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?