Monday, November 17, 2008

Mother's Intuition, Or Is It?

I had an awful scare at Nathan's pediatric appointment the other day. He was in for his four year check up, nothing out of the ordinary, right? While there I was asked by the nurse as well as the pediatrician about giving him the flu shot. Being a little leery of "new" vaccinations or drugs, (Have I mentioned before I have been called "over protective?) I declined. I guess saying I was "asked" by them is putting it mildly. Saying that I was lectured by the pediatrician about him having it would be more appropriate. She was almost unrelenting as she told me the side effects were all but none existent and expounded on the dangers of the flu itself instead of the vaccine. She also expressed to me the falsehood of how people will say that they were not even sick until they received the flu vaccine and then they got the flu. She said this is completely false and if you get the flu after receiving the vaccine, you were already exposed before the vaccine was able to "get into your system" to prevent it.

Although I had repeatedly said no to the vaccine during this office visit, I was starting to re-think my decision after hearing how serious the effects of the flu would be on my son and how negligent I would be as a parent to knowingly reject the vaccine, especially since there were little to NONE side effects. I apprehensively agreed and finally gave the go ahead although I still had reservations. As most of you know, Nathan was traumatized by the antibiotic injections he had during his time of back to back ear infections and I didn't want a repeat of arm flailing and screaming. I decided to ask him if the nurse could give him a "shot" in his thigh and to my surprise he answered yes! Not only that, but he wanted to watch!

I sat him up on the table and the nurse soon came in ready to take care of business. She had release form for me to sign with questions about egg allergies. Seems this is what the flu vaccine is derived from. Hmmm, imagine that. Anyway, she cleaned his little thigh off and thumped the needle and before you know it, it was over. Nathan, much to my surprise and the nurse's, didn't shed a tear or take his eyes off the procedure from start to finish. "You are definitely going to the treasure box today" she told him. I pulled his jeans up and fastened them and we strolled out the door headed to the receptionist desk. We passed the dr. in the hallway and she seemed very pleased I heeded her advice. "Don't forget to make an appointment for one month" she said to me. "He will need to get the second half." What?!!!! She never mentioned a second half to me. Seems there is two parts for children under the age of nine. I wondered to myself why she didn't tell me this previously.

I continued on to the check out desk and told the receptionist that I needed to bring him back in one month for part two. As she was trying to get me scheduled Nathan tugged on my leg and let me know that he was suppose to go to the toy chest to get his prize. He sure hadn't forgotten that and didn't want me to either. I mentioned to the young lady the nurse had promised the chest and she proceeded to look for it. (It was her first day at this office) I informed her is was in the bottom drawer of the file cabinet behind her. She allowed us to come around the partition and opened the drawer much to Nathan's delight. I told him to pick just one and he did so happily. He chose a toy exactly like the one he chose the last visit. It was a small rubber dinosaur. He was happy! We went back around the desk to finish the scheduling. As we worked out the day, I felt Nathan tug on my leg and when I looked down, he said to me with a gnarled up face, "Mommy, My tummy hurts" Suddenly, as I started to ask him questions, he turned a wax white. I have never seen him look this pale and his lips were turning blue! I picked him up (he was just limp at this point) and immediately knew he was having a reaction to the flu shot!

I had two nurses guiding me back to the examining room as they were calling for the pediatrician. Funny, how I can remember hearing her heels clicking on the tile floor as she hurried to where we were. They were telling me to lay him down on the table. I did, but I didn't move completely away from him. No need to tell you how scared I was. He was placed on a monitor for his breathing and heart rate. Thank the Lord, He was still conscious. I still hand my hands on him and begin to pray. Yes, I am one of those who definitely believes in the "laying on of hands" as the bible instructs. His color began to come back and he wanted something to drink. His pediatrician got him some water. I stayed right by his side until I knew he was ABSOULUTELY, WITHOUT A DOUBT, FINE! Of course I am thinking to myself how I knew NOT to get this flu shot, but I went against my intuition! Ugghhhh!!!!! As Christians, we know better than this!

Nathan's pediatrician had no explanation for his reaction to the vaccine. She knew I would not allow him to have the second half. She did, however, apologize to me. She even told me that she wished she would not have kept trying to persuade me, knowing that I was not comfortable with it. *sigh* Who could have known, right? I haven't heard of anyone else having issues with this, have you?

Once again, I am thankful for the loving care of my heavenly father. I don't know what I would do without Him taking care of me and my family.


Lisa said...

I am so happy that Nathan is ok. I too took the flu and I got sick to but not tha bad and quick. I'm sorry you both had to deal with this. Take care.

