Saturday, May 13, 2006

Pasteur

Author: Terry Dashner

918-451-0270, Terry Dashner

I think you will benefit from this story told by author Robert Hastings. Dr. Hastings is a native of Illinois and has written many books with stories which are as good as, or better than, this one. Enjoy.

Although Robert Koch proved to the world that diseases are transmitted by microbes or germs invisible to the human eye, it was the French chemist Louis Pasteur who discovered how to use weakened microbes to inoculate against all kinds of infectious diseases.

His first successes were with anthrax and chicken cholera. Next he turned to a search for the deadly virus of hydrophobia. But before he could develop a serum of weakened hydrophobia microbes, he must first find and isolate the killer virus.

To do this, it was necessary for Pasteur to experiment with dogs that were mad with rabies. In the lab he would stick his beard within inches of their fangs so as to suck froth into glass tubes. Using these specimens, obtained at such risk of life, he hunted the microbe of hydrophobia.

And succeed he did. But the serum had to be proven. The first subject was a nine-year-old boy by the name of Joseph Meister from Alsace. His mother came crying to Pasteur’s laboratory, leading her pitiful, whimpering, scared child, hardly able to walk from the fourteen gashes inflicted by a mad dog. ‘Save my little boy,’ she begged. It was the night of July 6, 1885, when Joseph became the first recipient of the weakened microbes of hydrophobia in human history. After fourteen inoculations, the boy went home to Alsace and had never a sign of the dreadful disease.

When there were a dozen other serious diseases whose microbes had not yet been found, why did Pasteur risk his life to experiment with the deadly hydrophobia?

The answer may be from his childhood. ‘I have always been haunted,’ he said, ‘by the cries of the victims of a mad wolf that came down the street of our town when I was a little boy.’

Interesting. Sometimes fear paralyzes us into useless inaction. But there are other times when fear can goad us into worthwhile action. Pasteur channeled his fear from childhood into a positive force that saved lives. Fear can be all consuming and destructive, but wise is the person who will conquer fear by directing it in a constructive way. Foolish is the person who allows his fear to immobilize him. Channel fear forward. Don’t internalize it. It can motivate you or stifle you. It’s always your choice.

Terry Dashner tdash0355atnetzerodotcom

About the author: Pastors a small church in Broken Arrow, OK.

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