Saturday, April 25, 2009


Tdap, Tdap... Tdap, Tdap, Tdap... Tdap, Tdaaaaaaaaaaaap. TDAP.

Don't know why, but that's what happens when I think "Tdap" in my head. It becomes Pink Panther theme music.

If you do not know what a Tdap is, then FOR SHAME. Get thyself to thine doctor (or reasonable facsimile thereof) pronto and get it. It's a shot. Yes, it'll hurt. Ya big baby.

My niece, Chelle-Belle, was very, very sick recently. Thankfully, she was home from college for the weekend, so her parents were able to get her to our local ER very late one evening. Her struggle to breathe was painful in many ways... painful for Chelle and painful for my sister and brother-in-law to watch. Michelle did not have pneumonia; a day later it was confirmed she had Whooping Cough.

Michelle received a medical checkup and the shots required before she began her first college semester, including a Tetanus shot. But for some reason, though I believe the Tdap shot was available back then, Chelle got only the T. (Michelle is in her final semester of her 4-year college program, pre-med.) Tdap is Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis. We all greatly wish she had received the "p" along with the "T", and what the hell, the "d" too for that matter. She has it all now.

Pertussis, aka Whooping Cough, is extremely contagious. Since it's now been discovered for young adults, and us old adults, that the vaccinations we received as children have worn off, we all need to be sure to get re-vaccinated with the Tdap shot. Unfortunately, many parents are recently deciding not to vaccinate their children. So between these 2 factors, Whooping Cough is on the rise in the U.S.


I say "unfortunately" because I am pro-vaccination. And yes, I know this is a big ol' can of worms (I listened to the Momversation on it recently). I'm totally Old School. Shoot 'em up, baby. Coz I agree with 2 statements on that Momversation: 1) Vaccinations are one of the best medical breakthroughs of our generation, of recent generations, and 2) parents who decide not to vaccinate their children are relying upon the rest of us who do... otherwise, we would be back in epidemic city Big Time on many diseases. Also, I have a niece, Sara, who teaches Special Education, and Sara is certified in MI, MR & Autism (MI is mental illness and MR is mental retardation - I think, though I'm not sure if that is still politically correct). I have such awe of Sara, choosing that profession; I am so proud of her. I talked with Sara not too long ago about the relationship that seems to be made between vaccinations and autism. She explained one thing I hadn't thought about, which was that years ago, children were not diagnosed as autistic where they would be diagnosed as such now... it is not so much a situation of an increase in autism as an increase in diagnoses of autism.

I am not saying there are no risks associated with vaccinations, because of course there are risks. But, I believe that vaccinations have allowed my children to be free of the danger of many diseases that plagued children of my father and mother's generation and the generations before them.

Right before Michelle became so sick she had to be taken to ER, I got to visit with her, and since we're such a huggy/kissy family, I was hugging and kissing her. Thankfully, last May when my physician checked me out from attic to basement, I got the Tdap shot. I have no recollection of that, so I had a scary bit of hours between learning I was exposed and learning I was vaccinated. Whew. I wasn't up to another round of any kind of antibiotics.

Also thankfully, Kevin just got a Tdap shot at work at his recent physical. Kev has to undergo a very thorough annual exam due to his new job at work, and the Tdap shot was not optional; get it or don't keep the job. Not that he wouldn't want it. And even more special for Kev was that his employer provided it, made the pain on his shoulder for the next 4 days that much more bearable... at least he didn't have to pay actual money for the shot. (Kev can be so cheap!) Joycie and Sammy also have had the Tdap shot within the past 2 years, so we are all good. But our Mike needs his Tdap shot, which he will get pronto. He needs the Tetanus anyway, because of the job he has now, where he works around older homes and buildings.

Remember: Renew your Tdap shot every ten years.

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