Just when you thought her rants were over…
I figure I have to follow Muffin’s four-year-old’s advice on this one. He says that I have to “write a blog at them.” I should know better than try to explain a grown-up problem to Muffin. He tends to take (what I view to be) the right side, but he is very VERY passionate about it. He feels it is my mission to sway the opinion of those whose views run contrary to mine…in order to save the world.
There is an issue that I have been careful to avoid on this blog. It’s an issue that I can pretty much guarantee every mommy blogger has very strong feelings about…one way or another.
Three words that have recently come to the forefront, re-fanning the flames of an already fiery controversy.
Disneyland. Measles. Outbreak.
(And, my sister, who is probably knowing where I’m going with this is probably ready to howl with laughter.)
I’ve been a bit out of it, news-wise, lately. I was riding in my carpooling buddy’s car, and we were listening to the news on the radio when something stopped me dead in my tracks, mid-story of what had happened at work today. Measles outbreak at Disneyland. How did I miss that? It combines some of my hot-button-issue topics…Disney and vaccines.
And…to (not) my credit, I decided to Google. And then I tried to feed the monkeys and respond to someone who wished to arbitrarily (and I say this because he quite obviously had never personally been affected by the vaccine issue) pontificate (insultingly) on his views.
And…on that CBS news report post, I tried to reply to his comment (again…feeding the monkeys in the zoo). For whatever reason, it wouldn’t let me post. So, I thought I had better post my comment here…in the hope that someone on the fence or maybe even against my viewpoint would listen to my viewpoint with open ears, eyes, and heart and appreciate what I’m saying.
I think I may have gotten insulting toward the end of the comment, and that was not my aim. The comment that I was replying to was so pompous that I may have found myself feeling more than a bit defensive.
I want to be very clear…open…and forthright before you read this comment. Because of ideological, personal, and experiential reasons, I strongly am in favor of vaccinations. I’ve read the literature on both sides. I realize that some vaccinations contain mercury, lead, and many other things.
But…I also realize and remember that on the Saturday after Thanksgiving in 2013, I was curled up in a ball in the middle section of my parent’s van, feeling achy to the point of immobilization, feverish, exhausted…and looking over at Muffin and seeing a dullness take over his eyes and a red flush (that scary red flush that starts the panicked rapid heartbeat of a mama who knows…knows…that her son is prone to febrile seizures…and that she is powerless to stop them) that signaled that Muffin’s fever was already high.
Out of the nine of us at my sister’s house that Thanksgiving, three of us (my parents and my husband) were flu-free. My parents had taken the vaccine earlier that fall. My husband (thankfully) has a freakishly strong immune system. He thinks he might have come down with a very light case of it a few days later (a mild cough and a bit of aches and pains), but it was nowhere near the full-blown H1N1 that the other six of us had.
In all honesty, until later that week, I honestly thought we had all had pneumonia. (My parents had received the pneumonia vaccine, as well.) My sister had taken her two to the doctor (who didn’t test them for flu) and then (as my youngest nephew is also prone to febrile seizures) to the hospital. The hospital asked that one pivotal question (If it were a drama on TV, this would be the cliffhanger before it cut to commercial break): Have they been vaccinated for flu?
(Yes, I’m aware we are talking about measles in current events, and I’m bringing up an old tale of flu woes.)
My sister’s hospital visit propelled me to take Muffin (way too late) to the doctor…who diagnosed him as having the flu. The doctor (another doctor in his regular pediatrician’s office) handed me a prescription for Tamiflu but said we were past the time when it would be effective.
Sadly, flashing back to that Saturday when I was in so much pain and so feverish when I prayed and prayed for it to end…and watching Muffin in the doctor’s office and feeling such massive guilt for not having him vaccinated sooner…as we had planned…. That was not the worst of it.
And then…the news story that chilled me further. A local third grader…maybe a month later…contracted flu and died. Died. Of something preventable with a shot.
