To Vaccinate, Or Not To Vaccinate

it’s not really a question.

And I used to be in the “leave it up to the parents” camp.

Yeah, I shouldn’t go there, but I’m going to anyway, because I have an opinion.

I can count the times I’ve heard my mother say “eww.” She’s worked in critical care units or done wound care for her entire nursing career so it’s really hard to get her to say “eww” to anything. So when she does I know its bad news.

She’s said it anytime she’s decided that I needed to go to the Emergency Room and the time the childcare center I worked at had outbreaks of Lice, Pertussis, and Chicken Pox in a 24 hour period.

Oh and I had to help confirm the Chicken Pox case because I had the Chicken Pox (the vaccine wasn’t available for a few years after I had them). It was a delightful experience. Not.

We had to put 3 classrooms into “isolation” which basically meant isolating 6 rooms (without going into the nitty gritty). In a building with just 14 class rooms isolating 3-6 rooms can get complicated if you don’t have experienced staff.

I was quickly put to work reviewing & requesting updated vaccination records. Reviewing over 200 files isn’t really that complicated but it is tedious and agitating, not to mention somewhat unnecessary.

What I didn’t realize is the potential affects the unvaccinated have on me personally. I’m relatively young and healthy so what’s the harm?

A few years ago I passed a kidney stone. After said event, because it was indeed an event, people kept commenting on how amazed they were that I was functioning so well afterwards. I just thought well I have a high pain threshold so that’s what they must be talking about. I was tired sometimes but it was summer so I thought it was related to heat related muscle fatigue that affects me every year.

During a regular follow up with the PM&R Doctor he asked how I was recovering from passing a kidney stone. I told him I was fine, but the summer heat was kicking my butt more than usual. He told me that it probably wasn’t the heat as much as it was the trauma of ridding my body of a kidney stone.

Because extreme pain (Check) and/or illness can be especially traumatic to those with neurological conditions (which CP is) so it can take a while to feel back to normal. So I asked what kind of time frame I was looking at for being back to normal.

About 6 months.

That’s half a year.

I then asked if there was anything I could do preemptively if I was ever in a situation such as this ever again.

Unfortunately no.

I thought about my day in the ER & overnight in an overcrowded room since I was now clear of extreme pain, and then the relief of Morphine, and then the utter exhaustion I succumbed to once they were “pretty sure” the stone had passed.

I could barely walk to the bathroom for the urine samples I could barely give them and my legs acted like independent beings onto themselves whenever I was sitting or lying down (try to pee with your legs going in completely opposite directions, it’s a downright circus act). In hindsight I should’ve brought my wheelchair but that didn’t come to mind in the heat of the moment.

I can try my hardest to keep myself healthy and pray to God that everything not under my control doesn’t happen but I can’t just rely on prayer in this case.

I (and others like myself, and those who cannot be vaccinated, especially) shouldn’t have to pay the price because I’ve done everything in my power to stay healthy while you choose to leave your child (or even yourself) susceptible to highly contagious illnesses just because you read or heard one thing once.

If there were a vaccine against Ebola people would be fighting each other for access to it, while illnesses like Measles and the Chicken Pox are much more contagious than Ebola, yet people choose to forgo those vaccinations.

Bottom line? If your child isn’t fully vaccinated they shouldn’t be allowed in school or in public places where there might be immune compromised individuals, because it’s not just about your feelings about your child’s health. We live in a global society and we all need to act responsibly.

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