Tag Archives: swine flu

To Flu Shot Or Not To Flu Shot – THAT is the Question

I go through this. Every. Single. Year.

To the point that my friends start hiding from me and won’t return my phone calls from October to January. This year, advertisements for the flu shots started popping up in August. I recognized my friend’s weary glances right away.

But you, dear readers, have never been exposed to my paranoia around this time of year. You are a fresh new audience.

Welcome.

First, let’s say I am cautious about vaccines. I get them. I have my children get them. But we spread them out. Way out. During my children’s first years of life, we were in the doctor’s office about every other month just getting vaccines. I appreciate the value of a vaccines but I don’t want to overwhelm a body’s delicate system.

There are some vaccines I skip. When the chicken pox vaccine first came out I let my daughter get those delightful, itchy spots the good old-fashioned way. But my boys? Too many people were getting the vaccine by then. I was risking that without the vaccine they may contract chicken pox in adulthood when it is far more dangerous. So they received the chicken pox vaccine.

Then comes H1N1. Oh. My. God. I had no friends during that time. Not during flu season, anyway. I bored them ad nauseum with facts. I deliberated. I asked strangers on the street what they thought.

Last year, my kids each got the first dose of the vaccine and then #1son had a horrible reaction. Or, so we thought. (Later, the CDC – or whatever lab they sent the results to – deemed that it was a coincidental reaction to something unknown) The kids never received the subsequent doses and we were fine last season.

Except for last year, we never get the vaccine. We’re a typical, healthy family who enjoy the typical amount of colds each season. I’d venture to say a little less than the typical amount.

But every single year I worry that I’ve made the wrong decision.

My husband, who practices Chinese Medicine, is absolutely no help at all. Chinese Medicine believes in letting the body build its own immunities. When we first had kids, he was adamantly against any vaccine. I was adamantly for. We battled. It came to such a head that I planned on sneaking the kids to the doctor and never telling him. Luckily, we came to an agreement we both could live with after a wonderful talk with our amazing Western Medicine pediatrician who values my husband’s expertise.

But during flu season? He’s no help. He laughs at me whenever I ask a question, reminding me of what he thinks of the flu shot industry. Every time we pass a sign advertising flu shots (at a drug store, grocery store, the library, in the airport – God, they’re everywhere!) he gives me a sideways glance, just waiting for my barrage of questions.

In an advertisement for flu shots on the radio this morning they reminded all of us fearful listeners out there that the CDC has recommended that everyone should receive the flu shot this season.

Everyone.

Is this advertising? Is this a twist of a study just to create fear and make money for the store/pharmaceutical companies? Or should every typically healthy person out there get the flu shot?

I hate this time of year.

Hate it.

And I know what I’ll do. I’ll choose to skip the vaccine for all of us. And then sit on pins and needles until spring, worrying that I made the wrong decision.

Sigh.

So I’ll just take this opportunity to say goodbye to all my dear friends here in the real world. See you next spring.

Blog friends?

Anyone?

Will you keep me company until then?

35 Comments

Filed under All In A Day's Work, children, Moms, Motherhood, parenting, Ponderings

Why Can’t I Let It Be?

I am feeling so stressed right now. To distract myself I tried and tried to think of a happy song for today’s post but I couldn’t. I married a control freak, a lovable  control freak, but a control freak, nonetheless. It’s been a beautiful union for us because it has taught me to let go of some of my control freak tendencies. I’ve had to, in order to maintain peace. And I’ve learned to let go of many, many things. But my children’s health? I can’t seem to let it be.  

“When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be” – I am about to be blasted by many of you out there but I confess. I broke down (after watching 60 minutes Sunday night) and had my kids vaccinated for H1N1. Me. I can’t believe it. I am one of the most cautious people out there when it comes to vaccines. We have vaccinated our kids on most things but never more than one at a time. Their first years in this life have been spent at the doctor’s office every couple months getting a shot because we spread them out. But my husband (who typically says NO to most vaccines) even got one. He’s in health care, and no, he wasn’t required to but he chose to. And then he puts it all on me and says, “Go ahead and vaccinate the kids if you want to.”

“Whisper words of wisdom” – Are you kidding me? If I want to? He knows I wrestle with the regular flu vaccine every year since having children. He’s always against it. I’m teetering the line. Staying up on the internet. Researching. Deliberating. Talking to anyone who’ll listen, anyone who has an opinion, anyone who might be in the know. I always end up agreeing with him but I still sit on pins and needles the entire flu season, wondering if I made the right decision.

“And when the broken-hearted people
Living in the world agree” – Have you caught on yet that I worry endlessly about health? I’m not much of a worrier in other areas. I’m not afraid to fly or drive a car. I pooh-pooh most pain when it comes to me. My husband knows something is really wrong if I’m popping herbs or motrin. But since my kids have been born? If we could, realistically and happily, live in a protective bubble I know I’d sleep a lot better at night. I can control what kind of food they put in their bellies – most of the time. I can control whether they wear a helmet while riding a bike or if they can have a motorized scooter (no). But I can’t control when and if they’ll catch a cold. And, God forbid, something more serious.

