To H1N1 vaccinate or not to H1N1 vaccinate

One problem with working from home is the compulsion to turn on the news channels during the day for unintelligible background noise.  After watching the first cycle of headlines the news does provide a steady stream of white noise for the most part, but there are a few key phrases that will never fail to get my attention: Jude Law, desert recipe, and pregnant women being at the top of that list.  Lord help me if Jude Law ever starts making chocolate cupcakes for pregnant ladies.

Back in April when the swine flu frenzy started sizzling I dismissed it, thinking that since the chances a pig would sneeze on me were fairly slim I was probably okay. Now that I am drinking making decisions for two, the bacon bug has started to breakout of white noise mode to catch my ear, especially when they call in a photogenic expert to talk about swine flu, the vaccine, and us knocked-up women folk.

About two weeks after I found out baby was coming I started getting all kinds of mixed messages: from ‘Deli meat is the fruit of the devil,’ and my doctor saying ‘No, deli meat is fine and so is sushi.’ To, ‘Here drink this awesome pregnancy tea with raspberry leaves,’ and the internet yelling ‘ZOMG, if you drink that it means you hate your baby!’ And now, ‘You have to get the swine flu shot or you are already the worst.mother.ever,’ to ‘The swine flu vaccine will cause a third arm to grow out of your baby’s forehead, and you will already be the worst.mother.ever.’ And all of the conversations, on both sides, ended with an asterisks or a quickly whispered, “But always ask your doctor.”

Can I just say, ya’ll are killing me with the mixed bag of advice that has to be caveated with ask your doctor? Please remember I can’t treat this baby anxiety with a bottle of Shiraz right now…

Blame it on the same pregnancy hormones that caused me to unexpectedly cry when denied M&M’s at 11pm (to which I apologized even through my tears knowing how insane that was) or the fear, but yesterday the daily lunch phone call between me and The Mister started with a tear-filled monologue about how I signed up to get the themerisol-free (i.e. approved for pregnant ladies) H1N1 shot because “THEY” have finally scared me into it, but how I am still worried because my gut instinct is saying that getting all shot up with the pig flu juice is a gamble, too.

It really feel like this is a lose-lose situation. Besides that fact that I hate shots and reacted like a 3-year-old when I got my seasonal flu shot this year, this shot in particular, admittedly, was rushed to market. Back in September people were saying that this still hasn’t been studied on pregnant women, but I am getting messages like this all up in my Twitter stream from the March of Dimes, and of course Dr. Nice-Eyes is trying to hypnotize me into getting one when he goes on the news channel.

When I put the question out on Twitter and Facebook this morning folks like Suzanne Tucker, aka Zen Mommy, sent me a lot of links that are pretty much aligned with that “stay away” gut feeling. A few gals that I have known since I thought listening to a Nirvana CD on repeat was an appropriate way to spend a Friday night also responded to the question. And though they allowed me to do that I still trust them, and they pretty much said the same thing – just wash your damn hands, take your vitamins and you’ll be better off.

On the other end of the swine flu spectrum, when I called my doctor and asked his opinion the nurse without hesitation told me to get the vaccine, but when I asked if all of the people in her office were getting it she stammered to answer but squeaked out a yes. I also had a friend link me to an article on WebMD, a site that tends to occasionally convince me one of my limbs is in danger of falling off, that explained the very real, increased mortality rates for pregnant women who contract the flu. In other words – it didn’t really clear much up.

So, I did what any very confused and hormonal mom-to-be does: I heated up some chocolate chip cookies and turned on “I Am Legend.” Then I made a decision. I decided to go with my gut on this one.

Before that little stick announced Baby Meiners’ pending arrival I was having a hard time finishing those vodka drinks and wine, and my chain smoking had naturally started to snuff itself out. When I told a friend I was pregnant he first expressed a fear for the future of the vodka and wine industries, and then he reasoned that the unexplained decrease in my hearty vice appetite was probably my mother’s instinct kicking in.

Maybe my instinct to stay as far away from that vaccine as possible is another example of that? Maybe my instincts are trying to keep me from being a completely horrible and sucky parent, or maybe this is the prenatal equivalent of forgetting to feed your kid for a few days. Only time will tell, but in the mean time I may just go on the advice to invest in respiratory masks, add to that some military jackets and then try to play it off as an eccentricity.

Are You Saying My Pork Steak is Sick?!

Are they trying to take away my bits, strips, steaks and sammiches? I am so not a granola/vegg head, and will contend there isn’t much that slapping a fat old slice of pork on can’t do for a meal – be it if you are slapping it on a plate, salad or bread. There was a dark time, long ago when I was a vegetarian; I have now seen the error in my ways and have come around to professing that bacon, much like salt, just makes everything taste better. Now you’re saying my pork steak might have the flu? Well, not exactly. The Kansas City Business Journal is reporting

The flu that originated in Mexico is a genetic mixture of viruses seen in pigs, birds and people, according to the World Health Organization. It usually is transmitted through the respiratory tract in coughs and sneezes and not from contact with pigs or eating pork. 

While the state of Missouri is going into full “freak-the-crap-out” mode, stockpiling all the accoutrements to fight the good fight against the sickly oinkers, really the way to spread it is to make sure a pig doesn’t sneeze or cough on you? Really? I am pretty sure I can handle that. While I may have a cowboy hat in the nether-regions of my closet from back when Madonna made those infernal things popular to wear, I am fairly certain that even living in the state of Missouri I can avoid sneezing pigs.  This, however, begs the question of why it is hitting New York City so heavily. I had no idea that Manhattan had such a large mess of pigs. Damn, I really need to make it up there to visit sometime… 

No decent pandemic comes without fear mongering, but please don’t abandon your pork steaks just yet St. Louis. If you know what’s good for you just stay away from sneezing pigs… and my bacon.