Posts Tagged ‘vaccines’

So one afternoon about two weeks ago I got this phone call from call from Matthew’s school:

Me:  “Hello?”

Secretary:  “Hi, this is the secretary from _ _ _ _ _ _ Elementary and our records show that he is past due for his Hep A vaccination.  He will not be able to return to school tomorrow until his shots are updated.”

Me:  “Um……huuuuuuuuu????” 

Panick slowly began to set in.  I had 2 major  reasons to panick. One of the reasons was not only did I have to subject him to getting poked in the arm by some stranger, I had to do it that very day! There’s no time for planning. No time for preparing.  No time to print out an illustrated social story.  Getting a shot is definitely not part of the Monday routine. 

A second reason I was panicking was because I knew that as soon  as Matt figured out he was going to get a shot, he would practically gnaw his own arm off to get away from us all.  Think of the anxiety a typical kid has when going to the doctor’s to get a shot. Now multiply that by 10. It’s an ugly picture and it’s the primary reason that we have put it off for so long. 

You might be waiting for me to give a 3rd reason of not wanting him to get his vaccine.  Many people have asked if I felt that vaccinations played a role in causing my son’s autism.  There is a great deal of controversy about a  possible MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rebella)shot and Autism link. A mercury based preservative called thimerisal was used in combination vaccine’s, such as the MMR vaccine. Over 10 years ago,  British  gastroenterologist Dr. Andrew Wakefield researched and published evidence about an autism /vaccination link. They conducted a study of twelve children with behavioral and/or intestinal disorders http://discovermagazine.com/2009/jun/06-why-does-vaccine-autism-controversy-live-on .  From this study, Wakefield and his colleagues concluded that 8 out of these 12 children developed autism within days of their MMR vaccine.  So in 2001, thimerisal was removed from all childhood vaccinations (except for influenza).  It was later discovered in 2004 that Dr. Wakefield had manipulated the 12 patient’s data that sparked this scare in the first place.  http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article5683671.ece

 So, do I believe that my son’s autism was caused by his childhood vaccines?  No.  But that’s not to say that it isn’t a trigger for others.  Truth is, we just don’t know. It hasn’t been proven.  Matthew was born in 2002 and I always asked the nurse to show me the ingredients label on his vaccines.  I never saw thimerisal.  Even with the removal of thimerisal in childhood vaccines, children are increasingly becoming diagnosed with autism. There is also speculation  that possibly other ingredients in vaccines besides thimerisal play a role. I am not yet convinced but at the same time, I do space the shots out as far apart as I possibly can.  

There are many people in the autism community who are 100% certain that vaccines are responsible for causing their child’s and many other children’s autism.  I respect the feelings and opinions of these parents.  It is such a sensitive and personal topic.  I just feel personally, that it is not what caused my son’s autism. I was actually condemned by one parent in the autism community for giving my child his vaccines. I was accused of not “caring about my son”.  Then I accused her of being a jerk. This was via internet. Because of that I decided never to join autism message boards.   

Back to Matt’s vaccination appt. There I was,  trying to create a game plan on how to get Matthew down to the doctor’s office to get him the  Hep A shot.  John would certainly be helping, but I knew that just he and I wouldn’t be enough.  How were we going manage to get him to the doctor’s office in one piece?  Aha!  I just remembered some leftover liquid Larazapam (a potent anti anxiety medication) in the cupboard.  Matt’s dr. prescribed it to him last summer when he had to go in and get an ingrown toe nail removed.  With her permission, I administered 1.5mil of the medicine one hour before his shot appt.  As soon as he began acting loopy, we put him in the car.  “Come on, Matt. We’re going to see a nurse.”  I said cheerfully.  The loopiness stopped. “Do I get a poke?”  he asked. “Ummm, well, lets talk to the nurse first.”

 That was all it took before he screamed, kicked,  and cried in the car. Mind you, he was holding it together. It would have been much worse and probably impossible without the Lorazapam.  After a torturous 1 hour wait in the lobby, they finally asked us to come on back where there was a nurse not much taller than I am waiting with a needle.  “Is there anybody else that can help restrain him?”, I asked. “He is stronger than you may think.”  The nurse responded, “Sorry, all the other nurses and staff are at a flu shot clinic.  I am the only one here.” 

John convinced me, that we could do this, so he put Matt in a strait-jacket type hold as I held his legs to keep him from kicking the tiny nurse.  “All done!”, she said. 

I’ve seen many kids freak out and then once the shot was over, they would kind of sigh and sometimes giggle.  Not Matt, he began screaming, “I GOT A SHOT! I GOT A SHOT!”  You would have thought he was shouting “I’VE BEEN SHOT!”.  So as we walked through the lobby to head out the door, one woman looked at him and smiled.  Clearly she was trying to make him feel better, but he perceived her as laughing at him.  “I GOT A SHOT AND IT’S NOT FUNNY!”, he shouted at her. 

Once we got him in the car, we promised to take him through McDonalds drive-through as a reward for his bravery. After shoveling 10 french fries in his mouth, he promptly threw up in the car.  Thank goodness for leather seats. Much easier to clean.


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