Sometimes sticking to your guns is hard

I took Tia to the doctor yesterday for her 4 year exam.  I made the mistake of telling her the night before about the appointment, which caused much consternation and dread as she knew they would have to examine her ears.  Shots?  No – she wasn’t scared of those.  But the doctor taking a tiny peek inside her ear canal caused hyperventilation.

She did not dissapoint in the drama department with the ear exam came.  She screamed bloody murder.  She kicked, she flailed, I had to lay on top of her to keep her still.  The doctor was able to see inside enough to know that Tia’s eardrums are, indeed, no longer visible due to wax build up…again.  But, because she seems to be hearing fine at this point and cleaning out her ears without sedation is out of the question, we let it go.  We will probably have to have her sedated again next year before she starts kindergarten.

Cleaning out that girl’s ears is getting expensive.

After we talked a bit, the doctor told me that Tia would be receiving two immunizations, then she packed up her stuff and left.  I didn’t think to ask her what the immunizations would be – I should have.  It was my mistake for not asking…and maybe her mistake for not saying it in the first place.

Just before the nurse came in to administer the shots, I checked the sheet and noticed that one of the shots was the chicken pox vaccination.  This is a vaccine that Lee and I have decided, for the time being, to pass on.  (we are skipping or delaying several vaccinations.  You can read about why we decided to do that here.)  So when the nurse came in, I told her that I didn’t want Tia to receive that shot.  Her eyes narrowed and she got a peeved look on her face.

“It’s a $70.00 shot and I’ve already drawn it up.  It is only good for 30 minutes after it’s drawn up,” she said.  And my heart sank.  I honestly didn’t know what to do.  So I asked for a minute to think about it.  I wasn’t able to get in touch with Lee so I called my mother-in-law and got her opinion, then the nurse came back.

I felt really terrible, but I couldn’t justify giving Tia the shot simply because I didn’t want to waste the vaccine.  Had I known before the doctor left the room I would have declined the shot earlier, but the circumstances left me to decide what I felt was best for my child.  So I declined the shot.

To the nurse’s credit, though she was obviously annoyed, she did not treat me poorly and was very forgiving as I apologized profusely.  She did want to know why I wasn’t comfortable giving Tia the vaccine and I explained to her that I just don’t think it’s a warranted vaccination and I want to wait until more research is done on the long term effectiveness of that particular vaccination.  At this point, it’s considered to only be effective for up to ten years, which means kids are going to need booster shots likely for the rest of their lives whereas if they would only receive the chicken pox in childhood they would build up an effective immunity.

Now, the obvious dilemma in not giving them the vaccine is that it will be extremely difficult to expose them to chicken pox in childhood since almost everyone is being immunized.  Which means that sometime down the road we may have to vaccinate them.  But this is a shot that I have no problem holding off on and waiting until more research is done.  If we have to give it to her later, then neither Lee nor I have a problem in doing that.

She may not be too happy with us, of course, but we’ll cross that bridge later.

Yesterday, however, I felt terribly guilty and even a little embarrassed.  While the nurse was patient with me, I imagine I was discussed as one of those crazy paranoid mothers after I left.  And I’m really not a crazy paranoid mother.  But I am an aware mother and I hold firm to the fact that, ultimately, I am responsible for these little lives placed in my care and it is more important to me that I stick to my guns and fight for what I feel is right than bend on my convictions so that the doctor isn’t out a $70.00 vaccination.

Thankfully, my husband confirmed my decision when I got home…

What are your thoughts?


To the right you will notice I’ve added a banner for this Saturday’s Help Haiti Live benefit that’s being put on be Compassion International.  It is a one night, two city concert being broadcast from both Los Angelos and Nashville.  If you are in either of those areas you can purchase tickets and see the event live.  If you are nowhere near, then you can watch the event live via the lovely internet.  Consider taking part and contributing to the fundraiser they are sponsoring to continue the work of rebuilding Haiti.


