Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Heavy Side

"If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls who live under tyranny.” - Thomas Jefferson

Today is light and dark...was up and down.

First, on the heavier side:

It is hard being a parent. No one would deny me this statement. It is tough to always know the right decision for your children. After all, I am only human and not perfect. But, I am intelligent. Therefore, I will not believe everything I am told without a little research of my own. Where is this going, you say? Straight to the vaccine discussion. Go Jenny McCarthy. Love her. I will spare you all my rantings and ravings about vaccines, but indulge me this small paragraph. Or really not so small paragraph.

I am anti the one-size-fits-all-CDC-vaccination schedule. Since I cannot do anything without thorough research and asking many, many questions (I realize this throws spontaneity out of the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants window, but atleast I know a little about a lot, never an expert, but always a temporary enthusiast), I researched vaccines while I was pregnant. I read two books on the subject, I began receiving newsletters from the National Vaccine Information Center, Dr. Sears, the CDC and the FDA (btw, mistake after the peanut butter scare. I have received over 200 emails since then about recalled pb products from the FDA), I studied the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System website and other sites, I asked all my friends their opinions and went to a naturopathic pediatrician to ask her advice. I gathered information on vaccine ingredients, possible vaccine side effects, the risk of vaccine injury vs. risk of contracting the disease, and I discovered the insane number of injections my son would receive if I followed the CDC schedule. In 1974, I received less than 10 shots. With the 2009 CDC recommendations, my son would receive around 36 injections before he is five (could be more by now, they seem to recommend another one every few minutes). All I have to say, no, no, no, no. That doesn't work for me. I'll give them that "they" probably have society's overall health and best interests (and a nice profit) in mind. I'll give them that. Society as a whole. Faceless society. Not the faces of society. Not my child's face. Or your child's. Or yours. Sure, vaccines are super. Clean water and sanitary living conditions don't hurt either. But what may work for one child may not necessarily be the best thing for another child.
For instance, take my son. Even though I only allowed him to receive 2 of the 6 vaccines at his 2 and 4-month well-child check-ups, he still had a violent reaction to the DTaP shot four hours after receiving it. We had to take him to the emergency room where the doctor gave him codeine to calm him down because he wouldn't stop screaming. That is terrifying for a parent. The next eight days, he wouldn't smile or laugh. He was a different child. I was scared to death. I spent everyday crying, terrified that the child I knew might be gone. After those eight days, he came out of this vaccine-induced fog, thank God.
So, as anyone can imagine, I had extremely high anxiety about his six month well-child check-up scheduled for earlier this afternoon -- I knew the doctor would want to give him another DTaP vaccine and I was going to have to put on my fighting panties. My stomach was in knots all day. I felt dread and nerves, like I was going in for a colonoscopy or had to spend the day talking about religion and politics with Elisabeth Hasselbeck. I was so grateful that I babysit my adorable 2-yr old nephew, MP, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays because he kept my mind off my son's doctor's appointment with bathtime, Lego time, Diego and Dora cartoon time, snack time, etc. But as soon as he and my son went down for their naps at the same time, I had nothing and no one to distract me. I tried watching "Bridge To Terabithia" on HBO, but then I remembered that the little girl (spoiler alert) dies and realized it was a totally inappropriate movie for me to be watching at this time. I was so FREAKIN' NERVOUS!!! I have heard horror stories about doctor's bullying parents into vaccines, making parents feel negligent and unintelligent for their concern. What was going to happen?
But again, as usual, I worried for no reason. I have got to start trusting God and all that is God a lot more in this life (I should add that to my "to-do" list). I have a fabulous and forward-thinking pediatrician. He said he has never had a child react in that way, he understood my concern, said from now on we will not give my son the DTaP shot and he will only receive 1 or 2 vaccines at a time. He has always been happy to let us choose the vaccines we want our son to receive and has given us no grief in the past about refusing some. This time was no different. He said he would support whatever made us most comfortable as parents. I said I only wanted him to have the meningitis shot, he said "Done!" and that was it. Pure and simple. Relief washed over me until I realized that I still had to watch my son scream and cry at the initial shock and pain of being poked with a needle. But, it was my choice and I wasn't bullied into this choice. I wasn't frightened into this choice. It was my researched, intelligent, doing-what-I-can-to-be-a-good-parent choice. It felt great. And I didn't even have to pull out the fighting panties.

Stay tuned to tomorrow's lighter side post, "Quotes from my nephew."


  1. I love all the comments about Elizabeth Hasselbeck! I think you should continue to somehow work her crazy, right-wing, ultra-conservative republican ass into every post. It makes for a good laugh!

  2. Oh, I will. She is my arch-nemesis. Her opinions and the childish way she argues drive me craaaazzzyyyy!!!!! .... But I'm sure she's a nice person. :)


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