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Jab count

Diptheria, Tetanus, Polio (Didn't they used to give you that on a sugar lump?) Hep.A, Typhoid.

First three together, last two together. The last was unpleasant and still stings. larians came in with me and supported me through my phobic responses, which was very kind of him. The nurse was brilliant too... Must say, there does seem to have been a change in attitude towards this phobia generally, though throughout much of my adult life the whole thing was dismissed as people being silly. I experience shock and  vasovagal symptoms. My phobia is still severe, but it has improved a lot; back in the 90s,prior to my trip to Nepal, I delayed getting the meningitis jab so long that by the time I went for it, the doctor told me it would do no good given the constraints, so didn't bother giving it to me.

Speaking to Mum about Africa, her advice was basically not to go. Mum is the most confirmed European that ever lived, and sees no point in travelling beyond its borders, a real shrinking of attitudes considering our early years in Singapore. But then, I think she sees that city as an exotic outpost of Europe itself,a sort of Switzerland with dragons. Everywhere else is pestilential. Even the States... 'Well,' she said ' I have heard medical care is good in the States. But what is the point, if you walk out of the hospital and get shot on the streets?' She seems to have decided that the entire USA is in fact the Wild West. We talked about vaccines. Being a person who follows her own very particular health regimen, she had plenty to say.

'I do not agree with injections that include different vaccines together,' she told me. 'The baby's immune system is still developing, it is too much of a shock, too much happening.  Better to give one vaccination one week, another the next, and so on until the baby is totally safe, or as safe as she can be.'

This might explain why I spent most of my early childhood as a doctor's dartboard; I was at the GPs so often the nurses joked about making a chair for my mother with her name embroidered on the back. I mentioned the modern phenomenon of anti-vaxxers. Her eyes grew round. 'How are they going to stop their children from getting sick then?' She asked. My response was to mention the child who died a year or so back of diptheria in Barcelona. She looked very shocked. Diptheria has been a killer in Spain for centuries and she herself contacted it when very young, back in the 1940s. 'They had to inject me with horse serum,' she said. Horse serum? What the hell is that? I sat there wondering about the horrors of horse serum,and she sat there wondering about how the world seemed to be travelling backward.

'If you go to Africa - or anywhere - and  act like a silly girl because of your silly injection thing, and don't get vaccinated, and catch a disease and die,I will never speak to you again,' she told me in decided tones. Hard to argue with such logic. I decided not to mention the Himalayas trip. Contrary to her not speaking to me again, I would be almost certain never to hear the end of it.

 

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