Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thoroughly Thankful Thursday: Modern Medicine

It's the middle of flu season, and by all accounts, this is a bad one. The CDC recently declared a pandemic based on the number of deaths from the flu so far this winter. All around, people are coughing, sniffling, and aching. Our family has been sick twice already, with another round coming on as I write this - I had a sore throat yesterday, Erin was sneezing yesterday afternoon, and this morning Emily was running a fever after a very restless night. I've been drinking orange juice and taking my vitamins, in hopes that I can stay well myself and pass some immunity on to my babies in my milk.

It's scary to think about what illness was like in years past, when routine infections could quickly turn deadly. Before antibiotics were discovered, a secondary bacterial infection could emerge with little hope of a cure. Today, we not only have antibiotics to cure these, we have vaccines for most of the major childhood illnesses of the past. It's important to use antibiotics wisely - new resistant strains of bacteria have emerged because of overuse - but the ability to combat strep throat, bacterial pneumonia, and bacterial meningitis with antibiotics is a true blessing. While I occasionally find myself thinking how wonderful it would have been to live in another era, I don't have to think too hard about illness in days gone by to realize that I'm pretty happy here.

Today, I'm thankful for modern medicine. There's a lot that doctors and scientists haven't figured out yet, but all that has been figured out is nothing short of miraculous. We know about foods and vitamins that will keep us healthy, and treatments for illnesses that can't be avoided. We have vaccines to keep us from getting dangerous illnesses, and hospital treatment for the seriously ill. We can save women in danger during childbirth (I was born via emergency C-section, and my C-section with Emily and Erin saved all three of us) and offer medicine to ease the associated discomforts. I can only imagine how miserable my labor, C-section, and hospital stay afterwards would have been without Zofran, the epidural, and pain medicine. When nursing wasn't sufficient for Emily and Erin's newborn appetites, the hospital had some donor milk available, and we have been able to supplement with formula and know that it's safe and nutritious. Not every aspect of modern medicine is perfect, but we are blessed to live in an era where many lives are saved thanks to the advances of science.

It's Thoroughly Thankful Thursday again!  What are you thankful for? Share in the comments or link up your post below!

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