Only thing we can’t catch is a break

By Joe Rector

How’s it going? Are you at wit’s end? Have you had enough family time? Is teaching your children going well? I know the answer to most of these questions but thought I’d spark emotions just a bit.

I saw an article the other day that talked about us Baby Boomers. It said that we started out our lives with the fear of polio and the crippling effects that came with it. Now that we’re in the later years, we’re the “at-risk” group most likely to die from Covid-19. Some might whine that it seems our generation just can’t catch a break. The truth is that we old people have always faced some kind of disease that could take us out rather quickly.

Although the chicken pox wasn’t so dangerous, it proved to be an extremely miserable sickness for children. A fever accompanied a breakout of sores that looked terrible. Parents tried to soothe little ones with oatmeal baths, creams, and even fans. In some instances, the sores disappeared but left scars that were constant reminder of the disease.

All of us Baby Boomers received a smallpox vaccination. Some nurse came in and jabbed a needle in the upper arm several times. The place scabbed over and eventually healed. Look at many old folks’ arms, and you’ll see a scar from that vaccination. Some were twisted circles while others looked more like craters. No one questioned receiving the prevention; children who came to school without one were lined up and given the vaccinations so that they could stay in school.

Mumps hit us as well. Throats were sore, and necks and jaws were swollen. The whole body ached as a fever spiked. Staying in bed was about the only thing to do. Normally active children just lay around feeling lousy until the virus ran its course. Adults who contracted the disease were even more at risk, some dying from severe cases.

Measles sailed through children like wildfire back in our younger years.  The three-day measles wasn’t such a bad thing. A rash appeared but was mild and lasted only a short time. The hard measles laid children low. Fever, eye redness, and fatigue were symptoms. However, pneumonia and encephalitis also could hit. The problem was that most people didn’t know they had the virus until the rash appeared.

Thanks to science, the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine became available, and it wiped out the disease for the most part, at least until anti-vaxxers asserted their rights to not immunize their children. The spread of measles is now real again. Shouldn’t anti-vaxxers’ rights not to immunize their children end when they infringe upon others’ rights to protect their children?

So, here we are with a coronavirus sweeping through the country. We old people are seriously at risk, but so are all age groups. Over a million cases with more than 80,000 deaths have been reported. Folks are itching to return to normal, but that just can’t happen now. If it does, the second wave of the virus will hit, and all of us will be locked down again.

We Baby Boomers have a responsibility once again to lead the way. We must practice “social distancing” and the use of masks and gloves when we must go out. We’ve been through the virus wars all our lives; let’s make sure we do the right things so that younger folks follow and learn well.

 

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