Thanks to America’s medical community for developing life-saving vaccines

Dear Subscribers: One other note you should be aware of before checking out my Thanksgiving column. GoDaddy, the company that hosts my WordPress account, has just informed me there was a security breach of 1.2 million of its accounts, including the JJCommonTater account. Here is the news story–

GoDaddy says they found out about it on November 17 but the unauthorized access took place on September 6. They have blocked the intruder and changed their passwords, etc. I have changed my passwords and assume that there is no further problem, but I can’t tell you that someone could not have gotten some data from my account. Kind of irritates me because I paid them $480 on September 28 to update my account, although that could have limited the exposure of my account. I will keep an eye on things and let you know if there is any problem or additional information to report. So here is my Thanksgiving column and I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Thanks to America’s medical community for developing life-saving vaccines

If we were not still in the grip of a deadly pandemic, with the 7-day average death toll from the coronavirus hovering just over 1,100 a day, I probably would not have thought of giving thanks this year for the medical researchers who have given this country protection against many life-threatening illnesses. Thinking back to the late 40s and early 50s, when I became aware of vaccinations, my thoughts were anything but thankful. When a doctor or nurse brought out a needle, they had to pry me out from behind the furniture to administer a shot. I refused Novocaine in the dentist’s office.

Then came the 1952 polio epidemic, which was the worst outbreak in the nation’s history. We saw pictures of kids in iron lungs–huge mechanical devices to help kids breathe. We did not know what caused polio but we were told not to gather together or drink from public fountains or swim in public pools. My uncle, Uli, got polio and his legs withered, bringing the disease close to home. When the Falk polio vaccine became available about 1955, everyone in our community and across the country could not get shots fast enough.

That softened my dread fear of needles. It further softened over the years when the effectiveness of various vaccines was proven time and again–Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Diphtheria, Tetanus, and so on. When I developed hay fever, it was a mixed blessing. I did not have to work in the hay, which was the worst work on the farm, but I did have to get regular injections, which my Mom did very slowly so as not to hurt. Yikes!

Then, in 1968, I volunteered to fight in Vietnam and had to get a long list of vaccinations. Everyone had to take the vaccinations for the protection of the entire unit–the old thing about the chain breaking at the weakest link, obviously the unvaccinated one. They included Plague, Yellow Fever, Typhus, Cholera, Typhoid Fever, and the very worst, gamma globulin in the posterior for Hepatitis. It left a big bump in the rear that slowly dissipated over a week or so.

As one continues through life, it is easy to take for granted the fact that you don’t have to worry about the dread diseases that our ancestors had to face on practically a daily basis. Plague and smallpox wiped out entire populations before the scientific
community developed means of prevention that could be administered in a painless injection. We don’t know how very fortunate we are and how thankful we should be.
When I was a kid and we learned that someone in the community had been diagnosed with cancer of practically any variety, we all thought it was a death sentence. When Doctor Gupta called on January 13, 2017, to say that I had pancreatic cancer, that was my very question–”Is this a death sentence.” His response was, “not necessarily.” I was told later that chemotherapy would increase my chances of survival to 30%.

In order to get chemo, you had to get a whole range of shots, which I gladly accepted and would have taken many more. It was not a question as to whether the FDA or anyone else had given its blessing to any of them. My trusted physicians had said they were necessary and that was enough. They put a port in your chest so they could mainline it and you were happy to put up with all of it for a chance of survival. You see many other dear souls in the injection lounge taking in stuff that some would call poison, just for the chance of more life with their loved ones –not a lot of bellyachers and dissidents in that venue. I’m now 4-years cancer free.

So, let me raise a toast this Thanksgiving weekend to the doctors, nurses, medical researchers and other medical personnel who have strived so hard over the many years to find ways of saving the public from illness and death at the hands of deadly diseases such as COVID-19 and all of the other scourges I’ve previously mentioned. We owe you, we salute you and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts, which are still beating because of you.

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6 thoughts on “Thanks to America’s medical community for developing life-saving vaccines”

  1. Congratulations on being pancreatic cancer free for 4 years. That is very fortunate for this nearly uniformly deadly disease. Happy Thanksgiving.

    Cameron Hinman, MD

  2. Chief Justice Jones,
    We are so honored and fortunate to be beneficiaries of your wisdom, perspective and experience. I am so impressed with your perseverance and continuing energy in the face of your 2017 diagnosis. Myself and many others are praying for many more years of your public engagement. Thank you.

  3. We visited once at MSTI while I was waiting with my wife for her infusion and you were headed for a follow-up appointment. You told me what you had been treated for, and I wished you well.

    While I lost my wife, Merine, one year ago on November, 27 after her personal battle with an incurable cancer, I am so thankful to those at MIST for their good work and friendly approach to providing care.

    I’m also thankful to be on your mailing list and for your positive contributions in these troubled times.

    I wish you well in a very literal way.


    1. Thanks for your comments, Roy. So good to hear from you again. I will be thinking of you this weekend during the first year remembrance of Merine’s passing. So many good people were treated so well by the great staff at MSTI, but too many were still taken by the scourge of cancer. We keep them and their survivors in our prayers. Jim

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