Dapoppins said...

Oh, you are such an awesome mom...this makes me think of my third child. Drs thought he would be big and wanted me to have a C section. I wasn't really comfortable with the idea. Okay, I was obsessively uncomfortable with the idea. And didn't think I needed one. I even cancled the surgery...drs were all upset. Well baby was born perfect. They were worried he was too big. He wasn't at all~

We had flu inhalers this year, even my daughter who is four, just like nose drops. I have never had flu shots before, but last season my kids were sick all of the time so I thought what the heck...? I will try. So far so good....just goes to show...

MOTHER knows best!

I am glad everything is okay!I love that you went right to the Lord when you were afraid...!

Beth/Mom2TwoVikings said...

Oh, Debbie! I'm so glad he's OK! We don't get the flu shots here either - no big ethical or philosophical reasons, just haven't seen a need and our pediatrician practice offers them but doesn't push them.

I can't remember ever having the flu; DaHubby says it's been more than 8 years since he remembers having it; and I'm pretty sure that the Vikings (being germy little preschoolers and all LOL) would have gotten by now. We've had stomach bugs go around the house but never more than 24 hrs worth.

Thanking God for the fact that my kids are basically healthy to start with makes the shots seem unnecessary.

Lady of Value said...

Oh my! I know that was so scary to you both!! I'm glad it turned out ok. We are supposed to get the flu shot every year b/c of Rachel's diabetes, but we just don't.

Glad to see you posting again, we miss you!

Heather L. Maurer said...

Thank you for your posting. It is so important for mothers to tell stories like this. This is part of the education process. It is also important for the medical establishment to know that we are not crazy about our concerns. Nobody should force anyone into doing anything they don't want. Your simply answer of no should have been repsected. Period. I wrote the following and wanted to share it with others. Informed consent.

HOLD OFF on the recommendation of the Flu Vaccine for Everyone
Flu vaccine manufactures inserts state other wise--double check the facts
by Heather L. Maurer

Not all flu vaccines are recommended for everyone. Take the time to educate yourself about which flu vaccine if any you and your children receive this year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommend that children from the ages of 6 months through 18 years be vaccinated annually against the flu. However, the warnings and manufacturers specificity of the use in specific populations may cause you to pause before receiving or giving your child this year’s flu vaccine.

The FDA’s website ( released information about the "2008/2009 Season Lot release Status" as of October 14, 2008 and that these vaccines are available for distribution. The specific flu vaccines they list (by trade name) are, Afluria, Fluarix, Flulaval, FluMist, Fluvirin and Fluzone.

FluMist which is commonly used for children because of its ease in administering warns, “Do not administer FluMist to children less than 24 months of age because of increased risk of hospitalization and wheezing observed in clinical trials. FluMist should not be administered to any individuals with asthma or children less than five years of age with recurrent wheezing because of the potential for increased risk of wheezing post vaccination.”

Fluarix manufactures insert states, “is not indicated for use in children; should not be administered to anyone with known systemic hypersensitivity reactions to egg proteins, (eggs or egg products), to children proteins, or to anyone component of Fluarix or who has had a life-threatening reaction to previous administration of any influenza vaccine.” Parents need to ask their doctors which vaccine your children are receiving. Doctors should be aware not to give children this particular vaccine.

It has been stated by the media, the government and the various Pediatric associations, that the flu vaccine is deemed safe and effective by federal health authorities. For parents who are still worried about thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative, there is only a few flu vaccines that do not contain it and are considered safe to give to children under the age of four.

The six listed flu vaccines on the FDA’s website for the 2008/2009 year, only one out of the six doesn’t contain thimerosal, FluMist.

The CDC outlines on their website vaccines that are safe and thimerosal free. Specifically, Fluzone, Inactivated TIV, single dose pre-filled 0.25 MlSyringe or the Fluzone, Inactivated TIV, Single-dose pre-filled 0.5 mL syringe or vial doesn’t contain thimerosal preservative however the same trade name, Fluzone, Inactivated TIV multi-dose vial does contain thimerosal.

Fluvirin, Inactivated TIV, multi-dose vial, recommended for children four years and older contains thimerosal as well as their single-dose pre-filled 0.5 mL syringe. The CDC states, “Preservative free (1 mcg or less mercury/0.5 ml) which indicates there is trace amount of thimerosal in the vaccine.

FluMist is the only one that doesn’t however it is not recommended for children under two years of age and one of the side effects listed is wheezing.