Just as there was an accident during my teen years that cemented the need to wear seat belts, if there were ever any doubt that we are a vaccine family (What do you call people who are pro-vaccine?), the end of 2013 proved that, to me and mine, vaccines were necessary.
As a mama, if you have to watch your child be that sick…in that much pain…and KNOW that you are responsible because you didn’t get him vaccinated in time…even now…over a year later…when the Ebola outbreak (yes, I know…no vaccine) and now with the measles outbreak…just thinking of Muffin with the flu sends over me a wave of almost crippling guilt.
I’m very thankful (on their behalf) that the parents who are anti-vaxxers have never known that guilt or fear. And I don’t mean this as a threat. Or as a menacing promise. Or as a mean voodoo prophecy. I mean it as the truth. One day, you will find yourself in my position (or one similar). And hopefully, and I mean that I sincerely hope, you aren’t looking at your child’s casket as a result.
Now, the above is the nicest way I could put things. I will be perfectly honest and say that, most of the time, I tend to be a lot less kind in my comments about individuals who choose not to vaccinate their offspring.
If you are an anti-vaxxer (Is that even the politically correct term?), do you vaccinate your pets for rabies?
Just random question that ran through my head.
Anyway…we slogged through all of that maudlin melodrama to arrive at my unpublished (at least on CBS’s news story) reply to the pompous windbag of a commenter who thought he could prove his intelligence by using big words. Here is my comment….
WHEN I THINK ABOUT THINGS SUCH AS MEASLES AND CHICKEN POX, WHY DO I ALWAYS THINK OF THE FLU? OH, YEAH. BECAUSE I HAD THE FLU LAST YEAR. I DIDN’T VACCINATE IN TIME. MY SON (WHO WAS 3 AT THE TIME) HAD IT, TOO. IN OUR CITY OF 60,000, A THIRD GRADER (NON-VAXXED) CONTRACTED THE FLU AND DIED. I WISHED FOR DEATH FROM THE PAIN AND THE HIGH FEVER. I CONTRACTED IT AT MY SISTER’S HOUSE OVER THANKSGIVING. OUT OF THE NINE OF US THAT WERE THERE, ONLY THREE DID NOT CONTRACT THE FLU (AND A BAD CASE OF H1N1, AT THAT), MY PARENTS (WHO HAD RECEIVED THE VACCINE) AND MY HUSBAND (WHO HAS A FREAKISHLY STRONG IMMUNE SYSTEM). AS A CHILD, I HAD ALL OF MY NEEDLES. I HAD THE WHOOPING COUGH BOOSTER AFTER MY SON WAS BORN. MY SON HAS HAD ALL OF HIS NEEDLES…AND WILL NOW RECEIVE THE FLU VACCINE WITHOUT FAIL YEARLY. YES, I KNOW THAT THE FLU VACCINE WAS NOT AS GREAT THIS YEAR AS IN YEAR’S PAST, BUT THE ONLY PERSON VACCINATED THAT I PERSONALLY KNOW OF WHO CONTRACTED THE FLU HAD A MUCH MILDER CASE OF IT THAN HAD HE NOT HAD THE VACCINE. WHILE I HAVE A VERY PROFANE OPINION OF ANTI-VAXXERS (ESPECIALLY HOW, IN THIS CASE OF MEASLES OUTBREAK PARTICULARLY, THEY HAVE PUT THOSE UNABLE TO RECEIVE THE VACCINE AT RISK…THERE IS A STORY OF AN INFANT UNDER QUARANTINE BECAUSE ANOTHER CHILD’S PARENTS VILIFIED VACCINES AND EXPOSED HER TO A POTENTIALLY BRAIN-SWELLING AND BRAIN-DAMAGE-CAUSING DISEASE), I WILL TRY TO KEEP THIS PERSONAL…BECAUSE TO ME, IT IS. AS A PARENT WHO LITERALLY COULD NOT LIFT A FINGER WHILE MY SON (WHO IS PRONE TO FEBRILE SEIZURES, BY THE WAY) RAN A FEVER WELL IN EXCESS OF 104 LAST YEAR WHEN WE BOTH HAD THE FLU, I FELT AS IF (BY NOT GIVING HIM THE FLU VACCINE FAST ENOUGH) THAT I HAD BEEN GUILTY OF CHILD ABUSE…NEGLECT…ENDANGERMENT…AND, HAD HE DIED, MANSLAUGHTER AT THE VERY LEAST (AND MURDER ON THE HIGHER END). LUCKILY, MY HORRIFIC MISTAKE OF NOT VACCINATING HIM DID NOT RESULT IN HIS DEATH. I’M SURE THERE ARE SOME ANTI-VAXXERS WHO NOW (AFTER WATCHING THEIR CHILD BE BURIED SIX FEET UNDER GROUND) HAVE CHANGED THEIR TUNE.
