The Only Source of Knowledge…?

Albert Einstein posited, “the only source of knowledge is experience.” While many folk will agree with Einstein, some will counter: “I don’t need to set my hand on a stove burner to know it’s hot, nor do I have to sail around the world to know it’s not flat. I am educated! And I read.”

In essence, both are true. So why the conundrum about the COVID vaccines? Yes, throughout history folk have rebelled against both smallpox and DPT (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis), but over time, generations of people never questioned the value of those injections. Thus, I’ve concluded eventually the anti-COVID vax followers will die, and future generations will not think twice about another shot.

My very intuitive, youngest, creative kid and I had a conversation about the conundrum this week. My position: with a US literacy rate for those over 15 of 99%, people can read the vaccine can prevent serious illness and/or death. Her position: the doubters have never been really ill. They view the bedside confessions of those who wish they’d been vaccinated as fake news.

Hmm. I have to think about that. Her words. “Mom, they’ve never experienced what we did. They don’t know what it’s like to really be sick.”

Sadly, my kid was diagnosed with cancer at 23 years old. She spent several, week long stints both in ICU and on the cancer floor of the hospital armed with an on-demand pump for pain medicine, blood transfusions, and a breathing machine. She not only lost far too much weight, her hair, her energy, her job, but her youth. By the time she was in remission, she was not a carefree 25 year-old on her way to celebrate her quarter century birthday in Las Vegas. She was a introspective adult. And now, eight years later, the scars on her body are a constant reminder of her ordeal.

And as many of you know, I did my own dance with death 19 months ago. Me? Who had never done any time at the hospital except two overnights with the births of my two kids. Me? With a ruptured colon, which resulted in almost two weeks of intubation and ICU. Even after I taught myself to write again, I spent twelve days in rehab learning to walk again. (In fact, they only released me from rehab when I went ape-shit over trying to climb a simple stair step.) And perhaps it’s a good thing, I still have NO memory of three weeks of my life. Glimpses, but no concrete recollection. And fortunately, since my brain still works at my age, I even plotted my hospital bills on a calendar to see if it would improve my recall of events. Now 19 months after being ripped a new you-know-what, side version, I’m very skeptical of having “Hector” reversed. Honestly, I’m too scared to have “Hector” reversed. I don’t want a deju vu second surgery.

Maybe, my kid is right. Both of us were so relieved to receive the COVID vaccine. Not because of our college educations, but because of our experiences. I absolutely know there’s nothing I can say to convince an anti-vax person to do the deed. Your choice. Your science. Fine. Then don’t go to the hospital if you fall ill. Take your dewormer pill, drink your bleach, eat your fish food, or use your ultra-violet light. Just stay out of health care facilities saving those who want to live for their families. Thank you.

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