“There will be an answer, let it be” – And truth be told, I’m a horrible nurse. Horrible. We don’t have any serious illness in our family but my middle child was a high fever baby and toddler. I’m talking 105, 106 routinely when he’d get a cold. We’ve been to the emergency room a number of times for it and it’s scary every time. My fear and anxiety translates to anger with my kids. More than once they’ve asked  me, “Mommy? Are you mad at me for being sick?” It breaks my heart. And I feel terrible that they feel that way. And I try my darndest to hide my fear and many times it works. But bottom line? I have no control over how much they’ll suffer or when they’ll begin to feel better and it drives me crazy. I want a magic wand to take it all away.

“Yeah, There will be an answer, let it be” – So I researched. And I weighed every study I could find. And I sifted through the (shady) statistics. For example, one 60 Minutes an “expert” said that 1% of all people who contract H1N1 will die. I found online that the latest estimate is that 63% of the U.S. population will contract H1N1. So that means, in the subdivision I live in (we have about 400 homes); if 3 people live in each house that means 756 people are going to contract H1N1. So 7 1/2 of my neighbors are going to die?  C’mon. But what frustrated me to no end was if you were schooled in Western medicine it was “vaccine good” and if you were schooled in non-traditional medicine it was “vaccine bad.” No middle ground. No reasonable, balanced information out there. It was my pediatrician who pushed me over the edge. She is well aware of how we feel about typical “modern” medicine. But she said, in all her years of practice, she’s never seen something hit normal, healthy children this hard. My kids are normal and healthy. I bit the bullet and got them the vaccine.

“And when the night is cloudy,
There is still a light that shines on me” – And while I should feel relieved, I don’t. I’m still worrying. And it didn’t help that my 17 yr. old daughter told me I was endangering her because her science teacher just showed them a YouTube video of some cheerleader that now can’t walk or talk right because of a flu vaccine she had. Crap.

“I wake up to the sound of music
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be” – I need to let this go. I did it. My kids have the preservative-free, live vaccines coursing through their tiny systems. I should now be able to relax and let it be. Then why is my stomach still in knots?

Update: 2 out of 3 children are fine after having the vaccine. But it appears my middle child (my sweet ‘high fever’ boy) has had a reaction. High fever (104.1) and body aches, dizziness and pain. The leg pain is what is concerning the doctor now. We’re medicating and watching him closely. Just putting this out there so that any of you can be extra mindful of side effect you or your children might have….and to shake a finger at myself to say “I told you so!” I’ll keep you posted.

Update #2: After the fever went up to 105.7 while medicated and the disorientation set in we went back to the doctor’s office for tests. It is NOT a reaction to the swine flu vaccine and it is not some other flu. Just a nasty bug and he is reacting the way he did as a toddler. It just  coincidentally presented itself at the same time that my son received the H1N1 vaccine. And I’m relieved (as scary as this is) because I’ve been through this before with him and he always comes out ok. We just do lots of fluids, rest and medicate the fever to keep it below 103. But I WILL say this – In the doctor’s office I had to fill out a form and answer some questions. I always leave questions blank that I don’t know for certain – plus I love to mess with Western Medicine one-size-fits-all assembly line approach. One thing it asked was if my children had a fever and further stated that the vaccine would not be given to them if they had one. I left that question blank because I had no idea. They seemed fine to me. The nurse asked me if they had a fever and I told her: I don’t typically take their temps if they appear healthy. She looked them over and then gave them the vaccine. I have a feeling this illness may have been caught if she had taken #1son’s temp. Word of advice: Take the temps of your children yourself before you get the vaccine.  

24 Comments

Filed under children, Motherhood

The (Health) Countdown to Halloween

My two youngest have just recovered from a cold?…the flu? …..H1N1 (formerly known as Swine flu)? A friend of mine said that her pediatrician told her that in our area H1N1 is presenting itself as a mild, upper respiratory, low grade fever kind of flu. That’s exactly what the boys had. Fingers crossed!

But that still doesn’t ease my mind about getting the vaccine (I’m still undecided) or if we should get the regular flu vaccine (which I wrestle with every year, decide not to and then sit on pins and needles all season worrying that I made the wrong decision) or if this last thing that passed between them (daughter and husband still healthy, I just had the achies for a day) will come back to haunt us in just one more day. Hold on, guys! I know you can do it!

You see, Halloween is a big deal in our house. Probably because we don’t keep candy in the house or even eat candy that much all year-round. But at Halloween we let them have a free for all, eating as much as they want for the week or two. Eventually, they forget about the candy (I’m not kidding) and I can toss the leftovers and they never ask what happened to it.

But when they’re sick? No candy. No sugar. My husband (Chinese Medicine Man) calls sugar “Rocket fuel for a cold.” And having to give up sugar at the only time of year we let them eat candy with abandon would be torture in this house.

Plus, I remember a Halloween not so long ago…ok, 40 years ago…when a sweet little girl had to miss Halloween. She missed the Halloween parties. She missed wearing her costume to school. (Remember when you could do that and not offend anyone?) She missed….trick or treating. She had the chicken pox. And all she could do (because she felt fine, her skin just decided to try on a polka-dotted costume that wouldn’t wash away) was stand about 18ft. from the front door and watch all the trick-o- treaters come and go. She had a very dear friend who carried around an extra plastic pumpkin to fill for her. But it wasn’t the same.

So, fingers are crossed. Toes are crossed. We’re eating Flintstone vitamins like, well, candy around here. jackolantern

Hope everyone out there has a safe AND healthy Halloween!

13 Comments

Filed under How We Roll