Boo hoo about the flu

I said I would only blog about Swine Flu once and not contribute to the H1N1 hysteria. However, I thought I could hopefully provide some comfort.

The issue whether to vaccinate has been a ridiculous mess. Conflicting information, wrong information, no information. Enough said about that. We decided not to give our children the H1N1 vaccine and there were many contributing factors to this decision:

* The questions surrounding the “safety” and efficacy of the shot.

* Many people who have already had the virus reported its symptoms are mild. I know, but what if “we” are the exception? Trust me, I’ve wrestled with that.

* We wondered if getting this flu and thereby gaining some natural immunity for the future might be wise? I have concerns about over vaccinating our children so their immune systems never get a chance to “learn” how to defend their host. Please don’t misunderstand, we DO vaccinate our children for many diseases; Meningitis, MMR, etc. but have concerns about flu vaccines specifically.

* Finally, and here’s the big one. As part of our 3 year old daughter’s genetic disorder, we know that there is a chance – maybe next year, maybe in 30 years, maybe never (please, please let it be the last one) she will be faced with a serious neuromuscular disease. The thought of me, her mother, the person who is supposed to protect her, allowing the injection of a neurotoxin that could potentially kick start a dormant disease… No. Friggin. Way.

It turns out all of the research and questioning and searching for answers and sleepless nights was a waste of time. We got the flu before the vaccine was even offered.

People, including children, have died from Swine Flu and that is terrifying. However, MOST people, including my family were and ARE fine.

My six year old son became ill first. His worse symptom was lack of appetite and fever for two nights. If you were to ask him, the worst part was extreme boredom. Apparently there is “nothing to do in our house.” Who knew? I kind of feel like there’s too much to be done around here…

The three year old got it two days later. How would this girl, so compromised and little survive this? She was fine. Tamiflu and Tylenol and she was happy as could be. The forth day in, she woke with a cough that worsened throughout the day. She also had several episodes of sleep apnea the night before. That scared the hell out of me, but only in light of what I had been reading about respiratory conditions related to H1N1 and DEATH. I got a caught up in the fear. Under normal circumstances, I would’ve treated her at home with confidence. Instead, my husband took her to a walk-in clinic. As soon as he mentioned breathing issues, they sent them to the ER. I appreciate their cautious approach but it meant twelve hours in a germy hospital. I was forced to stay at home, wringing my hands (and watching America’s Next Top Model…What? I needed a distraction!) as I had come down with the virus as well. They were sent home the next morning. No signs of respiratory issues. Today, she is absolutely fine. Back to normal. Feisty as ever.

I’m not a good sick person. I deny that I’m even ill until I pass out or vomit in my shoe. This time there was no denying it. I was indeed sick. Headache, tired muscles and a HIGH fever. I was really sick for one night only – fever, chills. After that, I was just tired. I would take this flu over a stomach bug or snotty cold that drags on forever any day. I’m not implying that I enjoyed having the Swine Flu but, I did enjoy:

* Co-Sleeping with my children. Such a special bonding experience. The night I adjusted my baby girl’s blanket and she rolled over and smiled at me and said, “Love you mummy” and stroked my cheek? C’mon, that’s a memory I’ll treasure forever. A fever of 104.5 is a small price to pay.

* Letting hubby take control and take care of “the infected” as he so lovingly referred to us. Usually I’m the care taker. Sometimes it’s nice to let somebody else look after things and that would NEVER have happened if I wasn’t stuck in bed.

* I read a book! A whole book!! I haven’t managed to read a book from cover to cover in years! I flipped through mags, watched trashy t.v. shows online, talked on the phone. That part was bliss. Sweaty. But blissful.

I’m here to bear witness that the Swine Flu is not as horrid as the media is making it out to be. Any new viral strain is worrisome and precautions should be taken. However, if you intended to get vaccinated but because of the POOR PLANNING AND STUPIFYING STUPIDITY OF THE POWERS THAT BE* you are unable to do so, please take comfort in the fact that we’ve been through it and in our experience, it was no more severe than any other seasonal flu.

*IF I DID intend to vaccinate my 3 year old HIGH RISK child, I would be so pissed right now. The fact that they were vaccinating everyone and their uncle when the initial vaccine was intended for HIGH RISK people only, astounds me. What were they thinking??

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  • Hey. I'm glad you're all okay. I'm scared out of my mind about this flu. I hate the media, I hate everyone, but at the same time, I love Canada for at least getting us the vaccine, at least… a certain amount. Even though it's run like shit right now, at least the high risk people can get the vaccine. I mean, for now… ack. I just want it all to go away. I was on the fence about the vaccine for a long time, too… I was stressed about it, not sure what to do.. but b/c my oldest son had a severe case of pneumonia last year, so bad he needed surgery and a chest tube in him for 4 days – 14 days total in CHEO – and a morphine drip, along with other meds, and an oxygen mask – yeah, nightmare of my life and I never want to see that again, you know? So… we go the shot. And I hope we are protected and I hope this nasty flu goes away and I hope all I hear from now on is about mild cases like yours. HUGS. We all make the right choices for our families! xo

  • So glad you are all doing okay, and that the H1N1 flu didn't bring any more fear or drama to your house. You have already earned your Nurse Mama badge!

    We got the kids their shots today, drama, drama in itself. All we can all do is make the best choices we can as each issue comes up. I read this post and felt my heart ache when reading about what your decision would involve.

    Hopefully this will now be a non-issue for you and your fam. Take care, be well, try to stop worrying about the little ones long enough to get well yourself.

    xo

  • What a fabulous post, Lisa! I love it. So heartfelt and REAL. I totally admire you and am so glad you guys are feeling better. I got my kids vaccinated over the weekend, but definitely considered not doing it (we don't do the regular flu shots) for some of the very reasons you listed. In the end we decided to it and it was ridiculous the lengths we had to go to to have our children get this stupid vaccine. I will totally admit to falling victim to some of the media hype – I'm so tired of it, the fear mongering and making parents feel terrified. Ridiculous.

  • Great well thought out post. I'm sure we just suffered through this damn flu here, or at least two of my boys did. The baby and I have so far been relatively unscathed. I think…he was sick too but not as bad so who knows. Point is, the key is doing what is right for your family and it's nice to see a post that is so clear about it.

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