  1. Dr. Estela Hunt says

    First of all it is not YOUR FAULT. It is the Doctor’s fault for not allowing you to have informed consent for treatment. It is his job to give you all the information and for him to simple say that she is going to have 2 shots and not tell you what they are for then it is 100% his fault. You did the right thing! I am proud of you for not allowing the nurse to convince you to do something that you did not want to do because of money… (their money)
    had they given you the information you would have saved them the hassle/waste. There is no point down any line I will vaccinate my children with ChickenPox vaccine.
    Thanks for posting this blog I think more parents need to stick to their guns and not let dr.s and nurses guilt them into doing things when they are not completely informed.

  2. I agree with Estela! They can’t just say, “You’re getting shots,” leave the room, and expect you to go along with the program without knowing what you are consenting to.

    And $70 for that shot!! That’s stupid. Chicken pox in general is not a deadly virus. I would rather my kids actually get it in childhood than have to get boosters for the rest of their lives.

    I would have made the same decision. 🙂

  3. I think it’s pretty interesting that your story yesterday was all about standing up for yourself too. Yesterday, you were proud of yourself for defending against a creepy man. Today, however, I sense a hesitancy when you stood up for your kids. Just because you’re going counter-cultural at this point, your actions are no less honorable and courageous! Be PROUD of defending your precious little ones against something that might hurt them in the future!! We are definitely proud of you! 🙂

  4. 1. I agree with Dr. Hunt: NOT YOUR FAULT! Don’t even internalize that event like that.

    2. It doesn’t matter what people think of you or say about you when you are doing what you know is right. It really doesn’t. It took me a lot of years to get to this place but I don’t lose any sleep or peace wondering what people think of me when I’m doing what is right.

  5. Whew, you are so right about how hard it is to stick to those guns. I’ve had so many issues, red tape, etc. because of my decisions with the kids and their vaccinations (esp. since we are in the Army).

    I get so many dirty looks and so many comments about how I’m blowing this vaccination thing out of proportion. But Amy S. set me straight. She said to me recently that no one ever said doing what is right would be easy. This stuff is hard for me not because I care what people think but because I want to do what is right for my kids and I *feel* like there is a lot of information out there that seems to me to go both ways.

    Way to go for not letting the nurse bulldoze you! In the end, you did what I can’t do sometimes!

  6. You know, I woke up with the chicken pox on the day of the 8th birthday party. It ruined the party, but I was cured and moved on with it. I can’t understand why there is a vaccine for it. Chicken pox is a normal part of childhood, we have all had it. I agree with you on it being unwarranted thing and think you made the right decision for your family.

    On a side note- I have always wondered if the starving kids in Africa thing might be part of the childhood and adult obesity problems because people are trained to finish everything and not waste it. Getting an unwarranted, unwanted vaccine just to prevent waste seems like the same thing. Random thoughts by Melody Meiners, haha

  7. Wow. Thanks for all the encouragement guys! I really appreciate it. I know that this vaccination thing can be a touchy subject. 🙂

    And for the record, I do really like my doctor and do not hold yesterday’s incident against her or her nurse. And while I know I annoyed them, they were very kind and they have been great at working out a vaccination schedule that I’m comfortable with for my kids. Not that I think they read this here blog or anything, but I just wanted to clarify that I don’t harbor any ill feelings toward them. In fact, I’m grateful that they didn’t pressure me any more and gave me the freedom to say no! Some doctors wouldn’t do that.

  8. Don’t you have to sign off on the form to allow for the shots before she leaves the room? Sato always tells me what shots the girls will be getting and I have to sign off on them.

  9. I am proud of you for standing up. Children are in our care…a gift from God. It is our gift (not chore) to take care of and love them unconditionally. When my children were young I didn’t know I had a choice. I am not sure I would or would not have went through with it, but at least I would have had a choice. Bravo to you for waiting.

  10. candy martin says

    You make your mama proud!

  11. ugh, I hate moments like that…when you don’t know what to do and you can’t get ahold of your man! Way to stick to a decision!

  12. Julie – I have to sign off with the nurse when she brings the shots into the room. Which is, again, why I didn’t know which shots would be administered before she came in. Usually the dr. does tell me, yesterday was a fluke thing. I’m sure from now one she’ll tell me…either that or I’ll ask!