Thursday, September 03, 2009

bombarded by needles

I kept waking up last night and not having the best of sleep, ending up in waking up on my own at 6am and figuring at least then I'd feel awake for when D woke up rather than like a complete zombie. He's usually up by 6, maybe 6:15 every morning. It is now 6:40 and still not a peep from him. Figures. But, at least I get a bit of free time before he gets up.

Yesterday I took him in to get his 18 month shots. While there I also asked about the flu shot, so he got his first dose of it (last year he only got 1 dose, and I guess the first time kids get a flu shot they need 2 doses and then after that can get by with ionly 1 every year). We'll need to go back in a few weeks to get the 2nd dose, and then ask about the swine flu vaccine, too. Anyway, in all he got four shots yesterday. It was pretty traumatic, for both of us. Somehow this set of shots felt worse than previous ones. I picked up some more Motrin on our way home (we were out) and he got full doses all yesterday. He definitely was more tired and touchy at times, but other times seemed totally fine. At one point, after he'd woken up from his nap but was still pretty cranky and tired and he and I were laying in bed together for a bit before getting up to play, I was thinking about how bad it feels as a mom to have to put your kid through this and how I can totally see how the anti-vaccination movement grows. As a mom, any excuse to NOT have to put your child through this (temporary, yes, but still real) misery could be quite welcome. I firmly believe that vaccines are a good thing, beneficial not only for the individual but also for the community as a whole, and that any risks involved in getting the shots is outweighed greatly by the benefits. I acknowledge that by giving him vaccines I'm exposing him to small amounts of chemicals that may not be that great, but again it's for a much greater good and I can't see how these one-time trace exposures are much worse than the every-single-day-of-your-life constant exposure he gets to pollution and the chemicals in our air, food, water, and everything we touch (which I try to limit somewhat, but is hard to do). All that said, yesterday as I watched him get four shots in a row, there was a part of my brain that got this nagging, guilty feeling, and I realize I should look more into the delayed schedule idea, that I haven't explored that option as fully as I possibly should have and just learn more about the justifications there and see if it makes sense to me.

Gotta go. Kiddo's awake.


  1. Part of my job is to ensure the community is vaccinated, and I had the same feeling when I took A for her shots. If Frederic had taken her, I think he would have refused the vaccinate. My colleague, also responsible for immunizations and who chose her pediatrician based partly on the fact that they wouldn't accept patients who didn't want to vaccinate (i.e. so no risk of exposure to a sick kid with measles in the doctor's office) said she also had a similar reaction when her daughter received her shots. She wanted to take her baby and run out of there. The momma bear instinct kicked in.

    One of my other jobs is to insure kids on TB meds take them, so we do directly observed therapy where a nurse administers it to the kid daily. After trying to give antibiotics to Angelina for a recent infection (and we do this very rarely), I fully understood why this is required. She hated it and it was so hard to insist!

  2. I don't like taking R. for shots. Last time she got 5 because we are a little behind. She still remembers and tells people about how she had 5 band-aids on her arms. Our doctor is not certified to give Medicaid injections, which probably means he isn't willing to accept their price for giving them. It's frustrating since we have to go downtown to the city's clinic to get them, which takes FOREVER!

    Just remember, this too shall pass and R. doesn't remember the shots from her early years.

  3. (Again, the woman with no kids throwing in her 2 cents...)

    The shots must be horrible experiences for the mother, who knows what's going on and will remember (unlike the kid, as Lindsey says), but it's the lesser evil. Sure, four shots in one day suck. But how would you feel if D died of a nearly-extinct and completely preventable disease because he did not get one of those shots? What pain and agony would he go through when fighting a disease?

  4. Oh, about delayed vaccination - do you mean spacing out the shots so he doesn't get so many at once, but still within the appropriate time frame (so over a matter of days or a few weeks)? If so, I can see the appeal but think it'd be more traumatic for the kid. The shots are (or should be) quick. If you have to bring him in once a week every week for a month, he's going to know what's up and associate each trip with pain.*

    If you mean delaying til he's older, that's problematic for other reasons. One of the reasons the schedule is set as it is is because it's best to do them as soon as it's considered safe to do them. While risks for some diseases are relatively low, risks for others are high. Pertussis is one in particular - we see far too many infants too young for the shot (less than 2 months old) who get it from an older sibling or household member who's unvaccinated and for whom the disease isn't so bad so it's not obvious. But for that 1.5 month old, it's severe, usually requiring hospital stay, ventilator or worse.

    (*We had to take A to the ER 3 times in CH. the first time she was fine, despite the blood draw. By the second time she was skittish whenever she saw anyone in white scrubs and by the 3rd time she'd scream as soon as she saw the white scrubs....)



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