Just in Case

When I was a girl, my military family was stationed in Germany, and all of us kids had to get what I considered a massive series of shots, including those for typhoid and smallpox. Both these diseases had not yet been significantly reduced and travel from the States to another country required immunization.

Typhoid Mary, circa 1907

Typhoid Mary, circa 1907

Typhoid fever is a bacterial infection, almost entirely controlled by sanitary practices and penicillin.  You might see why I, as a six-year-old, balked against having the shot.  I washed my hands properly after going potty!

Turns out, in my case, I had an atypical allergic reaction to the inoculation and became very sick for several weeks, delaying our embarcation across the Pacific.  For this reason, when the polio vaccine was approved in 1962, my mother refused to let me be immunized.  Fortunately, polio escaped me!

Those of us who are old enough will remember smallpox inoculation Although some controversy surrounded the use of the vaccine, this disease has been declared by the World Health Organization as eradicated and we no longer inoculate children for smallpox.

Smallpox is an infectious viral disease with a high mortality rate.  Children were inoculated with the weakened virus by multiple injections from an infected needle.  Later medical practitioners used a bifurcated needle, but I wasn’t so lucky!  I remember the nurse counting aloud the number of times she pricked my arm.  It was a big number!  I remember the swelling and the scabbing at the site.

An 1802 caricature by James Gillray depicting the early controversy surrounding Jenner's vaccination theory

An 1802 caricature by James Gillray depicting the early controversy surrounding Jenner’s vaccination theory

When we studied the term ANACHRONISM in my English classes, I explained the term by referring to the smallpox inoculation scar.  Still bearing the scar, of course, I pointed out that actors, for example, portraying pre-1500 characters would not have that round pricked scar on their arms.

My little beasties always wanted to see my scar as proof!

The last naturally occurring case of smallpox was recorded in 1977, but the WHO estimates that approximately 300-500 million people died of smallpox during the Twentieth Century alone.  Million!

Vaccinations like mumps, measles, and chickenpox were not required nor available when most of my children entered school.  Today these vaccines exist, and for a reason I don’t understand, many parents choose not to immunize their children; thus, we have small pockets of measles outbreak.

I remember having the measles – not the fun, three-day, German measles (Rubella) when you hardly know you’re sick – I remember contracting Rubeola: the hard, red measles that make you deathly ill.  I likely had complications, but I ran a 105-degree temperature for days.  My mother could not bring down the fever with aspirin or cold cloths.  The doctor visited and declared me gravely ill.

The curtains remained closed because the light hurt my eyes like a vicious migraine.  I burned and sweat, burned and sweat as my body tried to fight the disease.  I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, and I couldn’t talk.

I was simply a tight hard ball of pain.  I was seven years old and I wanted to die.

Thomas Moore

Thomas Moore

A lovely apocryphal story is told about Irish Poet Thomas Moore’s inspiration for writing the song “Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms.”  He returned from being away a long time, only to find that his beloved wife had contracted smallpox.  A universally beautiful woman, she refused to let him see her scarred face, believing he would no longer love her. As a result he wrote this poem, later set to the tune of an old Irish ballad.

Believe me, if all those endearing young charms/Which I gaze on so fondly to-day,
Were to change by to-morrow and fleet in my arms/Like fairy gifts fading away,
Thou wouldst still be adored, as this moment thou art/Let thy loveliness fade as it will;
And around the dear ruin each wish of my heart/Would entwine itself verdantly still.

Just in case you wonder about how the world will end (with a bang or a whimper [T.S. Eliot’s “The Hollow Men”]), think about a world-wide epidemic of some long-eradicated disease.  Why not acquire the best scientific and medical information you can find about what’s appropriate for you and your family?

What about you, readers?  What’s the sickest you’ve ever gotten?  Do immunizations make you “sicker” or lessen your symptoms?  Have you ever had a childhood disease you remember vividly?  Have you ever had food poisoning or salmonella?
Come on, dish!