WE CAN HAVE OUR LEFT VS. RIGHT PHILOSOPHICAL ARGUMENTS ALL WE WANT ALL DAY AND THROW AROUND BIG WORDS (SUCH AS IGNORAMUS, ENDANGERMENT, CALLOUSNESS, IRRESPONSIBILITY, AND THE LIKE), BUT IT ALL BOILS DOWN TO CHILDREN…IN DANGER. CHILDREN…AT RISK. CHILDREN…IN PAIN.
AND, NOT TO INSULT YOUR GENDER, BUT UNLESS YOU ARE A MOTHER WHO HAS WATCHED HER CHILD BE SICK WITH A DISEASE THAT YOU SHOULD HAVE PREVENTED…YOU COULDN’T POSSIBLY UNDERSTAND.
I’LL BE PERFECTLY HONEST: I DON’T HAVE ENOUGH TRUST OR FAITH IN HUMANITY TO PRESCRIBE TO HERD IMMUNITY MENTALITY. KUDOS FOR YOU IF YOU DO. BUT WHAT IF THE REST OF THE PLANET CHOSE TO TRUST HERD IMMUNITY BUT REFUSED TO IMMUNIZE…UMM…THAT MEANS NO ONE’S IMMUNIZED. BUT WAIT…ISN’T THAT THE GOAL OF ALL GOOD ANTI-VAXXERS?
PLEASE EXPLAIN THIS DOUBLE STANDARD SLASH PARADOX TO ME. I’M NOT SMART ENOUGH TO UNDERSTAND YOUR BIG WORDS, JUST BEING AN IGNORANT MAMA AND ALL…SO, IF YOU COULD DUMB DOWN THE CONVERSATION FOR ME THAT MIGHT HELP.
I knew I should have been worried when, whether I had Caps Lock on or not, it would not remove the caps. I am very much an anti-caps person. Anti-Caps but Pro-Vax.
I apologize if the all caps offend you as much as it does me.
Please feel free to opine…unless you are spam. I don’t like spam. I don’t like eating Spam. I throw Spam in the circular file.
But back to the vaccine discussion: there was one vaccine that I honestly wavered on. The chicken pox vaccine. Raise your hand if you had chicken pox as a child. I had a very mild case of it. The week of the Christmas party in second grade. But it was not the possibility that Muffin might miss an important life event (such as his second grade Christmas party at school) that made me hesitate. It was the possibility that, as a result of introducing the (inactive) virus into his system, he becomes susceptible to shingles.
My mom had shingles…again…another mild case of what could have been horrendous. One of my best coworker friends…not so lucky. Lots of pain.
Again. As a mother, my job is to alleviate unnecessary pain and suffering from my son’s life. Did I want to help him avoid a childhood disease that, in many cases, isn’t that bad and pump the full-blown possibility of shingles to lie in wait…a ticking time bomb in his system…ready to spew pain?
And then…I remembered the fever I ran with chicken pox. And Muffin’s febrile seizures.
‘Nuff said. Good night, everyone!