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.