Not Science

I know that anecdotes are not science. Just because you know two people who know two other people who have had something happen to them doesn’t mean it is science.   When the anecdotes don’t agree with your own world view it’s pretty easy to refute them.  But when it happens to you, it’s a little harder.

For many years I didn’t get a flu shot because they were made with thimerosal as a preservative and I’m sensitive to that. Then about 8 years ago, they started making the shots without the preservative so I signed up at work and got the shot.  A month later I was as sick as a dog; since I’d had the flu shot I was sure I had food poisoning and that was when I got a lesson in flu coverage by my doctor.  The flu shot is an educated guess about what will be coming around each flu season; sometimes they work, sometimes they miss the mark.  But the memory of being that sick made me hesitant to get a flu shot again.

Fast forward to last spring when I had pneumonia (ick). My doctor told me that the flu shot would be a helpful preventative against pneumonia so I dutifully got the shot this year.

You know where this is going, right? As I sat in Urgent Care yesterday with chills so bad I could hardly drive and a temperature over 103, the doctor (of course) asked me if I had gotten a flu shot this year.  I said “yes, and a lot of good it’s done me”.  She repeated to me that every now and then the current flu serum for the year really doesn’t help that year’s flu strain at all.  This is one of those years.  And apparently 8 years ago was one of those years as well.

I understand that this is a complete coincidence that both years I got the flu shot were the only two years that I’ve gotten the flu in the last couple of decades. My brain knows that getting the flu shot didn’t really give me the flu…. but just the same, my hearts thinks it’s going to be really hard for me to go get that shot next year!

Has your brain ever disagreed with your heart?



39 thoughts on “Not Science”

  1. Oh my, yes it has. Sometimes I should have listened to my brain. Sometimes I should have listened to my heart. Disaster can ensue in either instance.

    I did not get a flu shot. Husband did. I have been sick for two weeks. He is still sick, too. When I got sick I told myself I would get a flu shot next year. Now I am not so sure. Baby Boomers were hit hard this year. I wonder why.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. That reminds me; a few years ago I was at the clinic for one of my various foot issues.
          The intern came in first and he asked to see the insoles I was wearing. I showed him and put them back in my shoes. The primary doc came in and asked to see the insoles as well. I’ve known this guy a while and he’s pretty cool. So I pulled them out and showed him. With a slight grin he said “You know you got them in the wrong shoes,right?” I was rather indignant. “I DO NOT!” I said. I’ve been wearing inserts long enough I outta know if I’ve got them on the wrong foot!
          Further inspection showed they were mixed up. I tried to explain maybe when I had just put them back in, that was when I mixed them up.
          But no… marks on the bottom showed they probably were on the wrong foot the whole time.
          And he laughed harder when I said to him. “well, think how good they’re going to feel when I get them on the right feet then.”

          Liked by 3 people

        2. Husband just got new inserts in his shoes on Friday. His left leg is notably shorter than his right leg, and his feet are terribly flat. He fells better already.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, sorry you’re feeling punk, VS and Renee. There’s a very good article on the vaccine debate in the January/February issue of Well Being Magazine. I ordered it online.

    Once, my brain tried to talk me out of moving clear across country to join a crazy guy I barely knew. Maybe if Brain had been able to come up with an excellent alternative… but nope, I went. In retrospect I see that I had to go there to get to here, but Brain couldn’t see that…

    Brain also wondered if it was a good idea to move from S. Mpls to a farm in the Winona area with a three-month-old child in 1981, but move we did, and have never regretted that one, either.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. both my brain and my heart should be left out of the equation completely
    when i was a kid i would walk through the woods and fields around newly suburbanized bloomington. the riverbanks the farmers fields the beautiful areas where your bike took you to the edge then you would lay them down and go wade into the magic outdoor wonderlands that lay before you
    we had a deal where when one gout would say where should we go? and the other guy would say i don’t know where do you want to go…. instead of going back and forth we would spit in the palm of the hand and the smack the gob of spit with the thumb of the other hand making it fly out in a direction determined by the angle of the blow. that was the direction we went… made for wonderful adventures determined by the fate of the spit direction

