Thursday, November 05, 2009

Seeing clearly now

I am sorry to have abandoned you all, my what 10 blog readers now? Oy...bad me. I've been running around at home and to lots of other blogs and trying to catch up, although Mel's advice to just declare bloglines bankruptcy and start over is likely right.

Last week, after finding out my GP didn't have any Swine Flu vaccine, I took the kids out of school and lined up for the shots. We had to go to a couple of places and luckily I discovered they were giving them out downtown at Public Health's Head Office, and I begged and pleaded my way in. I'm sure that I had it and same with Mac, but since no one would swab us, I needed insurance for Kaz and the nanny and Baby Julius. The staff were quite hostile at first, and almost had a guard throw a bunch of us out, but we all just kept smiling and begging and eventually the crowd wore them down. We got in, and filled out the insane paperwork, and each sat for the shot. Luckily I remembered the infertility video from Youtube that showed if you relaxed the muscle, an IM shot was painless. Either let your arm go totally limp, or stand pigeoned toed if you have to get it in the gluteous maximus. (Heehee, that means bum!)

I'm quite amazed at the controversy over the shot. I mean, I don't love every vaccine out there, frankly some are overpriced schlock. But for any serious illness? Oy...every ICU in town is overflowing. Maybe it's because most people haven't seen the kinds of tragedy I have in life, but everytime I see someone writing cavalierly about all the deaths from this, it drives me crazy.

Like it can't happen to them, only to "other people" like me.

I'm the boogeyman once again. And on both sides! I'm the one with the dead kids so I'm the scary talisman to those afraid of the swine flu. And I'm the one with the kids with ADD/ADHD/LD, and Kaz and I have reactions to vaccines, so I'm the scary talisman to the people afraid of the vaccine. So can we talk about proportions and odds?

Swine flu does cause miscarriage and stillbirth and neonatal death due to prematurity, no question, but lots of other things do too. I would know. Trust me on this.

92% of unvaccinated pregnant women will not get so sick on H1N1 that they will be in hospital or on a vent or die. But 8% will. Where will you be? Well, 90% of my blog readers may be fine, but 10% may not. *

Which one are you? Fucked if I's breathe air? I do.

Vaccines do cause a few minor side effects like sore arms in some people. But not the majority of people. And they sure as hell don't cause ADD or LD. Those have some pretty strong genetic ties. Again, I would know. Trust me on this. But you and your kids are not going to have the rare odd neurological reactions that I have had for lots of vaccines. You won't have febrile seizures and motor tics for days and you won't feel like a truck hit you. (I felt that way after the meningitis vaccine for example, but I willingly did it, because meningitis is way worse. So my hand shook like a mofo while I drank my coffee for a while. Meh, it is what it is.) I am the one in a million medical oddity. You are the 999,999 out of a million. It's ok, I've accepted that fact. You can too.

If you don't accept that, and instead project all of your inner terror on me, it diminishes the very real suffering I did go through as I lost my babies. It also diminishes everything I have done to survive and thrive.

And that is not ok.

So do you think you could all stop the transference?

(Exceptions being anyone with their own shit....)

At some point we have to live and go on and try to enjoy life. I got my shot and feel fine. (Yes, I know....felt like I should report my incredibly strange for me non-reaction to Health Canada as well.) And I am going to keep trying to change and transform and enjoy my life even if something bad happens in the future. I have to. I can't just sit around waiting for the wheel of doom to run me over. It's gonna have to chase me if it wants me.

Anyway, I've been mulling things and I decided to go ahead with something I really wasn't sure about. LASER eye surgery! So today I will lie down on a reclining chair and willing let a strange man point a LASER at me and carve a pentagram in my forehead gently shape my cornea so that I am no longer legally blind and wearing coke bottle glasses or contacts.

The contacts were getting hard to wear and I was constantly battling pinkeye. Really not ideal. At some point soon, I was no longer going to be able to wear them. Which meant verybadthings.

So at 11 am I'll be getting done. And for 2-3 days later I can barely even look at a computer screen. Something about glare? It will kill me! I'm going to ask Mr.Cotta to read me comments and posts and tweets and online articles so I don't lose my mind.

How in the fuck am I going to live for 72 whole hours without the internet? This could be--an adventure. I guess we'll have to see!

*Numbers approximate for sake of conversation


  1. I had to hunt down the shot version of the vaccine because the schools are only offering the mist (that is, if they don't run out before they get to our school). Aaron has asthma so he can't have the mist. Our pediatrician is also only offering the mist, and only to kids not in public school, so that means only Kam can get the mist there. We are headed to the health department at lunch because we finally found a shot version there and squeezed our names onto the list before they ran out of appointments. Kam will get the mist right after that since we made an appointment for him before they ran out. It's amazing how hard I had to fight to get a shot for my asthma kid who is at high risk and no one would make it available to him. Grrrr.

  2. Hey, Aurelia, good to see you posting again!

    Not being in one of the "priority" groups for H1N1 shots, dh & I decided to get the seasonal shot in the meantime when our dr's office offered it to us. That was two days ago. My arm is (still) sore & red around the vaccine site, but I figure it beats the flu. We'll get the H1N1 shot when we can. A friend of a friend is currently in hospital on a respirator with it. Scary stuff. :(

    Good luck with the laser eye surgery. You are braver than I am!

