Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Great Debate

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate, that is my question.

Isaac goes to daycare. And he loves it. He loves Miss K and the other kids. I love having him go there, most times. Sometimes I miss him too much, when work is slow.

Anyway, one of Miss K's kids (her biological child, not a daycare charge) is sick. Like, really sick. And although her kid is not contagious anymore and I know she sanitizes and sterilizes the crap out of every single surface in the daycare, I worry about my little man. Ben and I talked about keeping him home until Thursday, which would be the first day both of us absolutely HAD to work and would be forced to take him there. We decided against it. Ben went to the DMV today and we all know what kind of disease-festering place that is, so Isaac is actually better off at daycare. Gross, unhealthy people covered in dirt and germs allowing their vagrant children to run rampant around that tiny little cubicle they call an office at the DMV. (Note: I do not think all people at the DMV are like this. Some of them are really clean. And nice. But seriously, do YOU really like to go to the DMV? If you do, stop reading this. You are hereby banned from my blog.)

Because of the constant outbreaks of H1N1 and other mysterious sicknesses plaguing the world, the topic of whether or not to get Isaac several option vaccinations has come up. I say optional because they are not mandated by the State or required for him to attend a daycare. I am not talking polio or DtAP or MMR. Such a vaccine is the flu shot.

You know I hate getting my baby poked. Its traumatizing, probably more so for me and the nurse who almost gets cut for making my precious baby scream like that. And I have never in my life had a flu shot. EVER. But those were the days when getting the flu meant staying home from school for a day or two, couch ridden while watching Nickelodeon and sucking down popsicles. It is way more serious nowadays, probably because there are 20 gazillion different strains of influenza and a flu vaccinates like 4 of them? And then there is all the talk of RESISTANT strains of viruses. Let's not get into that now.

But....I don't want my baby to get sick. Not only for my sanity, because let's face it, while Ben has input that is heavily considered, bottom line is I am the one that would stay up all night and home with a sick child, but because I don't ever want my baby to be in pain or to be sick or suffering in the slightest.

Plus he's in daycare. And its a daycare that includes children who go to school with other children, who get sick for a multitude of reasons.

And he does go to disease-ridden places like the DMV from time to time. Don't even get me started on the cleanliness of Tar.get (where I literally stepped on human feces while preggo). I AM NOT A PSYCHO MOM WHO IS A GERMOPHOBE. I realize there is only so much I can do, and yes I wipe down the carts with the lysol wipes and such. But I am not going to keep him in a protective bubble. Kids get sick. Fact of life.

I called my pediatrician's office today to get their take. I like the nurse I spoke with, she's cool (unless making my baby cry, see above). She didn't try to push me in one direction or the other, just listened to my situation. And then explained that the H1N1 vaccination could not be given unless he had the regular flu vaccination. The H1N1 is not available until mid-October, so if I want it for him, he needs to start the regular shot so he can get the booster so he can get the H1N1 in November. Sigh.

I made the snap decision to get the flu shot. It seems like the wisest decision, right? As for H1N1...I am still undecided. I have been scouring the CDC website all day. I guess I have til November to decide on that.

The next conundrum that rears it's ugly face is the Chicken Pox vaccine.

I had the chicken pox as a child. Sure, it sucked and I itched like no other and still have a scar or two on my tummy. But again, I was out of school for a while and I don't remember much else. And I won't get any form of the pox again. EVER.

I am not sure this vaccination can make the same promise to my son. I am thinking of resistant chicken pox strains from space. Overreacting? Yeah, probably. But I am a mother. That's in the job description right?

Would it be horrible to let him get chicken pox and itch his way to a garunteed pox free life? Hmmm, I don't think so. And I am planning to control the itching like Monica did in Fri.ends with oven mitts and duct tape.

HOWEVER. My husband does not remember if he's had the pox. And it is very serious in grown men if they get it. Serious like Isaac would be an only child from what I understand.

Once I learned that, yeah. That will be the determining factor. How do you not remember something like that?

Purell, anyone?