The Public Health Service, FDA, NIH, CDC and HRSA issued the following statement, “As a precautionary measure, the Public Health Service (including the FDA, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics issued two Joint Statements, urging vaccine manufacturers to reduce or eliminate thimerosal in vaccines as soon as possible (CDC 1999) and (CDC 2000).” Why are these manufactures still using thimerosal, the mercury based preservative, in vaccines?

In 2001, the American Academy of Pediatrics stated that “mercury in all of its forms is toxic to the fetus and children and efforts should be made to reduce exposure to the extent possible pregnant women and children as well as the general population.”

Fluarix, Fluzone, Flulaval, FluMist, Fluarix and Afluria all have under the “Use in Specific Populations section” that the safety of these vaccines have not been established for pregnant women, and nursing mothers. “Animal reproduction studies have not been conducted with Fluarix. It is not known whether Fluarix can case fetal harm when administered to pregnant women or can affect reproduction capacity. Fluarix should be given to pregnant women only if clearly needed,” according to the Fluarix manufactures insert. And yet the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AGOG) recommend in early October 2008 that women, including those who are pregnant, get their annual influenza vaccine. The CDC states on its website that because of a study of 2,000 pregnant women and that no adverse fetal effects from this group of women were reported nor associated with the flu vaccine that it is safe. The website states, “Is it safe for pregnant women to receive an influenza vaccine that contains thimerosal? Yes. A study of influenza vaccination examining over 2,000 pregnant women demonstrated no adverse fetal effects associated with influenza vaccine. Case reports and limited studies indicate that pregnancy can increase the risk for serious medical complications of influenza. One study found that out of every 10,000 women in their third trimester of pregnancy during an average flu season, 25 will be hospitalized for flu related complications. Additionally, influenza-associated excess deaths among pregnant women have been documented during influenza pandemics. Because pregnant women are at increased risk for influenza-related complications and because a substantial safety margin has been incorporated into the health guidance values for organic mercury exposure, the benefits of influenza vaccine with reduced or standard thimerosal content outweighs the theoretical risk, if any, of thimerosal.”

Why any woman caring a child would put themselves at risk to receive this specific vaccine when the manufacture states they are not sure if it is safe? Where is the CDC getting its information about the safety? Is there a specific flu vaccine that the manufacturer is willing to state it has tested the safety for pregnant women? If so, then why are they not stating the trade name of this “safe” vaccine and let pregnant women know specifically which one to receive if they choose to do so. And if the American Academy of Pediatrics stated that “mercury in all of its forms is toxic to the fetus and children and efforts should be made to reduce exposure to the extent possible pregnant women and children as well as the general population” they why would anyone consider it safe to expose their unborn child to the flu vaccine? Is the CDC aware of the manufactures warnings?

New studies are showing that the flu vaccine is ineffective. Last year, it was reported that the flu vaccine was only 40% effective in those who received it. The odds weren’t exactly in the favor of those who received it. If the manufactures miss again, and choice the wrong strands of the flu virus, then it appears to me all we have done is put a boat load of money, again, into the pockets of one of the most lucrative industries out there, the pharmaceutical industry! And at what cost to our children, ourselves and our immune systems?

Unashamed said...

Oh my goodness. My heart was in my throat as I read this. He's ok though, right?

We have never got the flu shot in the past. Nobody is in the high risk category and we are all healthy. If we get sick, we stay home. I don't care what they say, I'm not convinced it is necessary. That being said, Ken and I ARE getting it this year because we don't want to take the chance of getting sick over our vacation. That would not be fair to the other travellers, you know? Anyways, praising God with you for his loving care! Say hi to Nathan for me. He likes me from a distance, remember :)

Unashamed said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sara said...

Hey, Debbie. Glad Nathan's OK.

A lot of vaccines are grown in chicken embryos - not just flu. Also, people who choose to have their children vaccinated against the flu should ask for mercury-free vaccines. I'm pretty sure here in NY, thimerosal preserved vaccines will be illegal in 2009.

sara said...

Oh and the flu vaccine is not always a two parter - only if they haven't received it before. It's to make sure the titers are high enough to work.

~Karen~ said...

Hi Debbie,
I am just now getting around to reading and catching up with everyone. I'm so glad your little one is ok now.
My doctor also tried to convince us to get the vaccine, but she also said that if we aren't "prone" to getting the flu, then she would not take the shot. The only one in our family that gets it is Christie, as she has a chronic disease, and they highly recommend it for her.
I wanted to tell you that I missed your question about the china pattern until today, so I will look in the cabinet a little later, and let you know.
Thanks for stopping by!
Have a wonderful week,