Friday, December 30, 2011
Why I Hurt My Baby
Little Sharon was lying on the crinkly paper covered exam table. She'd stoically endured pokes, and prods, and cold stethoscope intrusions, and even swallowed the oral vaccine without complaint. But then it was time for the shots. I hadn't been there for the first round of them, so I didn't know what to expect. I held her little hands as the doctor stuck the three tiny needles into her thighs. I will never forget the red-faced wailing of my darling girl, or the look of utter anguish and hurt on her face. I squeezed her hands, fought back my instinct to grab her and flee, or fight off her assailant, and tried my best to reassure her that it would be all right. The shots were given quickly, and in a few seconds I was holding my crying baby in my arms, rocking her and trying to soothe her. I tried to comfort myself with the knowledge that she will almost certainly not remember anything about this day, though I know that I will almost certainly never forget. The rest of the day she was grumpy and uncomfortable; made all the worse by the nasty cold she has. Last night neither my wife nor I got much sleep as Sharon slept fitfully, noisily, and woke frequently due to her stuffed up nose. But, in two months when it's time for her next round of shots I'll willingly, if not exactly gladly, do it all again. I know that with the exception of this relatively small amount of pain and discomfort I am protecting my little girl from rotavirus, hepatitis b, haemophilus influenzae, polio, diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. Any of these can be fatal or crippling, and I will continue to do everything I can to protect my darling baby from the ravages of easily preventable diseases. And if you are on the fence about vaccinating your kids I urge you to do your homework. Look at the volumes of data compiled over nearly a century that vouch for the safety and efficacy of vaccines. I also urge you to ignore celebrities who have no medical credentials whatsoever, yet choose to spread falsehoods and bad science. Vaccines are safe, effective, and vital to the survival of our children.
I will now put the soapbox away.