Monday, November 9, 2009

On the fence

Being a fence sitter is THE WORST. It really is. It makes making any sort of decision impossible. I wish I could just be a die hard ___(insert something to have an opinion about here)____. Then decisions would be so easy because I would feel so strongly one way or another.

As it is I get all worked up about something and then hear one opposing argument and then I think about it and can start to see that side and before I know it I am completely on the fence, yet again.

So, not to open a can of worms or anything but....swine flu.

I've always been in moral angst about the flu vaccine. On the one hand....never had the flu. On the other....don't really want the flu. I always got it for my kids and then one year my friends mom died from complications that arose from getting a flu shot. Agh! Isn't that awful? You do something you think is healthy for you and then...? So then I started getting all angst ridden every year but would usually opt to get the vaccine, and feel kind of sick about that decision.

And yes, people die from the flu too.

There's no winning I tell you.

I hate making important decisions. I really do. Yes I understand that there haven't been long term studies on the swine flu vaccine, but I also underestand that it is a disease running rampant and that people are getting really sick and dying. I know it has preservatives in it...but, people are getting sick and dying. I know I should be able to prevent it by frequent hand washing and gargling with salt water and clapping three times and doing a cartwheel before bed. I've been trying for five years to get Gwen to not pick her nose, totally not happening, even with a rampant virus around. She doesn't care.

People I am in angst! I am totally with the people who think the vaccine is scary and could give you GBS and I am totally with the people who think those people are idiots.

What's a fence sitter to do?

Tell me what you did? Why?

I feel like I wouldn't be able to live with myself either way. If we get the kids vaccinated and something horrible happens, I can't live with myself. If I don't get them vaccinated and something horrible happens, I can't live with myself.


Gretchen said...

Sounds like you should just find a pediatrician you generally like and then ask their advice. Just pass the buck. Then if something horrible happens, you were just following the advice of a well-trained medical professional! BUCK PASSED!!! (Now if only I could follow my own advice on this sort of thing...)

Allison said...

This is also my current dilemma! Well, one of them. I wish I had advice to help you, but I really have no helpful suggestions. I totally feel your stress. I'll let you know if there's anything that sways me, but for now I am 100% on the fence and don't know what to do.

Ape said...

It is worth noting that children under 7 have to get two swine flu shots (one month apart). Even if they had a regular flu vaccine last year.

Janelle said...

I have never had the flu, or the flu shot (until this year). My daughter has a heart murmur and her cardiologist recommended we all get the flu shot and the swine flu shot, if we could. So I submitted and got the flu shot for me and all three kids (they've never had it before either) and just got them round one of the swine flu vaccine. I just tried not to think about it too hard, and follow the doctor's advice.

Colin, Jess, Kenner, and Lily said...

I can pretty much sit right next to you on that fence. I've been at a loss myself. I went to my daughters 2 year old check up and talked to her pediatrician about it, whom we totally love, and he was so sure about the vaccines about getting both of them...and said he has people knocking his door down every year for them so we, for the first time ever, got the normal flu shots for both my kids. We didn't get the swine flu shot because they didn't have it but honestly if they would have had it that day I would have gotten but since they didn't that's where my butt is firmly planted on the fence and I just don't know. I can't make up my mind to get it or not. So far not is winning because that takes less energy. LOL Not that this helps you but maybe between everyone we can make up all our minds. ha ha

Anonymous said...

I know. I called the pediatrician to see if they had any left, and they did. So I was going to take my kids in that day. But then I got to reading some stuff online about the risks, etc..... and we didn't go. The factor I am most considering right now is: what is the likelihood of my children being exposed? Really, church.... and the grocery store. Maybe occasionally the gym. So it seems silly, if they are not around other kids very much, to expose them to the virus for certain, when if I take my chances, there is maybe a 10-30% chance they will be exoposed (yeah, totally pulled that figure out of the air). And if I just load them up with vitamins A and C, and some elderberry and zinc if/when they get it, maybe the case will be mild, and the resulting immunity will be stronger as a result of having the flu than it would have been from the immunization.

If my kids were in school, and the likelihood of them being exposed were much higher, I might lean closer to the vaccination side of the fence.

The irony is, a large part of the reason we feel pressure to go out and vaccinate is because everyone else is doing it. Since others are doing it, they carry the virus for a day or two, increasing the risk for those who haven't been vaccinated.

JoAnna said...

Let me start by saying this- You get the flu one time or watch your kids suffer with the flu (The Real Flu), then you will NEVER go a year without getting a flu shot. EVER.
BUT! The swine flu shot freaks me out too. I would rather me or my kids get the swine flu, to be honest. But I'm pregnant. So I did it. And now my kid will have all sorts of problems and die before she's 3. Maybe. Or maybe now. I don't know. But I'm not going to have my currently out-of-the-womb kids get them. But, I'm cheating here, because I think they both have had the swine flu already so it makes the decision much easier.
So really, I'm of no help.
I guess I just felt like babbling.

Emily K. said...

I've gotten the flu vaccine twice. I didn't notice anything, but then again I don't know if those two years out of thirty were the years I was going to get the flu. I think I'll opt for the cartwheels this year ;)

Kristina said...

I totally understand your dilemma. But I have learned a few things through schooling that might help and have been asking my husband (who's a family medicine doctor) about it and thought I'd pass on a few tidbits of info.

