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Mixed subjects

Started: 2010-02-03 21:36:53

Submitted: 2010-02-03 23:14:55

Visibility: World-readable

On Monday, I visited a travel medicine clinic to get the immunizations and other drugs I need to visit India. (Technically I don't need anything to visit India, aside from yellow fever if I happen to have come from a region where yellow fever is endemic, but waltzing into a developing country without any hardware upgrades is asking for trouble. Besides, I needed to prove to Calvin that I believe in immunizations for daddy too.) I ended up with five shots: boosters for polio and tetanus (supplementing my childhood immunizations) and new immunizations for Neisseria meningitidis (meningitis), hepatitis A and B, and H1N1. (Picking up an H1N1 vaccine has been on my list since the vaccine was announced, but once it became widely available I never quite got around to picking it up.) While it's unlikely I'd come across polio or hepatitis A at home, tetanus and H1N1 are endemic worldwide.

I still need to pick up my typhoid fever immunization pills and anti-malarial drugs, and get two more hepatitis A and B shots this month. (I originally scheduled the return visit next Monday, before I realized I'll be in San Diego for a brief two-day visit to the Mothership.) I still feel my tetanus shot two days later; I'm not optimistic that I'll be able to sleep on my left side tonight.

(In other vaccine-related news, yesterday The Lancet retracted a 1998 study linking the childhood MMR vaccine to autism due to a conflict of interest, lack of ethical approval, and misrepresentation. There's very little commentary I can add except to say that: (1) I'm an engineer, not a doctor or a celebrity; (2) in most if not all cases, I believe the available evidence unequivocally shows that the risk of contracting terrible diseases far outweighs the uncertain side effects; and (3) Calvin (and I) will be getting a full set of immunizations, even if I'm occasionally eight years late on my own tetanus booster. Please don't get me started on what I think about parents who choose not to vaccinate their children.)

Calvin topples the living room lamp
Calvin topples the living room lamp

As Calvin became more mobile, he discovered the floor lamp in the living room and decided it would be a great post to use to pull himself up. Lacking a better way to illuminate the living room, and the time necessary to find an alternate lighting scheme, we left the lamp in place but tucked part of the base under the new entertainment cabinet, providing a bit of protection against Calvin pulling it down. At least, we thought it was keeping the lamp from falling over until Calvin pulled on the lamp enough to cause the base to crack. The lamp listed ominously for several days (barely propped up with the pack-and-play in the living room) until Saturday, when I pulled the lamp out to take a look and the base disintegrated. It looked like the base was built from an unreinforced concrete counterweight. I pulled a broken lamp out of the garage and managed to bolt its fully-functioning base onto the bottom of my otherwise-functioning lamp, then installed the lamp behind the couch where Calvin can't get to it. In general it works pretty well, but it doesn't provide quite enough light for our weekly videoconferences with Calvin's grandmothers.

On Sunday morning, Kiesa went to a baby shower, leaving me with Calvin. I had been thinking of trying to take Calvin on another hike (even though my last four attempts were less than spectacular), so as soon as Calvin woke up from his morning nap I strapped him into his carseat and headed to Rabbit Mountain. He was pretty happy at first but started fussing before I made it halfway to the Little Thompson Overlook. I pulled him out of the carrier, let him wiggle for a bit, and feed him a few cheerios (which he chewed and spat out; he did better with cheerios before he figured out he could push them out of his mouth after chewing on them) before putting him back in the carrier and pressing onward. This may not have been the right move; he started bawling by the time I'd covered half of the remaining distance. I thought my best option was to press on and try to feed him on the bench at the overlook. This proved far easier said than done; he drank only a few ounces of formula and continued bawling for fifteen minutes until a group of hikers with a dog arrived. Calvin was fascinated by the dog, distracting him from his suffering. (I quipped that Calvin wasn't enjoying hiking as much as I'd hoped, and the older woman in the group (whom I took to be the mother of the younger adult woman in the group) responded, "Give him twenty years.")

I wrapped Calvin in a blanket in hopes of providing a bit more protection against the cold and headed back to the trailhead. He fussed for a bit, then cheered up when I started bouncing him up and down, then fussed a bit more, and seemed to sleep for ten or fifteen minutes as I tried to hold him steady. He started fussing again when I put him back in his carseat but quieted down when I turned on the engine to head back home. (He was happy enough that I took a detour to wash Kiesa's car; he seemed sufficiently amused by the spectacle of being inside a car while it was being washed.)

Kiesa took Calvin for the rest of the afternoon, giving me the opportunity to finish the last half of the book club book, The Windup Girl. Overall I enjoyed the book, but I couldn't help but wonder if genetically-engineered megadonts would really be a better source of power than biofuels.