Needle & the Damage Done …

Willow went for her routine health exam on Thursday and except for needing to lose a bit of weight, she passed easily.

The result was that she was given three immunizations, and was feeling pretty ill by Thursday evening. She was sleeping constantly, plus eating and drinking poorly. Not a good day.

For me, it is all so reminiscent of taking my own small children in for their shots decades ago. You take kids to the doctor who are uneasy in their minds because any kid over two years of age knows that the doctor’s office is the House of Needles.

After the patting and the probing and the putting of metallic tools on their bodies, and just when they start to have hope that they are done, that they’ve dodged a bullet, in comes the previously non-threatening nurse with a trayful of trouble.

Sometimes my kids felt ill afterward, just like Willow is going through right now. In each case I had taken a person or pet in for “their own good,” and rolled those dice for them. Because I knew the odds. I knew in depth about the diseases they were being protected against. I also knew the possible side effects of the shots themselves, which ranged from the trivial to the very serious. The good always far outweighed the bad, as long as you were not that unlucky one in a million who experienced the rare serious side effect.

So I empathize with my small friend, and hope that tomorrow is a better day.


BTW, on that same Thursday I went to the City Market pharmacy for my own influenza vaccination. A little late in the season, perhaps, but I carry a hiking stick to point at anyone approaching me who has a bleary eye and a bad cough. In this way I will hope to keep the disease at bay until the immunization has time to work its magic.

The pharmacy tech came up to me and demanded to know how old I was, because their supplies were at low ebb, and he wasn’t sure I was the right age for the products they had on hand.

In other words, here I was at eighty, and being carded.

He matched me to their materials, I got my shot, and Friday morning am nursing nothing worse than a sore arm and a touch of fever.



Fighting the Good Fight Department
Stop Freaking Out About the Climate by Emma Marris


Robin’s first small-group discussion of Flannery O’Connor’s stories on Thursday evening was delightful. Last night’s story was “Good Country People,” which I found both hilarious and macabre. The great thing about the discussion is that we never came to a consensus about anything in the tale except that we couldn’t come to a consensus.

Except for one Buddhist, the members of the group were all from Robin’s church, including the pastor and his wife. One of the ladies had been an English teacher when she was younger, and kept repeating how repellent the story was to her. Disgusting, repugnant, yechhhh! Are they all like this? the lady said. But by her own admission she will be at the next one, so there must be something she is drawn to.

Here’s a photo of O’Connor. She described herself once as having a receding chin and don’t mess with me sort of eyes.

The eyes for certain … a steely gaze indeed. There is a quote of hers that fits this pic:

“The writer should never be ashamed of staring. There is nothing that does not require his attention.”



The song “Love, Lay Me Blind,” over there in the Jukebox, is so affecting. I can’t recall when I first ran across this piece of music and purchased it from iTunes, but whenever I play it a sense of sadness comes over me. Somehow it recalls a loss, but there is no memory attached, just a feeling. Perhaps it’s one of those archetypal memory things tucked away in my DNA somewhere.

This lovely video for the music tells its own story, which is also of a haunting.


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