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Comments

71 Comments

  • flchen1 says:

    Thankfully I did get immunized for things like measles and mumps and polio and smallpox… My mom has a scar on her arm from the smallpox vaccine she received when she was young… I DID get chicken pox in 8th grade, which was relatively late, and it was extremely unpleasant 😉 I’ve had food poisoning or stomach flu before, and that is likewise incredibly unpleasant! I’m a terrible patient, and loathe being sick! I’m a firm believer in vaccines 🙂 It’s too bad the flu shot this year wasn’t as efficacious as desired!

    • Jo Robertson says:

      Yes, Fedora, I’m knocking on wood, hoping I don’t get the flu this year. I have many friends and family who’ve gotten it despite their getting the vaccine this year.

      LOL on you being a terrible patient! That’s the way most men are. I think they’re not used to slowing down. Me? I’m a good patient. Just leave me alone and let sleep heal my body.

    • Jo Robertson says:

      Hey, you got the rooster this morning! Not sure if that’s a privilege or not. I wonder if he’ll hang around the Lair when we no longer blog regularly.

      It will be interesting to see what foolishness he gets up to.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Hey Fedora! Congrats on catching the chookie – much better than measles…..sort of…

      Grins. No cure for Chook-catching though.

  • Jane says:

    Hello Jo,
    Count me as another who doesn’t understand the anti-vaxxer movement. I read a few tweets from parents saying that if their kids can’t bring peanut butter to school then the anti-vaxxers can’t send their unimmunized kids either. There was a mumps outbreak in the NHL recently and many of the players had to get boosters. Except for a sore arm, I’ve never felt sick after getting immunizations.

    • Jo Robertson says:

      Wow, Jane, never heard that argument before!

      And let me say OUCH! on the players getting mumps. It’s supposed to be very hard on grown men.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Hear, hear, Jane! I get nuts – pun intended – about what my son CANNOT bring in his lunch b/c it might set off an allergy in someone else. I’m okay with that, but you’re so right, if I can’t send cashews with my son as a snack (he loves them and it’s a wholesome good snakc for a picky eater) then why should anyone be able to infect my child with something? Yikes!

      • flchen1 says:

        The one thing that bothers me about this argument is that it seems to cloud the issue–kids with nut allergies don’t choose to have them, and I doubt most of them are the ones choosing not to get vaccinated. Anti-vaxxers are willfully choosing not to vaccinate–that seems a separate and unrelated issue to nuts 🙁 And I’m thankful that my immediate family doesn’t have nut allergies, but we have close friends who do, and the reactions are often immediate and life threatening 🙁

      • Jo Robertson says:

        I didn’t realize that nut allergies were such a big thing. Why do you think more kids are allergic to stuff now than they used to be? Environmental pollution or are we just more aware nowadays?

  • Helen says:

    JO

    I was vaccinated against what ever was available at the time small pox not one of them but I did have measles and chicken pox as a kid and so did my siblings and neighbours if one kid got it we all played together so we had it at the same time the in time my kids had their vaccinations but they all had chicken pox anyway fun time that was one after the other and we were in lock down LOL.

    I had those childhood diseases but never that bad that I was really ill I have had a small dose of food poisoning a couple of times but again not terribly bad not good. But I do believe that unless a vaccination is going to cause problems then they should be done

    Have Fun
    Helen

    BTW One of my Aunties had Typhoid fever when she was very young but luckily pulled through and is still going strong today

    • Jo Robertson says:

      Interesting about your auntie, Helen. Many people did not survive typhoid. Thankfully we now know how to avoid it. And I love how we teach kids to wash their hands while singing the ABC song. When they finish the song, they can rinse their hands.

      My granddaughter Emma (who is about the same age as one of your grandsons) is very diligent about that!

    • Jo Robertson says:

      I remember good times with chicken pox too. My brother and I had mild cases. I had the pox and he didn’t but stood outside my bedroom door while I was jumping on the bed (not very sick). I convinced him that having a pillow fight was OKAY as long as he didn’t come into the room. He got the pox from our pillow exchanges, but we had a lot of fun.

