Friday, October 23, 2009

Good Intentions

More doctor crap, but not about me this time:

So a few days ago I took Addy in for her four year check up. Usually a trip to the pediatrician leaves me sweaty and frantic and ready to look up the laws re: child abandonment in our state, but this time, despite the hour and half of waiting, I managed to stay calm and keep them reasonably entertained and not climbing the walls. (And this without my morning coffee. Perhaps the adrenal booster is working?) They were being well behaved, I was being well behaved: all was well.

And then the dreaded vaccination discussion. Apparently she was due for four separate shots, or maybe it was four vaccinations, but two were combined so it was three shots? Anyways, a LOT of different live viruses being injected all at once. And I wasn't really cool with it, especially since she's still kind of low weight for her age and she's just so pale and FRAGILE looking. She doesn't exactly seem like a hale, robust child who could fight off four different, albeit tiny, doses of serious illnesses and keep on feeling fine while doing so. So I asked if we could stagger the vaccines, and still have her caught up by preschool next year. Not a big deal.

They agreed in the end- I mean, they can't FORCE the needles into her thighs without my permission. But they kept whining about how it's so much EASIER to get it all over with at once, and the younger the better, so that the kid doesn't remember the shots and then hate the doctor and the nurses. And it's so much better when they're smaller so that they're easier to hold down. All I could think was, "This is all stuff for YOUR benefit. Why would I make this decision based on what's going to be easiest for you guys?!"

In the end I let them give her one booster shot, the combined one for polio and pertussis- I've heard about some outbreaks of pertussis (whooping cough) lately and it really sounds awful, so I thought we'd better get on that one. And wouldn't you know, she held perfectly still, didn't require any holding down, nor any convincing that the doctor and nurses weren't evil people bent on stabbing her. She didn't even cry, and she THANKED the nurse before we left! (Bribe her with a Dum-Dum sucker, though, and she'd probably let you break her leg without much fuss.) I felt pretty smug. Totally nixed THAT argument for doing all the shots at once!

But later, at four o' clock the next morning, she was awake, crying and clammy, with a fever of one hundred and four and complaining that her stomach hurt. I was immediately awake, jolted with adrenaline and fear. Her forehead was so hot against my lips, her gaze so vacant. Once tucked into our bed, she said very little in complaint to our repeated attempts to gauge her temperature and administer medicine, which was the strangest thing of all. Not to be melodramatic, but she just looked so pitiful laying there against my pillow, all bright red cheeks against white, white face and glassy eyes.

She was fine by morning; a dose of Tylenol helped her to sleep, her fever broke, and she was back to her old self. It was obviously a result of the vaccination, though, so I can't help still feeling really yucky about it. Good job preventing that vaccine reaction, Mommy! And fevers in the nighttime are always so scary feeling to me. I become Ma Ingalls, huddling over my sick baby with washcloths and a furrowed brow, wondering if this is just a fever, or is it YELLOW FEVER? ARE WE ALL GOING TO DIE?

16 comments:

Scottish Twins said...

Polio is the worst one - the one that they have told me is most likely to cause a reaction. And wouldn't you know it - that's the only one David has had a reaction to.

You did the right thing, listening to your gut and not letting them talk you into anything you didn't want to do.

Yes, she may have had a reaction to one of those vaccines, but just imagine if you would have given her two more on top of that. Her reaction could have been way worse!

Scottish Twins said...

Oh and I forgot (doh) - I hope she feels better soon. Poor girl :(

Mimi said...

Good thing you didn't let them give her all the shots at once. Mommy instinct... you can't deny it.

I just took my almost four y.o. in for a flu shot and he took it so well that I am now under the impression that older is WAY BETTER for getting shots.

Michelle said...

I hope she's all back to normal. Poor thing. Good for you for sticking up for your daughter and doing what works for her and your family. Do remember to let them know she had a pretty severe reaction so they can note it in her chart. You don't want anyone giving her multiple vaccines by mistake or miscommunication.

Hillary said...

Poor little thing. What a good momma you are, sticking to your guns about the multiple vaccines. Those decisions just never get easier.

