Today our family experienced a little injustice. We all experience things that are unfair in life - all the time. It's part of life. Okay it was actually a big deal to me - but calling it a "little" injustice is not totally sarcastic - It's just that there are much greater injustices elsewhere in the world. Comparatively, I have nothing to complain about. But I will because I want better than "better". I want the best.
We partially vaccinate. For Chris we've opted out of chicken pox, rotovirus, and delayed (I thought) wild polio. When I talked to Chris's pediatrician about it a few years ago, he told me that the Polio vaccine was something we could hold off on because it is so rare. For example, in the entire US, there were 4 cases the previous year, all of them in an Amish community in PA. It made sense to him, it made sense to me - so that's what I said I'd like to do - hold off.
Well, we have a new pediatrician now, since we moved to a different part of the valley. He's a Naturopathic pediatrician and we LOVE him. In reviewing Chris's vaccine history that was sent over from the former pediatrician's office, I learned today that Chris had actually received polio vaccinations. Four of them in fact - almost the entire series and yes it was without my consent -starting when he was just 2 months old.
My plan had been to wait until he was older and his immune system more developed, and not at the same time as all of those other vaccines. But, that option was taken from me.
I was so, so sad and angry. It was 5 years ago now but how could that happen??? How can I have let that happen? I thought I had my bases covered! Do I really need to grill the nurse when she comes in about exactly what she is sticking him with, every time because on FOUR occasions they put something in there they did not have consent for! Could it really be just a communication error, a simple mistake - FOUR times?? Was it pandering? Is it another example of the voice of a parent being disregarded and unheard? Maybe they are telling me to back off from my child's care, that I can't know what's best for him if I don't agree with them. Or.....or maybe - maybe they are asking me to be involved, to be adamantly involved in my children's care. Sure, okay, they're asking me not to give them responsibility anymore because the malpractice claims are costing too much. Me handing off responsibility requires them to practice defensively, and to create this facade - this stance that they cannot be wrong - and please, who wants that pressure? Oh! See - they are giving me a gift! A reason to risk looking a little pushy because really they don't have all of the answers - just options, a little information and services to provide should I choose to use them.
I love doctors, I truly, truly appreciate what they do. I have a brother who's a doctor and I know a little bit of the sacrifice that it's been for him. It is not easy and there are all kinds of kinks in the system that drive Docs to some of the less savory practices many of them adopt. It is often a thankless job. They are learning everything on information overload and sleep deprivation. We expect them to have all of the answers - they should fix everything, know everything, do everything without much effort on our part. But really, Who do we think they are??
At times there is no question - I was SO grateful when Abby broke her foot and needed a cast. Not for one minute did I question the Orthopedic surgeon's diagnosis of the fractured meta-tarsal and treatment plan of a cast for 3 weeks. He also kindly showed me where the fracture was on the x-ray and let me take a copy home. It made perfect sense to me. But when he was removing the cast and I asked him about chiropractic and what he thought of it for alignment and etc, he point blank told me it was basically evil. Yes, that is the word he used, "evil". He then told me he didn't know anything about it - where or how they got their training.
Okay. So, I could take this a couple of different ways. I could say, "he's a bone doctor, he would know if there was any benefit to chiropractic", Or, I could say - "this guy admits he knows nothing about something he is making quite a harsh judgement on. Wow, I will gratefully allow him to cast a broken foot but I think I will take my research on chiropractic elsewhere." why? WHY would I put my trust of judgment in his hands on something he openly knew nothing about?? To think he knows everything about everything regarding bones and our skeletal structure?? Who do I think he is??
Doctors are human and have limits. I know there is more than one solution to a problem and more than one avenue of getting onto the path to healing than drugs and surgery - including someone who has faith in your ability to be an active participant in your own health. How AMAZING it is to find a doctor who respects the responsibility and intelligence of a parent as much as he asks to be respected. One that doesn't get feathers ruffled by questions - that are simply intended to find information, not to judge, or criticize. Why are they sadly so hard to find?
Another story: The doctors and nurses at this same former pediatric office got very defensive when I asked questions about the safety of the aluminum content in all vaccines, the mercury that is still currently used in the flu vaccines, or which brands of vaccines they used. How were they tested? How serious or common were the diseases? I thought these were fair questions. But bottom line, they could give me little to no real information. They seemed appalled that I was asking questions. They could only focus on the AAP's recommended vaccine schedule. I know the AAP has some merit, but one must weigh all things against his/her own conscience yes?? Isn't it our right to understand the gravity of the decisions we're making? It makes me wonder about exactly when the physician's ego became so delicate - and what a barrier that can be to dialogue and solutions for health and healing. I'm not sure we started this but I think that we, the consumers have a part to play in that. We allow it to be so.
Am I really asking too much?? Nobody has all the answers, so why pretend there is only one way? Why judge me for questioning these specialized humans? I mean no disrespect! They are counselors and I can know any fact my doctor knows. And I demand facts and evidence based practice - not medical pop culture or anecdotal advice. In the end it doesn't matter anyway because what it boils down to is that my husband and I have the ultimate authority and right to inspiration and guidance from the Spirit for our family's care. Can a medical degree usurp that? Nope. It can't.
Today when Chris got his tetanus booster, the doc administered it personally and I was there to hear him order it so I knew exactly what it was. I didn't have to badger him to do this, it just worked out that way this time. At least I feel he's in good hands now.
Oh well, move on from here I guess. And maybe there is an unknown blessing and purpose in this event. To protect Chris from wild polio? Probably not. To teach me to speak up more? Probably. Something else?? It's possible. Totally, totally possible. If nothing else, this little injustice was a good reminder that anything is possible.