  • Amy Conley says:

    Kind of strange blog since hubby and some others were having this discussion just today.
    Not to start anything I’ll just say I don’t believe in vaccinations in infants and children under the age of six. I have nephews, nieces, and grandchildren who have never been vaccinated, nor ever even taken an antibiktic, and have nevet been sick.
    I remember having everything when I was a kid, including being vaccinated after I’d already had them. I did get the mumps after my MMR shot.
    My problem isn’t the vaccine as much as what’s in it and the fact that they would give the same dosage to a 250lbs man as to a 20lbs baby. Something is wrong with that picture IN MY OPINION.

    • Jo Robertson says:

      No worry about controversy, Amy. We’re all friends here in the Lair. And I genuinely want to know why people don’t vaccinate their children.

      I remember going with my youngest girl when her baby had “shot time” because Megan was so sensitive she couldn’t stand to see baby Sydney cry. They gave the poor babe 2 shots in each thigh. That seemed excessive, but I trust the medical experts.

      Maybe your family line has natural immunity? I’m sure there are a certain % of people that the vaccines don’t take on also. Like my getting so sick from the typhoid shot.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      While I’m all for vaccinations, Amy, I made the doctor give them one at a time for my extremely tall, but very skinny Eldest son. I refused to overload his system. All it took was asking. I had the same arguement – hey, you’d give the same dose to a 250 lb guy, and this little guy is UNDERWEIGHT for his height…so let’s go easy, okay? Grins. They were great about it. He got one vaccine, then came back in two weeks and got the second. and then three weeks later, the third. for that particular year.

      I’m really lucky that both my kids are happy-as-pigs healthy. They’ve seldom needed antibiotics and we see the doc once a year for checkups and he barely remembers who we are. Snork!

      • Jo Robertson says:

        That’s a great idea, Jeanne. I’m surprised more parents don’t do that for their kids. I always thought the dosage had to be at one time, but apparently not.

  • Mary Preston says:

    I have been immunised for everything. Madness not to if you have access.

    I remember having the measles as a child. Fairly mild, but it got me out of chores for a while.

    • Jo Robertson says:

      LOL, Mary, it’s all about getting out of the chores!

      I know that people in developing countries, where the vaccines aren’t easily accessible, walk miles and miles to get their children vaccinated.

      • Jeanne Adams says:

        I would, Jo. I do a lot of genealogy research and the sheer number of children lost to these diseases – the unutterable heartbreak for their parents – would make me do anything to get them vaccinated.

        • Jo Robertson says:

          Yes, and it makes me so sad when I hear about children who die from some simple virus easily immunized against.

          A local (to Sacramento) photographer just released a book chronically the underprivileged and undervalued children in some countries. I think it’s called “On a Dollar a Day.” Not sure of her name.

  • Shannon says:

    As you mentioned, the government immunizes its workers and dependents so when I have traveled for work, I have had to have all my shots. The one that made me really sick was the one for yellow fever. I was feverish and hallucinating. I was neighborhood watch chairman. I got myself over to a military guy, explained the situation, and handed him the book and other stuff (vest?), and went home to die. I didn’t but I didn’t catch anything but the usually tummy bugs overseas.

    I did have severe dysentery in Cairo several times. The worst time my maid took really good care of me, making jello, fruit smoothies of mainly ice, chicken broth. She got hydrating salts from the pharmacy and got those down me. They’re horrible. And I missed the chance to see the Sinai and the place where Abraham saw the burning bush.

    • Jo Robertson says:

      Wow, Shannon, I’ve never known anyone who was vaccinated for yellow fever. Sounds like your reaction to that shot was like my typhoid scare. My mom truly thought I was going to die!

      Glad you’re still here (giggle).

      When we visited Egypt, we got “Pharoah’s Revenge” too. But it was at the end of our month-long middle east tour, so thankfully it didn’t last too long. We even clorinated our drinking water.

      At the time we went the infant mortality rate in Egypt was 50%. Isn’t that a horrible statistic?

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Oooh, Shannon, that Yellow Fever bout sounds nasty. But….Egypt! Im wishing I could hve gone with you or Jo to that mysterious land…Grins.

