Covid….vaccine… immunology etc 😊

If I had only learned immunology when I had the chance.  😊1986 was the year I started medical school, I do not think I am a genius and there were clearly classmates MUCH smarter than I was.  But to get accepted into medical school back then, you had to beat out 18 other people. One in 18 people got accepted.  It was funny being in Med school, I was not sure  I belonged there, until the first set of exams, and I managed to score “in the pack” so finally was comfortable that I might survive in that setting. I only say this in that getting INTO med school was not a walk in the park.🤔 It seems though that the way everyone talks these days, you could easily get a med degree in a crackerjack box.

One of the courses in 1st year was immunology.  It was a new course to the curriculum, and EVERYONE struggled with it.  It was a tough course, and tougher … not totally knowing its relevance in the real world of being a doctor.   As such, that the teachers, who were a cool couple of guys designed a T Shirt at the end of the year, “if I had only learned immunology when I had the chance”.

That was 35 years ago, and clearly immunology has become relevant to many areas of medicine, but never so relevant as this past year with the covid  virus and the subsequent vaccine.  The past 6 months have really been something, taking the hardest course in medical school and suddenly every Tom, Dick and Harry has become an expert in it. ENOUGH to advise others as to the right thing to do.

As a doctor, I am fully aware that every tidbit of information I give to someone, I am fully responsible for.  If I am wrong in any way, and if something bad happens, I am liable, responsible, and someone could actually sue me.  So for many reasons, I try to only give information what I feel to be correct, and the safest information that has been studied in large numbers of people.

You can easily come to the wrong conclusion about an issue looking at a small group of people.  For instance, if I had 3 friends named Sally and they all got breast cancer, one might be apt to conclude that there is something associated with the name Sally and breast cancer.

The thing about medicine, or any profession I am sure is that you learn the concepts from the ground up and you continue learning using the groundwork you have learned. Ken and I are rockhounds and know a smattering about the rocks that we like, but we have never learned the real basics of geology so that when someone asks me about how they are formed etc, I can only give my interpretation of how they are formed, I cannot say with any confidence that this is actually true. The concept of doing your own research in a field that you have absolutely NO training at, is a dangerous folly.(unless … of course…. you go all the way back and do anatomy, physiology ….? Immunology.)

I guess it would be like me having to name a rock on the beach, and my life depending on being 100% right. (I would be so screwed)

The thing about the vaccine is that there WERE large control studies before it was shown to be safe. What control means is that large ~25000 were given the vaccine and approx the same number were given a placebo, and the number who died was about the same in both groups. (if you think about a town the size of 25000, there likely are a few people who die most days….of quite natural causes.) So the vaccines WERE shown to be safe.

so the control group would be the same as the placebo group….

I guess the OTHER main thing to prove was…. do the vaccines work? Well there are VERY few studies in medicine that show the kinds of effects that are as BLATANT as this vaccine. Usually in medical studies you need a statistician to show the difference between 2 groups to show if a drug actually made a difference.

Well with the Covid vaccine, all you need to do is to go to the death rate in the USA, and calculate that the vaccine started to be given around the end of December 2020 in the US. There are VERY few things in medicine that are THIS cut and dry. No one could argue that the vaccines do not work. Any “Dummie” could see where the vaccines started.

I am not sure that there is a lot more to say other than those who are not vaccinated are at a MUCH MUCH higher risk of getting the virus AND getting seriously ill. First off, all those who have been vaccinated CAN still spread the disease, despite not becoming ill with it themselves. Second, most of the restrictions have been lifted, and so the Covid Virus CAN spread around a lot more, its just there will be less who show symptoms (IE the vaccinated).

This is where the term “herd immunity” comes in. Those who have had the vaccine (if they have a good immune system) do not become seriously ill with it and although they can still contract the virus and spread it, it is MUCH less so that if they had not had the vaccine. If EVERYONE had the vaccine, the disease would drop in society, protecting those who have poor immune systems.(those whom the vaccine does not provide enough immunity to fight the virus) EG those on chemo, the elderly and those with chronic diseases.

This new Variant of the covid virus has been shown to be MUCH more easily spread. The original Covid replicated a LOT, only in some people, and those people were called super spreaders, but the Delta variant has been shown to do this in most people with the virus, which is why it is so infectious.

