Small children and fools

Elliott is three months old today. As circumstance would have it, she also got her first immunization shots this afternoon at the free clinic. This means both of us are out of sorts, Elle from the vaccines that are now coursing through her body and me from the three or four rounds that went down with the nurse once I told her what I wanted:

“These are the only shots you want for her?”
“Yes.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, I’ve discussed it with my doctor and believe this is what is best for her.”
“You realize that if you follow the recommended schedule we can combine four of the vaccines and she will actually only have to get two shots instead of three?”
“Yes I realize that.”
“Are you sure you want her to have three separate shots?”

At this point, the guilt and the doubt have definitely taken hold, never mind that if we were following the American Association of Pediatrician’s recommended schedule she would be getting three shots today anyway (we skipped Hep B at birth) and a whopping total of six vaccines. Why did we decide to separate the shots and hold off on Polio? I remember why we’re not getting Rotovirus (hasn’t been in use long enough for any reliable data to have been collected) and Hep B (hell-lo, can we say “not at risk?”), but I can’t remember exactly why it seemed safer to eliminate Polio for the time being and have DTaP, Prevnar and Hib given separately. I feel like an idiot. Like a Very Bad Mom. And this time around I’ve actually read The Vaccine Book, I’ve even discussed it with my (non-medicaid) doctor, but in this moment, it’s all a jumble. Not that it’s any of this woman’s business anyway, but I feel compelled to justify my decision.

I mumble something about mercury and herd my four children to the seating area. Only the seating area we settle in is right next to the automatic sliding doors, and every time any one of use moves, the doors slide open and shut. Anyone who has sat in a waiting room with an energetic two year old, a three moth old who doesn’t like to sit still and five year old who has been cooped up in a classroom all day can imagine how many times that damn door opened and closed in the ten long minutes we sat there waiting. I swear I could feel the nurses’ judgmental gaze all over me. It didn’t help that the next two families who walked in had both a mother and a father present. Patrick has taken the kids for their shots as often as I have, but I’m pretty sure that Daryl was two months old the last time we showed up as a unified front.

Of course I’m sure I would have handled all this better if we hadn’t just come from the medicaid doctor’s office. This is the third Medicaid doctor we’ve been to in the last year and let me just tell you all there is a reason these doctors’ visits are free. If only I could tell a story like Dooce! I swear this one comes complete with the nicest crack whore you could possibly hope to meet, a doctor who clearly struggled with the English language and who couldn’t make eye contact for longer than a second (well who could after a visit from the crack whore?) and the requisite handful of prescriptions (on average about three per child).

And really? all this comes down to the fact that I am scared. I am always scared when my kids get shots, especially the first round. Their tiny little bodies are being bombarded with so much at once, and there’s always that terrifying risk that my child will be the outlier in the statistics. What if her little body can’t handle it and she’s never the same? I got her to laugh out loud yesterday; I mean really laugh. It was fabulous. Daryl ran to get the video camera but we were all out of tape. Tonight she’s cried longer and harder than she has ever done before. I hold her in my arms – I don’t want to let her go – and the only thing in the universe I want is to be able to protect her and to keep her safe.

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~ by jenzai on November 25, 2008.

5 Responses to “Small children and fools”

  1. You know? This is as powerful as anything I’ve ever read on Dooce, I’m aching for you and Elliott tonight. I wish I had any response better than, “I sure hate the state of healthcare in our country” and “I’m so glad your girls have you advocating for them.”
    You’re awesome, you know that, right?

  2. And I’m so glad I have you out there, advocating for me! Thank you…

    oh, and just so we’re clear, I don’t think that Dooce tells a better story than you. She just happens to tell a particular kind of story in a particularly funny way.

  3. Working on my crack-whore story-telling skills. Next year’s NaNoWriMo, right? No, I know exactly what you mean about the particular funny. Hanging on, now, for the laughing baby live show.

  4. Sharp pointy things (never mind what’s in them) in our babies are tough to take. Do remember, though, that there is someone out there to judge anything you do. No, I’m not trying to mess with your head, but remind you that there are people all over the place on the judging — not just the vaccines, but with everything else. If you had gone with the AAP recommendations, the anti-vax folks think you’re horrible, etc., etc.

    Of *course* you have to do what you believe is best. What else can we do? (And how much bigger a deal is it to have three shots than two, ya know? It’s not like 2 versus 5). Sheesh.

    On the other hand, it’s possible that she was trying very hard to make sure you *did* actually understand your options, especially if she has lots of “crack whores” in there. If that’s the case, she’s not used to the likes of a mom like you — intelligent, conscientious, informed. Ya know?

  5. I’m pretty sure I fall into the “fool” category. When I took you for your shots, the doctor said, “this is what she needs right now”…did I question it? Did I understand what it was, and all the risks, advantages, etc. Heavens no. I said OK; held you out and then spent the rest of the day and night trying to calm you down! Of course I admit I knew the doctor. Thank God I didn’t mess up and you survived to be such a wonderful Mother to your 4 beautiful daughters! I’d have probably been a basket case sitting in that waiting room with the girls and the crazed door and forgotten why we were there……….

    I have to say I loved your description though; perfect! I love you. Elle’s foolish granny

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