      • Shannon says:

        In those nine months I went everywhere (except the Sinai and the Red Sea coast) and did almost everything. You guys would have liked the Nile Cruise–a little history, good food that was safe, and sunshine on the roof.

  • Jo, I had all available vaccinations. I used to get a reaction to the typhoid one and run a fever for a couple of days.

    When I was in grade school, we weren’t allowed to share food at lunch because of concerns left over from the polio epidemic, though that had ended decades earlier.

    The sickest I’ve ever been was a case of the flu the one and only year I got the flu shot. It was one of those bouts that come with aching bones and fever of 103. We were putting ice packs on the nape of my neck to bring the fever down. So I don’t get the flu shot.

    There’ve been a couple of nasty episodes with stomach bugs, including one that hit so many students my senior year in college that the infirmary staff called it Winter Vomiting Syndrome. I don’t think anyone wants any more information on that one!

    I had measles, mumps, and chicken pox in grade school and am grateful the boy didn’t have to have any of them. Back then, we had no idea any of them could be fatal.

    • Jo Robertson says:

      Interesting, Nancy. Remember how we couldn’t go swimming until July because of fear of getting polio? I didn’t get the vaccine because it wasn’t created then.

      Also strange how you reacted to the flu shot. Coincidence? Allergic reaction? The vaccine each year is different, not the same strains. I used to get a slight fever (100 to 101, slight for me) and aching with the flu, but so much sicker with the real flu. I stopped getting the shots for a while, but at my age, I don’t want to risk it.

    • Jo Robertson says:

      Okay, I just have to respond to Winter Vomiting Syndrome — what a hoot — you could call it WVS and it would sound really, really serious. But I imagine it wasn’t at all! Not much worse than throwing up. I’d rather run the 104 temp.

      And yes, I think the younger a person is the less they realize that these diseases can actually KILL people.

  • pjpuppymom says:

    I had measles as a child. The only clear memory I have is being very sick in a darkened room. My mom told me the doctor feared I wouldn’t survive. I also had mumps and chicken pox. When I traveled out of the country in 1965 I had to have all those lovely shots you mentioned. I didn’t get sick but my arm sure was sore! I’ve received all the pertinent vaccinations over the years as has everyone else in my family.

    I had food poisoning several years ago. Lost 12 pounds in a 24-hour period. Believe me, that’s an experience I don’t want to repeat!

    Eight years ago I almost died from salmonella sepsis. The ER doc told me that my body was already starting to shut down when I arrived via ambulance at the hospital. Thankfully, I was unconscious and don’t remember the worst of it. The really scary part of it is that the symptoms came on suddenly and I passed out within five minutes of the first pain. Thank God I wasn’t alone when it happened or I wouldn’t be here today.

    • Jo Robertson says:

      Oh, PJ!! That’s serious. Did you ever find out what caused the salmonella? Isn’t it usually from eating something with the bacterium in it?

      Sounds like your measles and mine gave us the same serious symptoms. Glad we both survived!

      • pjpuppymom says:

        Jo, we think it was from bagged lettuce but couldn’t prove it since the lettuce had already been thrown out. It was a long time after that before I’d touch a salad again. 😉

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Wow, PJ! So glad your Guardian Angel was on duty!! :>

      I’ve had food poisoning like that – Chicken Chow Mein – and I lost 10 lbs and really, I wanted to die. :> I thought I’d NEVER stop heaving. Ugh! (TMI, right?) People don’t believe you can lose like that ( 10 lbs, 12, lbs) but as we both know, all that “full body workout” and fluid loss can pull the weight right off. Ha!! NOT the recommended program!

      Scary about the septecemia. *shudder* As Jo said, so glad you’re here!!

      • Jo Robertson says:

        When Boyd was working on his master’s and I on my bachelor’s degrees, we both had food poisoning (from McDonald’s Big Mac — shhh).

        The timing was just too perfect, both of us terribly sick within 4 hours of eating and the whole — oh, yeah — thing. I haven’t been able to eat a Big Mac since 1970 and I LOVE Mickey D’s!

