Thursday, February 24, 2011

Guilt, Flu Shots, and Boys

Today is the first day that I feel just about normal again.  And, normal feels pretty good.  You know it's easy to forget what normal feels like when you are sick.  And when normal returns, it's so so nice.

I took the baby to the doctor yesterday.  Actually, I had all four boys with me.  Wyatt was still home sick from school.  And, Edison had an early dismissal.  So, off we all went together to the doctor's office.  The look on the nurse's face when she called Joseph's name and she saw ALL of us coming was....well, she didn't look thrilled.

I was having Joseph seen because he was hit the hardest by this whole flu thing.  He spiked a very high temp over the weekend.  I called on Monday but they said to give it one more day. Then on Tuesday he seemed better.  But, yesterday morning he woke with a high temp again. So, I took him in.

They tested him for 'the flu' - whatever the flu is this season.  And, he does indeed have it.  In fact, the doctor said that most likely we all have it since pretty much the whole family is symptomatic.

And then she continued.  Children who haven't been immunized for the flu (mine were not) have been having some serious complications from the flu.  There have been several hospitalizations.  She even mentioned meningitis.  (On top of this I learned through facebook of a local 7 year old girl who died suddenly from complications from the flu). 

As she's telling me all this and I'm holding my sick baby I am experiencing some definite guilt.

You see I've had some strong opinions about the flu shot.  I know there are as many opinions on this topic as there are people.   I have not gotten the flu shot for myself or for my children.  Just so you know, I am not anti-vaccination by any means.  My children receive all their other scheduled vaccinations.  But, the flu shot has seemed unnecessary in my mind.
My reasoning has been this - Our bodies are designed to fight minor illnesses like the cold and flu and in doing so they are able to strengthen our immune systems.  I have feared that we are breeding 'superbugs' by trying to immunize against something that changes each season anyway.  I kept hearing that people who had the flu shot still got sick anyway.  And, it has all seemed like a lot of hype to me and another way for drug companies to cash in.

Now, I'm second guessing myself.  This year's flu hit us hard.  (We even dealt with the swine flu last year and it wasn't as rough as this.)   And it's especially hard seeing the really little ones so miserable.  Am I taking unnecessary chances with my children's health?   Should I be taking every precaution possible to guard against potential sickness?   Even if that means a flu shot?

I really don't know. 
All this being said, I was able to send both my big boys to school today.  It's been almost a week since at least one of them has been home sick.  I'm run down.  Winter and sickness is wearing us all thin.  Boys are bouncing off the walls even more than usual.  And, my patience is almost non-existent.

I feel like a terrible mother to admit it, but, I was so relieved when the bus came to pick them up.  

Which brings us right back to that guilt.  Ugh.  How many more days until Spring?


  1. Please, please just dump that coat of fact I am going to write a post on that one day...I will stand on my soapbox and yell!!! You can't win in this game of do or not have shots!!! I have never, nor have any of my kids had flu shots, nor do I intend to. I also don't follow all the shots schedules...we only take select ones, which is fine with my doctor. So you do what is right for you and just drop that guilt a mom we will never do what someone else's feels is right...we will not hit a home run...we are obedient and leave the rest to the Lord.

    You should have seen the looks I got when my kids caught chicken pox...since there is now a vaccination...but then again someone had to have it for them to catch it. ...LOL

    I am glad you are feeling better...if you get a chance stop by my blog for a laugh...maybe it will lighten the load..if I lived closer I would come help you out.

    Oh by the way...I am gaining...go figure, exercising everyday and gaining weight.

  2. I don't think you can ever go wrong by doing what feels best for you and your family in your mama-heart!

  3. Oh I hope my post made you have a great house also! Now when you get to feeling better maybe go get some new potholders, some that make you smile!
    Have a well weekend...thanks for dropping by!

  4. I felt the same way last year- such a hard decision. I am always anti-flu vaccine, but the doctor I love, started saying I should get it for the kids. I went back and forth. We never actually got it and then they said months later, that they didn't have the strain right anyway. We spent 2 months sick with bronchitis, pneumonia and some kind of viral cough.
    All I can say is try to leave it with the Lord.
    And if your husband is willing to hear both sides, maybe ask him to make the decision- pull the whole head of household thing- it might work.
    I tried with mine- but he got smart and pulled the whole caretaker of the kids thing.
    I promise spring and summer will come!
    So people keep telling me anyway.

  5. You keep on doing what your heart tells you!!! You're their Momma!!!

    Spring's coming (as I type this with a 19°F temp and 2" of snow outside)!!!

  6. Do not feel guilty. I swear all the vaccines in the world can't protect us from a virus that mutates and changes every year. I don't like to get my kids (or myself- remember my horrible month long sickness) vaccinated. Those nurses at the doctor's office can be so mean. I could write a book on all the times they have made me cry, no kidding. The only reason we haven't found a new doctor is because we thought we would have moved by now. Don't let those meanies get you down. You are a super mom, be proud. And as for being happy about the bus coming, some days are just like that. Have a restful, healthful, happy weekend.

  7. So sorry you and your little ones were under the weather. I know how hard that is.
    We have not gotten the flu shot in years and luckily (knock knock) we haven't gotten the flu in years either.
    Mommy guilt is so tough. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut and love them all through it.
    Hope everyone is back to normal soon!
    Have a happy day

  8. Don't feel guilty. We do get the flu shot (all of us!) because our son was born with CDH which left his lungs weaker than others due to the way they were formed. That doesn't make us good or bad, it makes us parents who made a decision based on our own circumstances.

    You did what was best for you and your kids. Don't start second guessing yourself. You're all getting better and you survived the ordeal and now deserve some rest. I'm so glad there is some relief for you and you're starting to feel better. Besides it's almost spring! There is hope!

  9. Girlfriend, once you start education yourself on flu vaccine ingredients, reactions, etc., then you won't feel so guilty for not getting them. I'll try not to get on my soapbox here ... but suffice it to say, think of how much stronger those young boys' immune systems are now ... they fought the flu off themselves and didn't need any manufactured vaccine laden with chemicals to do it. I've gotten flu shot in the past for my kids but never again! And, remember that getting the flu shot doesn't even guarantee they won't get it ... okay, so I got on my soapbox just a little but I am putting it away now.

  10. Karen ... I didn't know you were considering going!! If you can make it work, I'd so love to meet you ... AND we can room together. I am going with one very fun friend ... so that is splitting the room cost ($112) three ways. We could even try to find one more person... It is totally out of my comfort zone to do this but I am so excited and thrilled ... I can't think about being nervous and all the other anxiety-ridden things I usually think about. I hope you can go .... but think quick before tickets are all sold out! Hoping to meet you...

  11. ...thought I should add, we'd need a room 2 nights. : ) Think of all the GOOD memories we'll make ...

  12. We had the flu over here too. It seemed to hit and once they got better, it came back again. I suffer from Mom-guilt too. My friend points it out when I'm demonstrating it. I'm not sure how to kick the flu or mom-guilt. Yuck to both.


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