My visit to Disneyland offered the fun of the happiest place on earth. Yet many of the people I saw made me think about additional public health issues to be considered for my novella THE MOTHER SIEGE that takes place in 2049 and the prequel story THE UPHEAVAL that takes place 20 years earlier in 2029.
Much of the harsh decrees in both stories are brought about by the Provisional Government trying to reduce healthcare costs. While I already covered many such issues, I have not yet covered the question of obesity.
Full disclosure: Yes, I could stand to lose about 10 pounds and I do work on this. What I’m talking about here is massively overweight people — people who probably need two seats on an airplane. And I saw a huge (pun intended) number of these people at Disneyland, many with young children.
As I waited in line for such rides as Pirates of the Caribbean I considered how a near future draconian government might deal with truly obese individuals:
- In vitro genetic manipulation that would limit lifelong appetite?
- Interning obese people in weight-reduction camps until they lose enough weight to return to society?
- Fining people of a certain weight until they reduce to a specific amount?
- Limiting the freedom of choice of obese people, including requiring them to buy two seats on a plane?
I AM NOT ADVOCATING THE ABOVE DRACONIAN MEASURES. I am only raising these in the context of my cautionary near future stories of THE UPHEAVAL and THE MOTHER SIEGE. And yet food for thought (another intended pun), some of these draconian measures may not be as unbelievable in the future as we may think.
Newborn vaccination protection:
Because there are parents choosing not to vaccinate their children, many of the diseases that children never need to get can now infect newborns and some of these diseases can be deadly in newborns. I have been told that, because of this situation, parents of newborns are advised by their doctors not to take the newborns to public places until the babies are old enough to first have their vaccinations.
Thus it was with concern that I saw several tiny newborns at Disneyland. I know these babies are at risk of being infected with diseases that can be deadly to newborns and I wondered if their parents knew this.
When I was very young polio vaccine had not yet been invented. My parents would not allow us to go to the Chicago amusement park Riverview in August nor could we swim in the public swimming pool in our town of Elgin, Illinois, in August for fear of contracting polio. (Apparently there were months when new cases of polio would spike and as I recall August was one of those months.)
While I understand how easy it is to put a newborn into a body carrier and take that child to Disneyland, I do hope that parents will hold off doing this until the baby has had its vaccinations. (Below is a link to a government chart of the recommended immunization schedule.)
In my sci fi stories THE UPHEAVAL and THE MOTHER SIEGE perhaps I will decide that these diseases have been completely eradicated. Or I will decide that the Provisional Government requires following strict protocols of where newborns can be taken and how the vaccinations are administered. (In these dystopian stories any such measures will be for the purpose of saving economic expenditures on healthcare rather than concern for the individuals.)
In the meantime, before such future societies arrive, we all need to take healthcare concerns seriously for our own benefit if not for the government’s.
© 2016 Miller Mosaic LLC
Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller) has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the author of fiction and nonfiction books/ebooks. Phyllis is available by skype for book group discussions and may be reached at email@example.com
Her Kindle fiction ebooks may be read for free with a Kindle Unlimited monthly subscription — see www.amazon.com/author/phylliszimblermiller — and her Kindle nonfiction ebooks may also be read for free with a Kindle Unlimited monthly subscription — see www.amazon.com/author/phylliszmiller