    • PJ, I’m SO glad someone was with you. What a horrendous experience!

  • Debbie Oxier says:

    I remember having measles. It was back when doctors actually made house calls (telling my age). I had a high fever, was all broken out, and had to wear sunglasses indoors! While very sick then, the time I was sickest was back in 2003 or 2004 when I got a flu shot. God deathly ill and ended up in the hospital. Same thing happened the next year, although I wasn’t hospitalized then. Needless to say I refuse to get a flu shot now. I’m not going through that again!

    • Debbie Oxier says:

      Should read GOT deathly ill. Sorry! Nancy, yours was different than mine as I had continual vomiting to the point my daughter, an RN, told me in no uncertain terms I was going to the hospital. She even requested I be put on the pediatrics floor where she works so she’d know exactly who was taking care of me. It wasn’t pretty, nor was it a fun time!

    • Jo Robertson says:

      Interesting, Debbie. I wonder if your body just can’t handle even the weakened or dead virus. You, PJ, and I all had the same serious symptoms from measles. We should form a club!

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Debbie, I think there are several of us that need to join the “no flu shot” club!

      The only years in which I’ve gotten the flu – really, really gottent the FLU – were the times I got talked into taking the flu shot. Hubby gets it every year b/c he has asthma and that’s totally good.

      Me? I don’t do it b/c I’m just asking for flu if I do. Ugh.

  • Jo Robertson says:

    We’re all of an age when we can tell some gruesome “war” stories about our various illnesses (which no one wants to hear, probably lol).

    But I find it interesting that my grands “illnesses” are mainly allergies, ear infections, colds and sore throats. Nothing deadly or serious enough to cause death, for which I am eternally grateful!

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Me too, Jo! It’s thanks to vaccines that these things have been reduced to the occasional real problem (mono, or more serious stuff), rather than losing 3 out of 5 children to the Spanish INfluenza as many did in 1918 and 1919

      • Jo Robertson says:

        And the sad, and somewhat rare, thing about the 1918 Spanish Flu was that it targeted young adults so many of our soldiers died from it. Usually these diseases are dangerous for the very young or very old, not the strong young strapping men!

  • LOL – Well I’m generally healthy as a horse with no reactions to vaccinations other than a termporarily sore arm. I’m one with the scar on my right arm from being vaccinated when I was too young to remember it. I remember being given a sugar cube in school that contained the polio vaccine. My kids were vaccinated right on schedule – I don’t play games with my children’s health. I’ve gotten the flu shot every year for the past five years and haven’t had anything more than a case of sniffles in that time. Last year I was vaccinated for shingles. That’s one disease I do not want.

    The sickest I’ve ever been…I remember my brother, who is only two years older than me, and I had some illness. My mother said it was some exotic disease, but I didn’t know what it was. She moved me into my brother’s bedroom because he had twin beds and thus she only had one “sick room”. Not sure where she put my oldest brother, he probably slept on the couch. Though I honestly don’t remember the sickness or the symptoms, I have a vivid memory of my brother’s lamp. It had two shades. The inside one turned with the heat with images of scenery and a smoke trail. The outside one had a picture of a locomotive and was stationary. The combined effect made it look like the train was moving. I thought that was the coolest thing! LOL

    So far no big outbreaks of measles here in Ohio. We just have the normal flu outbreaks and viral infections – but not in my house 🙂

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      How cool, Donna, that you still remember that lamp!!

      And that’s such a great way to put it – it’s kinda like Russian Roulette to not vaccinate. Sigh.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      How cool, Donna, that you still remember that lamp!!

      And that’s such a great way to put it – it’s kinda like Russian Roulette to not vaccinate. Sigh.

      Isn’t it SUCH a blessing to be healthy though? I’m so grateful that my household seems to be pretty “teflon” when it comes to sickness.

    • Jo Robertson says:

      That’s a delightful memory of a “sick” day. At first, I thought you were going to say it turned out to be a humidifier lol.

      And I’m not surprised you’re as healthy as a horse and you have the energy of one too! Go, Donna!

