Skip to main content

Flu (shot) season is here. A cautionary tale.

I was having coffee this morning and looking through my favorite LinkedIn group feeds. Saw an interesting story that linked through to the New York Daily News, which held a quite common promotional message...get your flu shot. The author is known as the "Running Doc" and he has impressive credentials:

Lewis G. Maharam, MD, FACSM is one of the world’s most extensively credentialed and well-known sports health experts. Better known as Running Doc™, Maharam is author of Running Doc’s Guide to Healthy Running and past medical director of the NYC Marathon and Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon series.

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/more-sports/running-doc-weighs-runners-flu-shots-article-1.2401938

Running Doc promotes flu shots and shares several indicators as to why it's a worthy investment to get one. But, a ways into the "don't do it" disclaimers, Running Doc states,

"- People who developed Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) within six weeks of getting an influenza vaccine."

I truly wish this alert for Guillain-Barre was somewhat more prominent. It's not just about those who had GBS, it's about those who might be at risk. Yes, it's 1 in 100,000...but I was one of the victims.

Like most good citizens, I went to a local flu shot event and had my injection. Within several days, my vision was blurred and my body ached. Then, my limbs stopped working. One spinal tap later we knew that I had contracted GBS. This is a strange malady in that no one knows what triggers it, but it's a terrible auto-immune dysfunction. Your body goes a bit nuts and chews all the myelin sheathes off one's nerves. In a practical sense, it's a total short circuiting of the body.

I was a complete...full paralysis and loss of breathing. Months to recover. It was a $175,000 event in 1993; I would suggest it's a $500,000 event today. How will your health care insurance play out on that? I needed 13 plasmapheresis (blood change) treatments, they are now about $25,000 each. I continue to read GBS patient threads; it has been reported some insurance policies will not cover the treatments.

This is a serious matter. Flu shots can be advantageous for many, but a death sentence for a few. I'm not opposed to the those who choose flu shots, but we should also understand the risk.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Break(down)

You have to look closely (click and enlarge photo if needed), but when you do, check out the 5th metacarpal (bone furthest from thumb).

The diagonal break is symbolic of what happens when your mountain bike handlebars snap around 360 degrees, and those bars catch your hand against the bike frame during the rotation.

Well there you have it. I got up after my ride over the bars and knew something was wrong, but didn't want to admit it. Rode about three miles back to the car, then went a week with some ice and heat. Thought it was good, until I smacked the same bone on the bars during a road ride the following weekend.

Time to stop the charades and get to urgent care.

For the past three weeks, I have been in a formed splint that kept the pinkie and ring fingers immobilized in a hooked formation. Don't want those tendons to move across the bone. As the doc stated, it's a "forgiving" break, but nonetheless you don't want to give the bone any excuse to shift; that…

Nothing to see here, folks

It's been a long time since I've been active on my blog. To be honest, I got tired of putting in the work, creating content, with so little feedback or response. Time to divert to other things...such as my new fiction book, coming out soon. Part horror story, part steamy romance. You'll definitely want a copy.

There's another reason I haven't been posting. My endurance spirit is broken.

Some medical issues, some sadness is loss of speed. I don't have much range left in my pulse rate and I have put on a blob of weight.

I "ran" my 10 mile loop this morning...in 2:18. Is that ugly, or what? An overall fatigue follows the run. I remember a few years ago, I'd bang it out in straight 9's for a 1:30 - and at that time had a long section of medium effort trail included, too.

It's the new normal. It's age appropriate. I'll be 59 in two weeks. Let's get real.

Rode my mountain bike Sunday after church. Don't know what I hit but I went…

Fitness setback? Use the healing power of plants

Maybe you're like me. You had achieved a fitness and nutrition peak, but then slid off the mountain. Hey, most of us aren't professional athletes and we aren't paid to be ripped and shredded, right? Life got in the way. I produced my dossier for tenure, then finished several academic publications. And, there is always teaching and a responsilbity to the student experience. I'm not proud of the outcome, but that's how it works for me. When I wrote "Mind Over Diet" the key premise was self-negotiation. You must create your own scenarios that drive action. It's time to start over. My advice is to build your comeback with food, not exercise. Everyone wants to run to the gym and crank the big workouts...how long does that usually last? I'd suggest the food is the ultimate change agent. Eat as close to "alive" as possible; take the processing and chemicals out. Fresh food will bring life back into your body. That's the foundation. Here…