There they go again, federal experts changing their minds on more health guidelines. Masks, no masks, two weeks of lock-down, well, no, maybe two months, yada yada yada. How can anyone keep up, especially if they're old and feeble like our current president?
This time the new federal advice is about aspirin, the world's most widely-used drug that made Bayer a household name after its invention in 1897. You know how, based on a 2016 recommendation, you should be taking one low-dose aspirin tablet a day to prevent heart disease, the nation's and even the world's top killer? Estimates say around 30 million Americans pop one of them daily, me included.
Well, forget it. A government-backed advisory board just opened public comment on a proposed advice change to say that we shouldn't be doing what we were told we should be doing for almost the last decade.
Remember they changed the food pyramid earlier this century from what we'd been told was best to eat from way back in the middle of the last century? That's when federal experts told some of us of a young age the best foods to eat for a long, happy, and healthy life. Michelle Obama even changed school lunches because hers were better.
So, maybe we followed some of that advice because, hey, it was the federal government offering guidelines and how could those folks be wrong or untruthful? That was unthinkable.
A lot has happened since those days when we trusted government, most recently with this contagious Chinese COVID business that should have been snuffed out after that understandable two-week lock-down began 19 months ago. That was the emergency brake that didn't snuff out anything except the country's entire economy and any hope of Donald Trump's reelection.
This guy Anthony Fauci hasn't been seen at his desk as Joe Biden's chief medical adviser for months because he's appearing on every conceivable media outlet most days offering often conflicting advice on what everyone should be doing. Or not doing.
Fauci remains undecided on what families can do come the holidays. I do not.
Dr. Fauci (the name means “sickle maker” back in Sicily) has also been having serial run-ins with Sen. Rand Paul, who's also an M.D., about his connections to China and the Wuhan lab where this minute COVID critter was hatched.
I'm not the most obedient person. Nor, like many Americans, am I a blind rebel, though the current ignorant smugness of Biden and his crowd is pretty tempting. I have generally followed government advice for most of my life starting with “Duck and Cover.” I did register for the draft. I do pay taxes.
As a child, I had no choice about immunizations. Got the smallpox inoculations to travel abroad. I got the new polio vaccine because my parents gave me no choice and I didn't know what it was anyway.
As a foreign correspondent, I got shots for any disease within a million miles of anywhere I was likely to go — yellow fever, whooping cough, which I got anyway. Monthly gamma globulin shots were overall immunity boosters. I rolled up my sleeve and the nurse said, “Take your pants down,” because they go in the ass.
Amoebic dysentery I knew too intimately from a gulped glass of water on a hot day in rural Spain. In Vietnam, I grew so thirsty I drank a roadside vendor's Coke from the sandwich bag he poured it in. I did become instantly vigilant about cholera and its shots after the doctor described it as “terminal diarrhea.”
All this even though I was not personally in possession of documentation proving any shot's efficacy. I didn't wear a bike helmet either in my childhood. And yet here I am years past the average lifespan for people born during World War II. Like Joe Biden.
I had a friend who said I shouldn't get a flu shot because immediately after getting one, she threw up in her car. Too bad. But I get every model year's flu shot. So, when Donald Trump's COVID vaccine became available for my age group, I got both in the arm in my car.
Was not a difficult decision. At my age, I'm no longer worried about producing mutant children. My overriding principle is survival and viral attacks on lungs can be dangerous to the health.
Masks make my glasses fog up, which theoretically could make me trip on something, hit my head, and turn into Hillary Clinton in dark glasses. But I don't really mind if it helps keep other Walmart shoppers from breathing on me.
I am, by the way, intimately familiar with mandates. I'm married.
Mandates used to be called rules. Back in the days of my youth, parents did not seek to be pals. They were loving adults who set rules that were rarely subject to negotiation.
I have decided if Fauci can remove his mask in a crowd at a Nationals baseball game, I can be with family and friends whenever I please. How many holidays might we have left together? That was the official recommendation of an expert advisory board of one – me.
I'm not a Democrat who gets her hair done while others can't. So, I don't care if people do or don't get the new vaccines or wear a mask. Just as I don't care what they read or their cell service or if they fall for regular fundraising pleas from liberal institutions with multi-billion-dollar endowments that plan on raising tuitions next year anyway.
I am bothered, however, by nameless, faceless federal “experts” who change their powerful guidelines like celebrities change spouses. The excuse is new data, which would have worked in the 50s. And we're supposed to obediently toodle along behind.
Many would have if, from the start, instead of acting like just-obey-us-we're-in-charge, Fauci et al. had honestly said, “Look, this virus is so new we're unsure of everything. Bear with us as we figure out what works best.”
Instead, their failed plans only bred distrust and cynicism.
More than 600,000 Americans suffer a first stroke and about the same number have a first heart attack each year, according to the American Heart Association.
More than three millennia ago, Egyptians were using willow bark as a pain reliever and fever reducer. In 1897 a Bayer chemist named Felix Hoffman modified part of that willow bark to produce acetylsalicylic acid, which became aspirin.
Later discovered benefits included anti-inflammatory properties and in low doses, it helps prevent heart attacks and stroke. In 2016, that lead to a recommendation for about-to-be seniors 50-60 to take a daily dose.
But now the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force focuses on aspirin as a blood thinner, which it's always been. That could facilitate bleeding in intestines and brains, especially beyond age 60. And it says those dangers now outweigh any preventative benefits.
This is all hard to keep up with, isn't it? I'm going to take two aspirins now and follow the directions to keep away from children.