  • catslady says:

    I’m pretty sure I had all the childhood diseases but the only one I remember is the chicken pox. I have a few scars from that one and I was probably 10 at the time. I use to get horrible colds unlike my sister but I think I had allergies back then too and they didn’t know it. As far as diseases, I’ve had two or three very bad flues. I can’t complain. My real problems have been stomach problems, sereve cramping every month and horrible headaches/migraines but happy to say that all ended with menopause.

  • Minna says:

    I’ve been immunized for just about everything. The worst disease I’ve ever had as a kid -or ever- was meningitis. I wish there would have been a vaccination for it. I really could have lived without that experience.

  • EC Spurlock says:

    I remember getting the smallpox vaccine with the multiple needles and polio vaccines both needle and oral (anybody else remember the sugar cubes in school?) but when I was growing up they still didn’t have vaccines for the rest. I had measles when I was 7 and missed my First Communion because I was quarantined for 2 weeks (yes, I remember having to stay in the dark and watch TV with sunglasses on!) I also had some awful form of flu in college that resulted in my being confined to the infirmary for at least a week. I had pneumonia when I was in my 20’s and did not have chicken pox until I was 25 (which caused my doctor to freak out next time I had a blood test because the chicken pox virus is very similar to a venereal disease virus so I was testing positive.) My oldest son got chicken pox despite the vaccine when he was 2 but the antibodies still in my system were passed on to him during pregnancy and made it a very mild case. The worst I’ve ever been sick was when I was first married and got mononeucleosis from a coworker (they clearly didn’t wash the communal silverware well enough in that place.) By the time my husband got me to the hospital I was so dehydrated I took 3 bags of saline, and my throat was so swollen they were afraid I would suffocate. They couldn’t keep me at the hospital because there was no room so they sent me home with instructions for my husband and mom to keep me under 24-hour watch. They also gave me a steroid to unswell my throat which only made matters worse because it made me delirious. It took me over a month to recover and I was on a restricted diet for almost 3 months. Then I started getting very similar symptoms again and they thought I was having a relapse, but no – it turned out that the medication had negated my birth control and I was pregnant instead!

    I made sure my kids got all their vaccines because they spent so much time in daycare and everything gets passed around there. My younger son had a reaction to the DPT vaccine so we ended up giving him a modified version. However as he got older he developed a terror of needles and would actually pass out in the doctor’s office from sheer terror so I don’t even know if he’s caught up on all his vaccines.

    • Jo Robertson says:

      LOL, EC, that’s the OTHER pox, the social disease one.

      I had mono in college, too. I think all my friends did, which is why they called it the kissing disease. But I’ve never known anyone to react so severely to it.

      Yikes, it’s scary to think some meds can cancel out your birth control. I warn my daughters who are 40, 42, and 46 and don’t want any more children, that this is the time when you get pregnant — when you think you’re too old to get pregnant. Uh, not!

  • Jeanne Adams says:

    Hi Jo! I’m finding this SO fascinating! I’m all about safety when it comes to my kids. That’s just non-negotiable. And that is exactly what the non-vaccinators say too. :>

    As I mentioned in a previous comment, I was concerned about the vaccines. I made them spread them out for my Eldest. My younger son didn’t have that issue, and has handeled them fine.

    That said, I didn’t get them the flu shot this year b/c of all the efficacy issues. Also, won’t be getting them that HPV vaccine b/c it only has 12% effectiveness and the side effects are not pretty. Sigh.

    As to my own health, I’ve been a bouncy, healthy one most of my life. Grins. I nearly died at 2 from pneumonia, but after that? Bounce, bounce, bounce. Ha!

    Had chicken pox at the same time as my sister – really bad cases, both of us – but the only danger was that we’d kill one another due to boredom and enforced proximity. Ugh. We both still talk about that with a *shudder* Ha!

    Brothers had measles and mumps. But otherwise we got off pretty easy. I was among the first batch who got the smallpox some where other than the shoulder – on my back – OMG that HURT!!