The OTHER thing that no one seems to talk about, is LONG COVID. Those who become seemingly permanently disabled because of Long Covid. The damage done by the virus having permanent effects. Lung disease, dementia….. it all depends on where the virus attacks.

Much love to all, make your choices wisely.


Who knew how far this would go?


A little bit of tobogganing fun….. our gravel pit.


I am sure we are all sitting, isolated, looking at what is going on in the world in utter terror.  Never before in our lifetimes… has something like this happened.  Perhaps if we were sitting in Iraq, we could say, we HAVE seen the likes of this…… OR maybe if we were in Afghanistan…. , we COULD say we have seen this…. but to our safe first world, we have never seen anything like this.

Sigh….. We are still working hard to get our motorhome up here, but somehow it all seems so irrelevant now.


We are fortunate to have a place to go to still be isolated.   I think of those “self isolating”in New York and I feel so fortunate to be somewhere that is totally isolated and kind of nice to look at too.

Because of shortage for the N95 masks, they are saving them for “acute care”, which means hospitals, and “long term care” facilities  are not getting them, at least yet.

So Ken and I went up to the property today and got into the storage Sea Cans and dug out our N95 masks, which we bought the year of the fires in BC 2017IMG_6364

quite a valued item now.   I had to go into facility and wore this and it felt quite comfortable.

We are starting a policy whereby the doctors of patients in the nursing homes will deal with issues that come up with the patients, over the phone as best they can. If a patient needs to be seen by a doctor, we will only have one doctor going in and out of the facility. So for Overlander, that will be me, and after Friday it will be me for both Overlander and Ponderosa. (another doctor is off for a few weeks).

So happy to have a mask.  I have heard that 5 nursing care facilities in the Vancouver area have positive Covid Virus cases.

I am not sure if this is a time for setting goals like this, but I want to make sure that we do not get one case of covid in our facility and if we do, that we act on it ASAP and prevent further spread.  My approach is to make sure that we think of everything we can possibly do to prevent the virus, so that some time from now, at the very least, no matter what happens, we will have no regrets…. That we did everything we could have done, with what was available.

So we are on lock down, only families of dying patients are allowed in to visit.  We have a volunteer at the door stopping everyone.  Nurses are having to change clothing when they arrive and when they leave. In Longterm care, nurses really are the front line workers, as doctors, we can manage things from a distance.  So of course I am mostly worried about our son Josh, who is a care aid at a different facility, a much smaller facility. HE is the front line.

We are working hard to make sure our facility is prepared for what is to come, that we can safely isolate any patients who DO end up with the virus , and ensure that we keep the staff safe.  We are planning for rooms where we can look after the coronavirus positive patients, our activity rooms.  For the most part, most patients in Long term care will not be transferred to a hospital if they become ill with the coronavirus, they will likely stay at the facility, and be cared for ther

I think that the reality hit home yesterday reading about the care homes in Spain where the staff had deserted patients, some dead, some severely demented, to tend on their own.  I can see that.  I am sure that the staff were scared, as they are here. None of us signed up for a job deemed to be dangerous.  It is hard to know how to confront that.  I feel that perhaps the best way to confront fear is to make sure that everyone is confident that we are doing everything we can.  The BC government issued a statement today stating that all nurses, doctors, care aides, anyone dealing directly with patients needs to be wearing a mask and PPE  (personal protective equipment), and gloves.  I am hoping by tomorrow we will have all of that in sufficient amounts.  VERY sadly in our area, there was a robbery of a large amount of this stuff, from a storage area…of the health authority.

The real bright light in our days is our wonderful baby Talon, who actually is MORE than one year old now and so apparently we can no longer call him a baby.  Somehow Toddler Talon just does not have the same ring.  He is just SOOO clever, here squatting down to examine a pine cone, having been “tricked” into wearing shoes for the first time.


I hope that everyone out there has a bright light in this otherwise dark and dreary time, even if it is only a small bright light.

Tucker is in the dog house tonite for chasing the turkeys that jumped into the yard.


Much love to all from Janet, Ken and Tucker the turkey chasing hound dog.