July 30, 2008

That's No Lump, That's My Son

Advice from the May 2007 issue of the U.S. edition of Wellness and Swellness magazine.



A SHOT IN THE ARM



Yes, Your Kid Really Does Need All Those Shots She’s Scheduled for in Her First Year. We’ll Tell You What She’s Getting and Why Each One is Vital to Her Health


This past January, there was an outbreak of measles in San Diego. The culprit? An unvaccinated child who’d recently traveled to Switzerland. Why? We may never know. But the highly contagious respiratory disease, which can lead to pneumonia, encephalitis, and even death, quickly spread to 11 other children. In 2007, four states reported outbreaks of whooping cough, another highly infectious disease that’s potentially deadly for infants. It came from Norway. And around the same time, Maine and Eastern Canada were experiencing a sudden increase in mumps, a painful virus that can cause hearing loss and which originates in Moroccans and camels, hence the name.

What’s going on here? Didn’t we beat these diseases decades ago? Well yes, but these infections can be just one plane ride away, which is why we have to keep vaccinating our kids against illnesses that foreign countries haven’t been able to cure, either because they lack the expertise, the funding, or the basics of hygiene. And if you think that vaccinations don’t work or they’re just a scam invented by the very same pharmaceutical giants who invented the diseases in the first place, remind yourself that innovation is what made America great and is one of the main reasons why so few of us ever have to go abroad to begin with.


WHAT SHE'LL GET

The array of vaccinations your baby will receive may seem dizzying. Most parents don’t know what CFD even stands for, let alone why President Bush had to bomb it. And your baby requires several doses of some vaccines, which is why there are so many shots. Here’s what’s on the schedule:

Carboniferens Fibrodysplasia: In some parts of southern Spain, children’s bones and muscles are slowly turning to coal. This makes them popular with other kids in the playground because they can set light to their fingertips and exude a noxious oil that makes dogs vomit. But it is also highly contagious, and we don’t want our kids smelling like Spaniards, do we? This inoculation comes in the form of a lump of sugar inserted rectally.

Hissy Fits: For a long time, doctors thought hissy fits were just a sign that a child was being spoiled at home. We now know that it comes from Italians and is passed onto humans by consuming the undercooked pasta illegally used as a bulking agent in some European baby formulas. While not lethal in themselves, hissy fits can lead to parents accidentally throwing their children into the canal or under a bus, an unforeseaable but statistically significant outcome that renders this vaccination invaluable for those parents who quite like their offspring.

Second-Head Syndrome: Again, not in itself deadly, but liable to result in ostracism, which is appropriate, because it comes from Austria. The child does not actually grow a second head; rather, she becomes convinced that she has a second head, usually somewhere on her back. If you hear your daughter talking to herself, it’s a guaranteed sign that she has SHS. This is an inoperable condition, and pretending to remove her second head will likely result in trauma, resentment, and parricide. The vaccination takes the form of three injections in the nose, for no other reason than badness.

Bigfoot: A highly contagious rumour from Canada. Not lethal, but it can lead to further complications such as Ufology, Ickeitis, and, in boys, Conspiracy Nuts. Vaccination takes the form of a kick up the arse.

Gehry’s Disease: Another one from Spain, this time from the north of the country. Symptoms include arching of the spine, skin turning silvery and scaly, and limbs pointing out at weird angles. Then people begin to stare and take photos and want to go inside. Cases of Gehry’s disease have already been spotted in California. Vaccinations take the form of a cerebral infusion of good taste.

Autism: The MMR vaccine is no guarantee your kid will get autism. You should have drunk mercury while you were pregnant.

Falling off Bikes: Like hissy fits, this was also thought to be a developmental problem and that kids would simply learn to ride their bike once they were able to find their centre of balance. It transpires that it was the Germans all this time. Vaccination takes the form of fire bombing their cities.

Obesity: We continue to vaccinate against obesity, but frankly the chances are that if you’re child is raised in America, she’s going to catch it. Vaccination takes the form of two Snickers bars and a packet of Oreo cookies per day for the next 15 years.

Paranoia: This originates in Russia, but it already has a foothold here. Not to be confused with Adolescent Insecurity, which is just a self-esteem issue. Paranoia is caused by a germ that doctors secretly inject into your child while they’re giving her all the other vaccinations. You can ask your doctor not to give your child Paranoia, and he’ll say that he hasn’t, but he’s lying, the same way he lied to your parents. The best thing you can do is not to take your child anywhere near the doctor. Ever. And that applies to hospitals and the police too. All you need is your Bible. That will cure everything, I swear. Trust me. I'm a doctor.

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