Don’t They Make Family Sized Bubbles (like the one from the movie “The Boy in the Plastic Bubble?”)

Flu season sucks.
Flu season as a parent sucks even more.
Flu season as a parent of a child with epilepsy and underlying neurological disorders with a potential deadly pandemic thrown in, sucks beyond words.

I’m not even going to delve into the whole H1N1 situation. I can’t. If I do, my head may actually explode.

Last year, our whole family got the seasonal flu shot. This year, we are not. Why? For starters, the scary accelerants and other assorted shit they put in those things leaves me feeling queasier than when I had that nasty case of gastroenteritis last year (yes, the same season I had a flu shot). Besides, it looks like my children already have the flu….which strain will remain unknown as doctors have stopped taking swabs. Apparently the labs can’t keep up with the cost and time required to test for H1N1 so, they don’t. But if it walks like a pig and oinks like a pig, chances are it’s Swine Flu.

I am as confused as any other parent right now and really have no advice to offer other than this: If you DO plan to vaccinate your child this season, don’t make the mistakes I made.

Here’s what I did last year:
Before we headed to the doctor, I really upsold the shot. “Nooooo. The SHOT won’t hurt AT ALL. See this syringe (the one you use to dose out children’s Tylenol), it’s just like this. Nothing scary about that, right?”

God I’m stupid sometimes. First of all, my son did not appreciate the word “shot”. Take note. Use the word “vaccine” instead – it doesn’t conjure up images of a gun blast to the upper arm. My children are cursed with my over-active imagination apparently.

Secondly, don’t lie to your child. Obviously, don’t tell them the truth either – that SHOTS can sting like a son-of-a –bitch. Just don’t show them a harmless syringe and lull them into a false sense of calm. Upon seeing the needle at the doctor’s office my son screamed and pointed an accusatory finger at me. “What? Are you kidding? You didn’t tell me there was going to be a PIN in it!?” Guess it took him by surprise. He’s like me. He likes to be prepared. My bad.

He also didn’t appreciate the nurse’s trickery. “Why did she tell me to look at the polar bear poster? She was trying to trick me! When I turned my head, she stuck that pin into me! Why would she do that?”

Right after the injection I asked my son if it hurt.
He said, “No actually. It didn’t really hurt at all.” Then he was walking on air because 1) it was over 2) he was all proud of his bravery 3) we were off to get the candy I promised him after his SHOT

As we left the doctor’s office…

Me: Are needles that bad?
Him: No. Not at all.
Me: If you had to get another one, would you be afraid?
Him: Nope. Not at all.
Me (In my head): Phew. Thankfully I won’t have to battle with him about this in the future. My god I’m a fantastic parent.

If I were to do it over again, I would have taken a brief video snippet on my camera of that verbal exchange. I really wish I had, because somewhere over the course of this year, my son has developed a paralyzing fear of shots…ahem, I mean, vaccines. He is terrified. If only I had evidence to show him that there really isn’t anything to be afraid of. Well, in terms of the injection itself that is. Personally, the thought of the H1N1 vaccine to me is indeed terrifying, hence the giant controversy. But, he doesn’t need to know anything about that. I am doing enough worrying for the both of us (and them some).

Keep healthy everyone!

Hugs and kisses

Lisa

Oh wait, hugs and kisses are out of the question this season. Oops.

Sending you a big ol’ high five instead. Hang on – absolutely no contact. So those are out too.

Ok then, I’m waving at you from afar, with a smile on my face (though you’ll just have to take my word for it since you can’t see it underneath my mask).

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  • Lisa, I'm thinking of you and your kids and hope they feel better and you feel safer real soon. Personally, I'm still trying to decide if I'm more afraid of the shot or the virus. I still don't know. But this latest death in Toronto may have put me over into the vaccinate camp.

    I'm stressed to the point of tears about all this, as I know many of us are.

    Take care! (Distant wave!)

  • My son "appears" to have H1N1, too. Doctor said they aren't testing for it, which is lovely for 2 reasons.

    1. I don't know what the hell is wrong with him, although the doc is 'pretty sure' it's the uber-scary H1N1.

    2. Now, because I don't have confirmation that he in fact has H1N1, I don't know if he has immunity.

    I hate ambiguity. This whole flu-thing is crap.

    I hope your family feels better really soon!

  • Maybe when our kids are grown up there will be a cure for the flu/common cold and they won't have to endure any of this. It is SO confusing. I've been wavering around wondering what to do, changing my mind every day. And gawd, I probably would have said the same thing to my son about the flu "shot". But vaccines are not nice whatever you say. High five!

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