Thinking of Johnny

Lots of opinion and misinformation, angst and anger around the issue of vaccination. It’s not getting better as proof of vaccinations are required in many situations and those who refuse to comply dig in for what many describe as personal reasons. The line we hear from the medical community that resonates with me is that vaccines protect the disease from spreading to the vulnerable.

No one could ever determine how I contracted tuberculosis when I was six. No one else in my family was ill, I had barely started school and everyone there was ok but there was an outbreak of TB in the community at that time and it landed on me. The dreaded community spread.

I was really sick and I was in hospital for a year. We were tied in our beds and I was not allowed up at all for six months. Children died and we knew it despite being told by nurses that “Johnny went home in the night”. Nurses told us to eat everything on our trays or risk getting sicker and ending up like Johnny. Blood was drawn almost weekly and I had so many chest x-rays I’m surprised I don’t glow in the dark.

I’m lucky. I survived. But I can still see Johnny’s face. He had to lay flat because the TB had destroyed his spine so his bed was right on the corridor so he could see the comings and goings. He was always smiling. He died when he was 8.

I did get vaccinated to protect myself but I’ve got to tell you I was thinking of Johnny too.