    we don’t need no stinking brain or heart… we got spit

    Liked by 5 people

  4. I had a yearly flu shot while working in pediatrics in the hospital (requirement) and have had one nearly every year since – a total of over 20 years. In all that time, I had the flu twice. Maybe it’s my constitution or maybe I’m just lucky.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Interesting. You have consistent flu shots and had flu twice in the last 20 years. I’ve had only two flu shots and had the flu twice in the last 20 years. Not sure if there’s something we can glean from that or not?


      1. Perhaps due to failing memory, but I can’t remember when I last had the flu. Most years I’ve dutifully complied with my docctor’s recommendation to get the shot, although I can think of two years when I didn’t. Of course, now that I’m retired, I have a lot more control over what exposure I have to other people, and I think that can help limit the risk.

        There’s no question that some vaccines are a lot more effective than others. A lot of the childhood diseases that were common when I was growing up, have virtually been eradicated due to vaccines. I was both surprised and dismayed when I had the shingles shot a few years ago to discover it is only 51% effective, but since I did have chickenpox when I was a kid, and shingles reportedly are very painful, I still opted to have it. Sure hope it works; so far so good.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. My brain has always said it takes 3 to make it fact and not coincidence. VS, in the name of science, try this all again next year and that will either confirm or deny. I feel it in my heart!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Today. I came upon some leftover Halloween candy, including some Butterfingers. Brain said to leave them alone; heart said to eat just one Butterfinger. The heart won.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Well, the night is not over yet, Linda. I could have said “heart said to eat all the Butterfingers and I’ve started by eating one so far.” My brain is trying to win the battle over the next one (and the next, and the next…)

        Liked by 2 people

  7. My brain tends to believe in statistics and probabilities and random chance. My heart tends to believe in justice and reason and order. The two are always at odds with each other.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. I used to work with a fascinating guy who was a famous angler. He asked some employees to run an experiment on a certain technique. When they came back with their results, he shrugged and said, “No, that’s not right. Keep running the experiment until we get the results we want.” I’ve always thought his use of science was pretty typical, only he was more candid about how we usually work with science.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I hit what I like to refer to as a “funk” about 18 years ago.
    I won’t go into the details, but it was exactly the brain vs the heart.
    My heart knew it was all ok and I was acting irrational.
    Yet my brain was a train-wreck.
    Lasted about 3-4 months. January – mid April. Even milking cows and chores, it’s all so repetitive that my brain had HOURS to dwell on things. I saw a therapist a couple times.
    I think what got me out of it was spring and fieldwork. I was busy and didn’t have time to dwell on things.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. I’m in a pensive mood this evening. This afternoon I attended the memorial service of an old beau. Ingvar was a Swede, a mechanical engineer and a chiropractor, two years younger than me. We had had no contact in roughly thirty-five years. At the service I visited with several old friends I hadn’t seen since he and I split, roughly forty years ago. We were together for two years.

    Today also happened to be the 68th birthday of my friend, Ken, who has FTD. His wife, Eva, (who is also a Swede and who I met through Ingvar) attended the memorial service with me. Earlier in the day she attempted to visit Ken at the memory care unit where he lives. She didn’t go in as there was a warning sign posted on the unit where he is that they were in the midst of a flu outbreak. She going off to Montreal on Tuesday to see her middle daughter and first grandchild who was born a week ago, so she could ill afford to expose herself to the flu. What a confluence of events: birth and death, joy and grief.

    There’s such a profound sense of sadness that Ken will never recognize the birth of his first grandchild, that he has lost all comprehension of who anyone is in relation to him. Eva, as stoic a Swede as I know, was in tears, and I could find no words to console her.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’ve never gotten a flu shot; they tend to weaken the body’s natural defences; if I’m going to get sick, I say let the body do its job, and help it with medications only if necessary…


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