    A few years ago I took some Masters classes at a local University and had to have the MMR (measles mumps rubella) booster, because I titered as not having immunity. Weird, right? So my doc is going to re-test this year to see if the booster held, or if I need yet another boost. Grins.

    ALl in all though…healthy! Yay! (And grateful for it!!)

    • Jo Robertson says:

      Good information, Jeanne. I’ll have to ask my doctor at my next physical if I need to have those boosters, the ones I never got, or if the fact that I’m this age and have never had mumps means I don’t have to worry.

      I do keep up with the DT booster though. Don’t want to be taken out by a rusty nail!

      Those hurt!

  • Jo Robertson says:

    Jeanne, I find this an interesting topic too, and I’m sorry if anyone got bored :-O!

    It’s intriguing to me how best practices in medicine change from decade to decade too. And how our knowledge evolves.

    I think an historical novel set during the building of the Panama Canal (malaria) and WWI (Spanish Flu and those conditions caused by trench warfare and mustard gas) would be very interesting.

    • Shannon says:

      That made me think of something. My grandfather served in WW1. He told the story of them getting on a ship to come back to the U.S. and there was some flu (Spanish flu?) that swept through the ship. About a third of the men who had survived the war died. He refused to ever sail again.

      • Jo Robertson says:

        OMG, Shannon, I’ll bet it was Spanish Flu. It began in Jan 1918 and lasted almost 3 years. It killed 3-5% of the WORLD’S population, so it was a pandemic and one of the world’s deadliest disasters.

        Your grandfather is very lucky! Apparently it attacked the immune system of healthy young adults who were the most affected.

  • Jo, I feel terrible for your 7yo self. Poor little mite.

    I feel strongly that vaccination is essential. I hope very much that something is done about this before it’s too late. I don’t think it’s down to an individual’s right to choose when it’s a contagious disease, either.

    • Jo Robertson says:

      Awww, little 7 yo Jo says, “Fanks.” I had a lisp when I was a child :)).

      I know! We just have too much information at our hands now to be careless with our kids’ health, not to mention those around them.

      And the German measles are dangerous to pregnant women even though they’re a mild thing for the child having them.

  • Jo, chicken pox and measles and mumps vaccines weren’t around when I was a kid either. I remember being REALLY sick with measles – I had them when I was about seven and moderately sick with mumps around the same time. My brother contracted chicken pox at his boarding school just before my first Christmas as a uni student so I got it when I was about 18. Oh, my Lordy Lord, I was SOOOOO sick. The muscle pains made me want to chop off my legs and the headache felt like an axe in my head. By the time the spots came out, I was feeling slightly better – and I was then completely unsightly for another couple of weeks. And all of this was with no complications from the disease apart from a couple of small scars.

  • Deb says:

    Jo, I remember getting immunization shots at school. I cringe now, thinking about a needle in one kid, pull it out, shoot another in the arm, and so in. One dispenser was very large, looked like a spritz cookie press with a red can muster where you coukd see the liquid serum. Scared the crud out of my 6-year-old self.
    I was very sick as a preteen warmth a platelets problem and had to have my spleen removed. Then had a terrible breathing episode that was the beginning of asthma.
    I had bronchitis REALLY bad about ten years ago, probably should have been hospitalized. I usually get strep once a winter because I had it terribly bad 20 years or so ago. In fact, I have viral bronchitis now and am staying home tomorrow for extra rest. My immune system is weak since having had my spleen removed when I was 15.

    • Jo Robertson says:

      Wow, Deb, you’ve been through a lot of illnesses, and it sounds like you’re still having problems. I know the spleen is important in filtering the blood, so I’m sure having it removed has made you more vulnerable.

  • Deb says:

    Oops, darn Kindle and auto correct. …a red can-like dispenser….

  • Kaelee says:

    I got scarlet fever one summer. It was torture being sick during the summer holidays.

    I did get food poisoning from eating salmon when I was a teenager. I couldn’t eat it for a long time afterwards.

    I’ve had lots of vaccinations and have the smallpox bump on my arm. So far I haven’t gotten a flu shot yet but I do see it in my future.