  3. I got my seasonal flu shot, and my daughter will be going to get her misting for H1N1 on Monday (she would have had it last week but she had a fever already). I never used to get a flu shot because I was never in a high risk group for catching it, and incidental exposures never bothered me. Now I have a kid in daycare and she gets everything, and needs her kisses and hugs and passes everything on to me.

    My husband looked into the laser surgery this summer, but decided he didn't want people cutting into his eyes. Good luck. I'm sure the pentagram carving will be very attractive!

  4. You know of my H1N1 vaccine adventures...getting multiple specialists to petition the pediatrician on behalf of my youngest so he'd do the kids...flashing the baby's g-tube to the Health Dept. nurse so she'd do me as his caregiver...standing in line for three hours with my organ-transplant-recipient fiance so he could get it...and now I have to track down second doses for my kids. Oy vey. I have probably spent close to twenty-four entire hours, a whole DAY of my life that I will never get back, getting my loved ones vaccinated, but compared against the possibility of losing them? Pfft. Totally worth it. Vaccine skeptics make me foam at the mouth. I have asthma and also had such an extreme adverse reaction to the Pertussis vaccine that I never got the full course of shots for that as a child and can't take the adult boosters. Destroying herd immunity by refusing to vaccinate is not a personal choice: I am a firm believer in "your personal rights end where mine begin" and I think I have to right to not get ill with a potentially fatal disease that is easily eradicable.

  5. Our whole family got the vaccine. I've seen enough illness and death for a lifetime. If one shot could possibly save me from seeing that again, I was gonna get it.

    It's worth it to me.

  6. I have been really upset at the inability to find the vaccine here. I'm currently 36 weeks along -- my husband has asthma and my nine year old stepson goes back and forth between our house and his mother's (an elementary school teacher with another child in daycare) the vectors are EVERYWHERE. I have been washing my hands like Lady Macbeth and just found out today that my clinic finally has the vaccine -- but their protocol is not to dispense it to me until my appointment next week which is SUPER frustrating as well.

    Nothing on the horizon for the rest of my family -- regardless of their being in risk groups --and at the very least members of a family that will have an infant less than six months old.

    I think your point is really valid about once the unthinkable has happened to you -- it changes you.

    Best to you and yours,


  7. I waffled for a while, but Trillian and I decided we'd all get it... only to have no luck tracking it down. Our county only has the mist and Scooter is not high-risk enough for the very few doses the pediatrician has. Nobody else is carrying it around here, at least not yet.

    I would prefer a thimerosol-free dose, but not because of the whole vaccine = autism crowd, just my own personal preference. I'm very tired of people who try to trace my son's issues (now, officially, Asperger's and anxiety) to some tiny bit of mercury somewhere, when we've got such huge genetic red flags.

  8. I get my seasonal and swine vaccines next week as I'm in a priority group. Luckily in the UK if you are then there is no problem getting either if you are. Another reason I am thankful for the public health system.

    Everyone I know who has laser treatment is evangelical about it afterword. Hope it goes well.

  9. You've read about our vaccine adventures on Wednesday, perhaps, and yet after all of that, my highest risk kid is STILL not vaccinated, so I have to get her doctor to vaccinate her as soon as I can AND I dunno. Hire some stout men to hold her arm still, I guess. And then hold mine still, since I haven't had it yet, either.

  10. Ok Girl good luck with the laser surgery.
    Hope you don't have a weird reaction to that!
    Except for the withdrawl symptoms from lack of internet :)

  11. Hey you, good luck with the laser surgery!

  12. OOOOH! Good luck with the surgery! I'm anxious to try it, although I'm wonky about eye things (anything else, though, I'm fairly decent about). I'm anxious to hear how you like it!

  13. My hubby had the surgery and was pleased with the results; hope you are, too.

    I've gone to considerable effort to get an H1N1 vaccine appointment for my son, though others cheerfully inform me that just because we have a vaccine *appointment* doesn't mean he'll get a *vaccine* (next Friday -- we'll see). Sigh. I'm with you -- I want one (but am not in a high-risk group) and very much want him (and anyone who is high-risk) to have one. Young folks (and pregnant women) on respirators: scary stuff.

  14. The vaccine still isn't available here to ordinary people - only to medical staff and people in high-risk groups. I'm still a little worried about it. We *did* get the regular seasonal flu shot (people didn't exactly enjoy the fact that we had 7 appointments in a row :-) - Hadas got it the following week because she was away at school).

    I hope the surgery went well. I just started wearing reading glasses and it really is fun for me to be able to see :-)

  15. Hope the lasik went well and you are soon back to the internetzzz.

  16. Wow, you are my second blog-buddy who is soon-to-have the Lasik surgery... you won't regret it; take it from one of the original guinea pigs!
    & obviously you don't have to convert ME on the benefits of vaccination ;-)! (the tip of my syringe sparkling in the sunlight)

  17. I've been mulling over getting my eyes done, too. The cost is my main problem, of course.

    And your post reminded me to check with the pediatrician again and they finally DO have the vaccine!

  18. Just stopped by to say hi and that I hope all's well with you.

  19. Where are you? It's now Jan.15th, 2010