My dear ol’ pappy, who is a man known for being full of one-liners and wisdom… or something, would always tell us: “Believe half of what you see and none of what you hear.”
At the risk of bringing up a polarizing subject, it’s flu shot season.
I can search online and find some very convincing articles on how bad flu shots are for you. I have read a list of ingredients in the shot that I don’t necessarily want in my body. I have also read the flu shot doesn’t even cover most strands of the flu.
I believe both those claims.
I can immediately turn around and find just as many, and as convincing, articles on how good the flu shot is for you.
I believe the claims in those articles, as well.
I have friends who swear by the shot. I have friends who swear by not getting the shot. They are all just as adamant as the next as to why their particular opinion is the correct one. They have, so far, all survived every flu season they have encountered.
I don’t get the shot. I got it one time many years ago, and felt terrible for the few days that followed. So I just don’t get it. My wife has to get a flu shot and a pneumonia shot every year. That’s by order of her pulmonary specialist. She has lung issues that make both shots necessary.
The twist to this story is as follows, I got the flu last year. I came down with it on Christmas morning. I had always assumed I had had the flu a time or two in my life. It turns out, what I must have had was a fever and a cough during flu season.
It is only after you have had the flu that you can determine you have never had the flu before. I did not know pain like that existed. It hurt me to lay perfectly still. And I laid as perfectly still as possible for about 36 hours if I remember correctly.
I’m not exaggerating this for “man cold” purposes. I am as guilty as every other man on the planet. I will milk a runny nose for all it’s worth. But this flu I am talking about was legit. It hurt. Every muscle, bone and joint in my body- for days.
I never want to feel that pain again. It was agonizing. But does the flu shot really only cover a few of the many strands of flu viruses in any given year? If so, I’ll take my chances. I made it 42 years and have only came down with one flu.
Now the people who are at high risk age groups, I understand. The really old or the really young, it might be worth it for them. I don’t know.
We live in an age where there is, literally, a world full of knowledge at our fingertips, and I never know what to believe, no matter how credible the source would appear.
Believe half of what you see, none of what you hear... or only what fits your already-formed opinion of what you read.
Toby Nix is a local writer, guitarist and deputy sheriff. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org