Musings of a Dinosaur

A Family Doctor in solo private practice; I may be going the way of the dinosaur, but I'm not dead yet.

Monday, February 18, 2008

I Already Said That

The very first novel I ever wrote sucked so badly it has been permanently relegated to a trunk under the bed. The main problem -- aside from more cliches than you could shake a stick at -- was that there wasn't really enough plot to sustain an entire novel. It was about the next flu pandemic, but I guess I just couldn't find enough of a story in it. Lots of people die; doctors are helpless; yeah? So?

As bad as it was overall, though, I did come up with some nifty lines, including this (talking about flu vaccine):
Each year a committee met at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and, using statistics so advanced they scarcely differed from guesswork, determined which three antigens were the most likely to be the major players in the next flu season. If they guessed wrong there was nothing they could do about it.
That was from my novel. Here's an excerpt from one of several news stories making the rounds:
...This winter is likely to be one of the few times that public health experts lose the bet they make each year when they devise the formula for the flu vaccine — eight months before the virus starts circulating in the fall. Experts must decide on the formulation then because of the time it takes to produce mass quantities of the vaccine.

"Most years, the prediction is very good," said Joseph Bresee, an influenza epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "In 16 of the last 19 years, we have had a well-matched vaccine."

But probably not this time.

I called it.


At Sun Feb 17, 11:04:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a crapshoot.. There are thousands of strains that have to be considered.. to keep the vaccine affordable and widely available, it has to be constructed using the 'most likely' strains.
It amazes me that the CDC can come up with a decision each year.. Most times it is very accurate and saves thousands of lives. But not each time. But if a new very nasty strain appears, I think the pharma cos will do what they can to be first in line with the version that helps. Good business. Also, those of us who WORK for big pharma also get sick, too!! Not good for business if employees are off sick.. and We'd like to be protected as well. We are all humans on this planet, as well, remember. :-)

At Mon Feb 18, 10:07:00 AM, Blogger Cheryll said...

I still do not believe in the flu vaccine enough to try it. I'm old enough to remember when it was invented. I remember that even tho pharma was trying to push it, the gov didn't buy into it.

Of course, that was when there was some chance that Powers That Be were educated and would/could listen to facts, reason and statistics based upon more than wishful thinking.

That was before the last several presidencies, removal of fact-based decision making/makers, and the major overt shift to gummint support of all big business -- even to the point of using panic to help push a product.

Sorry, been there, saw the product developed, have inside knowledge of the developers, don't believe it should be pushed on everybody.

May help some folks, just as Vioxx really helped some folks, but not good for all across the board, especially without physician diagnosis, prescription and oversight...

Go, Dino!

At Tue Feb 19, 08:33:00 AM, Blogger Cheryll said...

BTW, what do you plan for this novel? (I can't wander into the office and pick up a copy) Is is further practice, or does it have a public future?

Absolute congrats on reaching The End!


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