then full recovery: 1 in 1000
Convulsions or shock, then full recovery: 1 in 14,000
Acute encephalopathy: 0-10.5 in 1,000,000
Death: None proven

source:  http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/6mishome.htm

Viruses, which account for most immunizations, aren’t affected in the least by antibiotics.  I’d like to also add that antibiotics are getting so over-used we ought to be using every other possible resource first.  The “standard of living” argument does have a bit of truth to it and we do know much more about cleanliness habits.  Those habits will not protect you from a virulent contagion, however, and if it were true chickenpox would have been reduced by hygiene and not vaccinations.

I would rather that my children contract measles, mumps, chicken pox, and all the others so that they develop an active immunity.

Vaccines give you an active immunity or they wouldn’t work at all.

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