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.
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.
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.
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.
So I’ll just take this opportunity to say goodbye to all my dear friends here in the real world. See you next spring.
Will you keep me company until then?