Friday, August 03, 2007

Claire and I Have Rabies...

Okay, well, not really. But, we've "potentially" been infected by one of the 150 bats that have infested Claire's parents' cottage, according to Health Canada. The whole lot of us slept in a cottage that was full of bats, apparently. Since bats can bite you while you're sleeping and not wake you up, Health Canada believes that we're at risk.
So, we've been getting shots for the last few weeks. The first series of injections was the big one, but I was happy to discover that the rabies vaccine is no longer an extremely painful shot in the stomach. It's now a series of shots and they don't hurt too badly. There are some side effects. Claire's father has been feeling like he drank 15 cups of coffee, while Claire has been sleeping 14 hours a day. I don't really notice any problems myself, but I'm not the most attentive towards my health.
I'm really quite happy with the state of the medical arts. They've made great strides in the last few decades and I think this century will be an amazing one to live in. Imagine science putting an end to Alzheimer's and AIDS. There are, of course, a number of people who hyperventilate about "Big Pharma", and sometimes for good reasons. There are clearly drugs marketed today that add little value to the quality of life. A good doctor will advise his patients not to take medicines when they don't need to.
But there's a certain amount of anti-intellectualism to the critique of Big Pharma as well. Read these comments about the introduction of the HPV vaccine to Canada and see if some of these people don't sound downright superstitious. The evil cabal of pharmacists wants to take our money for their so-called medicine! It's all a scam! I know! I read it on the Internet! Boogada-boogada.
So it goes. Studying history, I've come to believe that hysterias are common in all societies during all time periods. People have always been suspicious of organized groups that seem to know more than them. As for me, I'll take modern medical science, thank you.
(Note: The photo is from a horror movie; not of Claire with rabies.)
Postscript: I really should just stop reading the comments sections on the Internet, shouldn't I?


Holly said...

Where does that vitriol come from??

Those girls wouldn't need this vaccine, if they weren't such raging sluts already by the age of 12! Nevermind the MEDICAL EVIDENCE that the vaccine only works for certain age groups. Only Bad Girls could possibly get cervical cancer! Can't we just issue chastity belts, until all the girls get past the age where the vaccine could possibly save any of them, and then turn them loose into a hypersexualized world, with no experience in making choices, and no way to actually prevent transmission of HPV short of a total lifetime commitment to abstinence? Sure, that means the population would totally die off, because if the girls aren't putting out, there won't be any kids, but that's OK, because at least they all get into heaven!

Because surely it's the fact of GIRLS having sex that is transmitting the virus, and not, say, the boyfriend who already--probably before he even met his slutty young soon-to-be-not-a-virgin girlfriend dipped his dipstick somewhere that had the virus! Clearly GIRLS are in charge of "choosing to be chaste" while the boys are, you know, innocent bystanders.

If the shoe were on the other foot, and it was a matter of vaccinating the boys so they wouldn't spread HPV around, how would these conversations be playing out, do you think? "I guess we could probably just roll that in with the initial vaccinations, put that with the MMR booster or something, hey?" ... end of conversation.

This kind of hostile ignorance makes me really, really angry. I know people find new things really chafing, and they tend to counter it with really old flavors of bullshit, but dammit this makes me want to find some of those commentators and punch them right between the eyes.

Rufus said...

It's sort of a perfect storm of paranoia about female sexuality and paranoia about the pharmaceutical industry. I really do think the news sources need to drop the comments sections altogether.

In fairness, Claire has pointed out to me that the Globe and Mail readership isn't exactly representative of Canadians.