Stacie said...

I am SO glad you posted this because, funny thing, while at work yesterday I went into one of our nurses office to talk to her about my indecisiveness of getting Laney vaccinated with the H1N1 vaccine.

I was telling her that I heard that it's not really being tested very extensively due to the urgency of availability, and that it makes me nervous, yet I don't want her getting sick either.

I am in the same exact boat. Laney did have her flu shot last season since she was old enough. I have sent myself an email reminder to call her Ped about the H1N1 vaccine.

At this time, I still don't know what to do. I have been mulling it over in my mind all week.

I think I need more information. I don't really want to search the internet due to so much mixed information.

I did find out today that the University I work for is mandating that all employees have the flu vaccine and H1N1 vaccine starting October 8. It's not optional unless there are religious and/or medical reasons not to have it.

Anonymous said...

I have lots o' thoughts on what you posted, but more than anything I'm in the same boat: more questions than answers.

This: "And its a daycare that includes children who go to school with other children, who get sick for a multitude of reasons." was the chief reason I wanted to get B both the regular flu vaccine and the H1N1 shot. I'm not so much worried about my house/environment getting him sick, but I can't control his enviornment at daycare and who knows what the other kids' siblings are infected with. I work at a college and I KNOW how sick the kids are around here, I used to be one of them. I didn't want to run the risk of taking something home and giving it to him. For us it just made sense to do the flu shots, and hopefully the H1N1 when it's available. I would much rather endure 15 seconds of crying from the poke than 2 weeks of agony from a kid with the flu. Not to mention the complications that can come from the flu... pneumonia, RSV, etc. Plus it gets c-o-l-d here in the winter, we're all cooped up for months on end with little chance to get fresh air, and I feel like if we get sick we're going to battle it all winter.

Now... the chicken pox vaccine. At this point I have no intention of vaccinating B against the chicken pox. I'd rather he get it as a kid and develop his immunity than run the risk of the vaccine wearing off in adult-hood and him getting it then. Something could change in the coming years. My sister got chicken pox when she was 6 months old (I had it at the same time...) and my mom was always glad she got us both through it together. It just seems like an unneccessary thing at this point.

j has NEVER had the chicken pox, and both my OB and his primary care doc DEMANDED j get the chicken pox vaccine before I even delivered B. They said if j would get the chicken pox in adulthood it's 5 times worse than getting it in childhood, and that he'd easily be out of work 10 days if not hospitalized for a few days as well. The put the fear of God in us and it was an easy decision for j just to get the shot. They said they can test his blood to see if it has antibodies to fight the pox if he'd ever get it, but that it was just as easy to get the shot. Please please check this out for your hubby - maybe he's had it and it slips his mind, but at least have him ask his doc about it. I'd hate for him to be out of commission if Isaac brings something home from school in 5 years, KWIM.

Holy long comment batman! :)

The Grady Chronicles said...

I forget if I told you or not but Tommy got the first flu shot this week and, surprisingly, he barely even flinched when it poked him. In fact, he made a quick sad face and didn't even cry.......I don't know if it doesn't sting as much as other shots or if it was just dumb luck.

Gail said...

Sara, (I spelled your name right!) I have no experience in this child world, but a couple of my friends have faced this same debacle. As far as the chicken pox vaccine goes, they've all nixed the idea. I can see why, it's relatively unnecessary since the kids usually get it in preschool or kindergarten and it just feels a little unnatural. I barely remember chicken pox, except for the popsicles and Nickelodeon. Again, I'm not a parent, but I just hate the idea of injecting kids with things they don't need (excluding MMR, DtAP, etc) because of the possible threat of autism or other health issues. It does concern me that Ben doesn't remember chicken pox, so maybe he needs the vaccine. It's a scary thing to get that in adulthood!

As far as H1N1 goes, I will be for sure avoiding that one. I've always had trouble with the couple flu shots I've been given and I've had the flu exactly twice in my life (knock on wood) so I'm not concerned. With babies it is so much more extreme, so I don't envy you having to make that decision.