This morning I took a syringe and an ampoule of Vitamin B12 to the school nurse's office, and then lay down on the bed while she injected me with more energy, more enthusiasm, more optimism - all the things that precious stuff brings into my life.
Earlier this week, I did some research on the history of Vitamin B12. As I've written here before, this summer I was diagnosed with a condition called pernicious anemia in which the body can't absorb Vitamin B12 any more. This condition was first identified in 1855, and at that time, there was no treatment or cure for it. It was almost always fatal. In 1934, the doctors who figured out a cure for pernicious anemia received a Nobel prize for their work. The treatment was to give patients large amounts of liver. But they didn't know what it was in the liver that was making the difference. It wasn't until the 40s that they were able to isolate that substance, which they named Vitamin B12. In the 50s, scientists developed ways to produce Vitamin B12 in a lab. Some people can take it orally, but for people who don't absorb it well, like me, shots can deliver it directly to the bloodstream.
I have thought a lot about the blessings that modern medicine have brought me. I had to get glasses when I was nine, and my poor eyesight would have been a significant disability without them. I was able to get Rhogam shots during my pregnancies and after my babies were born (thus preventing another type of anemia for them). I was vaccinated against all kinds of illnesses, and so were my children. So many blessings, not available to everyone in this world.
I never thought I would get a vitamin deficiency, but I am so thankful that research and science have prevented that from being a death sentence. Every month, when it's time for my shot, I will gratefully lie down on the bed in the nurse's office and thank God for Vitamin B12.