We will be opening up registration for email addresses that end in @arconati.us, @arconati.name, @arconati.net as soon as possible. I know I’ve been talking about this for a little while, but I’m revamping things on the back end so that this will not only be possible, but simple to sign up and easy to manage.
Born today at 4:24pm to Jonathan Arconati and Kelly Stumm-Arconati, weighing in at 6 pounds, 10 ounces, welcome Sophia Louise Arconati.
My dad sent me the following and I thought it useful to share.
The current buzz over swine flu reminds me…
The Year 1976, HEADLINE: President Gerald Ford Orders Nationwide Vaccination Program to Prevent Swine Flu Epidemic!
President Ford was acting on the advice of medical experts, who believed they were dealing with a virus potentially as deadly as the one that caused the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic.
The virus surfaced in February, 1976, at Fort Dix, New Jersey, where 19-year-old Pvt. David Lewis told his drill instructor that he felt tired and weak, although not sick enough to skip a training hike. Lewis was dead within 24 hours.
The autopsy revealed that Lewis had been killed by “swine flu,” an influenza virus originating in pigs. By then several other soldiers had been hospitalized with symptoms. Government doctors became alarmed when they discovered that at least 500 soldiers on the base were infected without becoming ill.
It recalled 1918, when infected soldiers returning from the trenches of World War I triggered a contagion that spread quickly around the world, killing at least 20 million people. Fearing another plague, US health officials urged Ford to authorize a mass inoculation program aimed at reaching every man, woman and child. He did, to the tune of $135 million (over $500 million in today’s money).
Mass vaccinations started in October. In churches, temples, union-halls, and schools, hundreds lined up for a shot of “swine flu vaccine.” I remember it was a beautiful fall day (Jimmy was about 8-months old) and I was in the cafeteria of St. Christopher Church getting my flu shot from a white-gowned ‘nurse’ who wielded a special vaccination device that shot the fluid at high-pressure directly under the skin – the pressure was so high that no needle was required. The actual shot took only seconds, and was accompanied by very little of the expected bureaucratic paperwork.
Whether it was a bad batch of the vaccine, wrong dose, an allergic reaction, or just side-effect from the vaccine, I’ll never know. Both Jimmy’s mother and I began to feel queasy within 20-minutes. Before I got home, I had to stop the car to throw-up. And the severe flu symptoms continued for both of us for nearly a week. My mother (who got her shot at a different time) came over to take care young Jim, and also wound up taking care of both of his parents.
There were other problems with the program. Within weeks reports started coming in of people developing Guillain-Barré syndrome, a paralyzing nerve disease, right after taking the shot. Within two months, 500 people were affected, and more than 30 died. Amid a rising uproar and growing public reluctance to risk the shot, federal officials abruptly canceled the program Dec. 16.
In the end, 40 million Americans were inoculated, and there was no epidemic. More technically advanced examination of the virus revealed later that it was nowhere near as deadly as the 1918 influenza virus.
The only recorded fatality from 1976 swine flu itself was the unfortunate Pvt. Lewis.
History’s verdict of the program is mixed. Critics assailed Ford, accusing him of grandstanding during an election year — it did him no good, because he lost anyway — while kowtowing to the pharmaceutical companies. Supporters laud the ability of the nation’s health bureaucracy to mobilize so effectively. (It still amazes me that they were actually able to immunize 40 million (!) people in a very short period of time. …amazing also that we all did it with very little panic or controversy… Similar circumstances today would see 20-million lawyers filing maybe 160-million lawsuits!)
I am guessing that whatever today’s flu is, it has mutated enough that I probably have no immunity resulting from my 1976 inoculation. In any case, I hope there is no need to go through that again!
Credit: Historical details courtesy of wired.com; personal recollections are my own.
Here’s just one of several public service announcements that were broadcast in 1976 regarding the possible impending epidemic.
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1On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them,Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 78Then they remembered his words.The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.
9When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.
TWO!! Getting bigger every day…
We celebrated our 10th Wedding Anniversary this weekend! The whole afternoon and evening was arranged by me for Lisa as a surprise. First, there was a family trip with the girls to see Seussical the Musical at the FCC Theatre within the James J. Eagan Center.
“Oh, the thinks you can think” when Dr. Seuss’ best loved stories collide and cavort in this unforgettable musical caper! The Cat in the Hat is the host and emcee in this romp through the Seuss classics! Will the planet of Who survive? Will Horton pay attention to Gertrude? Will Mayzie ever return for her egg? Dr. Seuss’ beloved classic characters find themselves intertwined in an incredible crazy-quilt adventure, in which the power of imagination and the most miraculous “think” ever save the day!
Then the girls went to Mema’s house while we went to a jewelry store to get a special locket soldered shut. Unfortunately, this particular store couldn’t get the work done without damaging the contents, so we bought a new chain for the locket and headed back out again.
For dinner we spent a while dining on the finest fondue at The Melting Pot. By the time we had eaten our fill, it was time to return to the hotel for the night. The room was a junior suite on the 9th floor and had a huge tub. There was also had a huge bed with a faux-canopy, a comfy couch, a desk, two chairs and a big television. There were matching bath robes, a huge mirror and a double sink.
What a great time!
Have a safe and happy new year!