Swistle said...

I read this totally differently than the feeling-yucky-about-it, as a YOU ROCK thing: you guessed the vaccinations would be a lot for her, so you only did one. And it WAS a lot for her, and so you were totally RIGHT to do one and not all. YOU ROCK. And I also think you were right to choose the one that included pertussis---whooping cough is super dangerous. I will not go into my two anecdotal evidences of this, because HEAVEN KNOWS WE DON'T NEED THAT. We will just leave it at YOU ROCK and you were TOTALLY RIGHT and the doctor's office should not have tried to argue about it with you (LIKE IT MATTERS if she's 4 years 2 months or 4 years 4 months for "remembering vaccinations"). YOU ROCK.

Fran said...

You did the absolutely right thing! How sad that doctors dismiss the feelings and instincts of the mothers. Shame on them for arguing with you. Very glad she is feeling better now :)

Marie Green said...

I'm not one to over-react when my kids are sick, but when they run fevers at night, they usually sleep with me. I just feel better, having them close, so I can assure myself that YES they are still breathing.

Why is nighttime so much scarier than daytime? WHY?

Jess said...

I agree that you absolutely did the right thing for Addy. I do wonder if perhaps the underlying reason that the doctors are so gung-ho on doing it now, and a reason they wouldn't want to express to the mother, is that sometimes people SAY they'll come back to finish the shots, and don't. So they want to make sure the kids are all vaccinated when they get the chance, you know?

d e v a n said...

I'm glad she's feeling bette! Sounds like you did the right thing, for sure!!

Jana said...

Ugh. Vaccines scare the crap out of me these days. But you totally did the right thing in asking that they split them up. Way to use your mommy instinct - to echo Swistle - you rock!

Anonymous said...

Good for you! My dad is a chiropractor and I work for one now, so I was never vaccinated and either are my children. I think it's the worst when they try to force it on you in the doctor's office, but I'm glad you stuck to your original plan. Can you imagine how much worse it could have been if she had been given them all? Hope she's feeling better!

Mommy Daisy said...

Aww, poor girl. I hate vaccinating. I do it, but sometimes with hesitation. And I rarely get anything that's "unnecessary". Matt frowns at me sometimes, but it's OK. I'm surprised that they wanted her to get more shots now. Zachariah had his last set at a year (maybe 1 1/2), he just had his 3 year check up (late), and they said he won't need any shots until 5. So he doesn't remember what shots are (no flu shots here yet), and he can wait almost 2 years before he HAS to get more. YES! I like this.

mLou said...

I totally agree with what you did. My daughter has made the non-traditional choices about vactionations since her babies birth (6mo). Abigail has only had those shots that the Ped's office requires in order to be a patient there. AND...if Abigail needs more than one stick at a visit, my daughter will take her back a month later for the other one.
It has been well worth the extra time it takes to go back.

ps. she did get the H1N1 just yesterday!

Katy said...

I think its clear that you made the right decision--she definitely couldn't have handled more than one vaccine. I think you picked a good vaccine to start with. I Read an article that said that the worst diseases are pertussis and polio, so you definitely want to get those vaccines even if you skip most of the others.

There are companies that don't combine vaccines--like just a polio shot or just a pertussis shot. You might have to call around to a few places, but I know one of our local hospitals will do it that way if you ask. You might want to see if that would be possible for Addy if you're worried that she won't tolerate a vaccine well.

I HATE that doctors sometimes make you feel bad about whatever decision you make regarding your child's health. I don't make any decision lightly and really dont' need to be bullied by someone who isn't in the same position as me.

Giselle said...

Good for you...you'll sleep easier having followed your instincts. I hate that sometimes what the nurse is really insistant on, the doctor isn't and vice versa. Get on the same page, already! And my ped. office has 8 doctors...each has their own "hot button" issue, so if you see different doctors, they each panic you about different issues. I now stick with the same doc...so at least I can panic/ignore just one issue at a time. ;)

BTW...mumps is going around in our area. In kids that have been vaccinated...even if it was a while ago. Immunizations aren't fool proof...obviously.