There is a new seasonal influenza vaccine created every single year. Since the flu virus mutates, they have to create a vaccine for what they think will be the mutation that will hit hard each winter. The H1N1 vaccine was created in a similar way and at the same places as the seasonal vaccine.

The chances of you or someone in your family getting the H1N1 flu are probably pretty good. The chances of something bad happening if/when you get it are way, way, way low. But the chances of something bad happening (GBS) if you get the vaccine are way, way, way lower. I'm obviously very scientific about all this. :)

Each institution that is giving out the vaccines is required to document info about patients into a registry within 24 hours of receiving the vaccine (otherwise they could have their supply taken away). This is an extremely important step in monitoring adverse effects, because if people are having problems with the vaccine, that will also be documented in the registry--which can be traced back to the exact vial of vaccine given to the person. I feel a little safer knowing that the vaccine has been given to tens of thousands of people already (you can look up the exact number on the CDC website) and they haven't had any significant problems to report yet. You can bet that as side effects are reported in the registry, they have statisticians looking for any association with the vaccine.

Every doctor I've come in contact with strongly recommends that those at the highest risk of contracting H1N1 get the vaccine. But ultimately, it's your decision. Like I said before, the chances of something bad happening either way are extremely slim. I guess I tend to have more faith in science and medicine and believe that the benefits of getting the vaccine outweigh the risks.

But then some people would probably call me stupid. :)


Kristi said...

And just so you all know, Kris (the above commenter), at least the last time I checked, is actually a rocket scientist. Seriously, isn't that amazing? So take what she says seriously, because it's not rocket science, but if it were, she could do it.

Dang straight.

Thanks Kris! That is just the kind of info I am looking for!

Aimee said...

I am thrilled to rant and rave about this topic! I am completely opposed to the Swine Flu vaccine. Does anyone think it's weird that the media is being fed all kinds of death stories?? I'll tell you who is feeding these stories to the media -- it's the pharmaceutical companies who stand to make BILLIONS off the purchase of Swine flu vaccines.

You are correct... it has not been well tested. Scary stuff, in my opinion. Three of my four kids had the Swine Flu in May. It was a nasty bug, but they are healthy children and did just fine with it. I believe the chances of the vaccine working are small, so why take the chance? More people die each year from the regular flu, so why are we freaking out about this anyway?

We are freaking out because the media has made such a big hub-bub about it. And who is feeding these stories to the media??? (See my first paragraph!)

I hope I haven't jinxed myself with this rant and rave.

Joe(y) Speredon said...

Kristina took my answer.

haley said...

So glad you posted about this. I am glad to read that I am not the only one who is not quite sure how to handle the situation.
I am also fence sitting. I got a regular flu shot for all my kids-and the next day the boys came down with flu-like symptoms. And they had them for 3 days, until we all came down with colds. Blech.
Every time the swine flu vaccine has been offered around here, my kids have been sick enough that they couldn't get it. I kind of take that as some cosmic sign that it is okay NOT to get the vaccine. But, I am still running scared-straight to my pediatrician every time a fever gets about 101.
I am almost paranoid-either way-but I don't do anything about it. I find it is easier to stay on the fence that way.

Megan Kroff said...

Kristina took my answer too. Because of Sarah and her special needs I happen to have the most marvelous pediatrician ever and she told me almost word for word what Kristina typed.

Because of Sarah and our little newborn, Alli, we qualify. So, we did it and will be back to finish with the second dose with Sarah and Spence.

I'll just add that we should all prayerfully consider our own circumstances which are all sooo different. I feel like I have my answer from Heavenly Father and have felt very much at peace about the whole matter. He knows best!

I love that you opened the can. It's fun to hear everyones thoughts.

Tom and Tami said...

Thanks for giving me one more thing to think about! j/k
I am probably more against the shot than for. As others have said, it's a nasty bug to get, but once it's been through your house, no more worries (of course we haven't gotten it yet and my one year old was totally exposed to a little girl with it last week). I think it has a lot to do with the bills that are trying to be passed in Washington about health issues. Now I'm not a political person, so this is my ignorant opinion, but isn't it funny the swine flu came about right after the President was in Mexico? Is it possible it was intentionally brought into the states to scare us and make us all so focused on this that Washington can quietly pass the health bills they want? Does not change the fact that its here, but just a thought...

julianne orth said...

i am still having inner turmoil with it too, but my husband is totally against it, so he is swaying my decision. I do think it is weird how much the media is covering it though, before my boy had RSV, i didn't have a clue what it was and more than 1000 babies a year die from that, and even more kids die from the regular flu every year, but no one freaks out about that too. For right now I just focus on hand washing and keeping my kids full of fruits and vegis to keep their immune systems healthy. It is scary though, i still feel really undecided about the whole thing.

Nathaniel and Sarah said...

Good luck deciding Fiddle! I was also on the fence, I kept going back and forth, mostly because the vaccaine hasn't been well researched and since I am pregnant I didn't want it to have long-term effects on my baby, but then I really started researching it and realized that the most likely people to have severe reactions to the the swine flu/die is children and pregnant ladies, so that's what swayed me and I got the vaccaine a couple of weeks ago. I haven't had any reactions at all to the vaccaine, no head-aches or flu like symptons!
Also one more thing to think about is, that we haven't seriously had the swine flu here during the normal flu season, this could possibly make the swine flu more rampant, but who knows, right now it's just a guessing game!
In the end though You will make the best decision for you and your family :)