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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

My run-in with Tetanus

Fear tactics annoy me. I suppose that's why I'm a midwife. Ignorance annoys me even more. I suppose that's why I'm a midwife as well.
Ok enough silly chatter, I have a point here. I just recently came head to head with one of my fears.
I have not vaccinated my son, by choice. I never questioned those that did because in the end you have to live with your decision. Who am I to say whats right or wrong? I'm not god. I couldn't even possibly begin to understand the complete make-up and break down the body has to go through with day to day environmental issues, let alone vaccines. So I don't judge, truly I don't. In my field I come across families asking me all the time what they should do? What would I do? Did you?
I try to educate them, open their mind to somethings they maybe didn't know and then in the end, I tell them to trust their gut.
So I trusted mine, and I couldn't be happier.
This story needs a thank you to my friend and fellow midwife, well a few actually. I run in a circle where I'm not the only one who doesn't vaccinate and these women are nowhere near ignorant on the issue. I trust them and what they have to say.
My son, just recently got a cut, a pretty nice one, on some dirty, rusty metal scraps from our outside BBQ. Set the mood though, we have chickens that roam free and poop all over, along with all the gardening we do. This may help you understand why tetanus became a big fear for me.
The cut was small but the bleeding was impressive for that small of a cut. So I start to panic and question everything I thought I knew. I first called the pediatrician, who recommended the vaccine. I cringed at the word. I was assured that it was going to be fine and its better to be safe than sorry. I then contacted 3 fellow friends and midwives and asked what they would do. All 3 said they would do it. I thought, crap! If they would then shit, I'm going to also, I'm not playing around here either!
Then maybe 20 minutes later one of those friends sent me an article that changed everything. It literally through me right back into what I trusted before and what I've always known. This article didn't contain any answers or magic potion. It simply informed me of an option that no one else did, and what seems like no one else knew about until we stumbled upon this article, but I knew it was the right option for me.
There was another choice besides the vaccine, hallelujah! So I quickly called the pediatrician and asked her thoughts. She was not able to get this and still felt the vaccine was a good option. Something inside me told me this new discovery, the tetanus immunoglobulin, was what my child needed. As I read this article I started to understand the dynamics of the vaccine vs. the immunoglobulin. Vaccine=preventative, well we missed that window, and immunoglobulin was treatment for those at risk....BINGO!
That same friend just happened to be going to see another pediatrician that we both know and respect. She gently threw this "hypothetical" situation at her to see what suggestions she would have given. Well guess what she said? Yup, the immunoglobulin is the candy of choice, because apparently it was not the appropriate time for the vaccine to help with the current problem, wow really?
Well 1 hour later I was in her office getting my prescription for the immunoglobulin for my boy. Sounds easy right? NOT! Apparently, where I am only hospitals carry them. Which meant an ER visit, not in my cards. I then asked again for alternative ways to get this, maybe urgent care? pick up?
In the meanwhile, I'm calling a close friend who happens to be an infectious disease doctor and whom I hold pretty high up in rankings of knowledgeable doctors. I wanted his thoughts also, now he's a pro-vaccine guy but never did he make me feel like he was passing judgement. He informed me of what he could, made recommendations, and told me he'd help in any way. I owe him big.
Ok, back to where the heck to get this??? After lots of calls, back and forth, the ped told me that the hospital closest to me has it, and I can go through outpatient. It would save me time and a large amount of money. I was super happy, relieved and excited. Off I went to outpatient, ASAP.
Just when I thought it was all going smooth at registration, I was told they couldn't administer it, they didn't have the right needle. I argued saying "no, the doctor just called and they ok'd it". I was then told they didn't have the child's dose. I repeated that calls were made and this was already handled. The poor registration women had to personally go up to the pharmacy and confirm with script in hand ( I was pretty pushy and made it clear it was going to happen today). She returns with, "yup, your right". Phew!
Smooth sailing right? Nope. I get up to the necessary floor and was told again this was not to be done. So I repeated my story with the same firmness and was told to hold on. Upon return, I was then told, oh yes, I was right but it has to be done in ER. NO NO NO! Well let's make this already long story short. 2 hours later my son was in a room preparing for his immunoglobulin shot.
I had such a wonderful nurse, I wish I remembered her name. As I was holding him down so they could administer it IM (intramuscular) I realized once the skin was pierced, "I DIDN'T CHECK THE VIAL"!!! Always check the vial, always always always! Especially when they kept saying "vaccine right?" NO IMMUNOGLOBULIN! Nurses are overworked and underpaid, tired, and tired! So as I screamed that out the really nice nurse said, "it's ok, its the immunoglobulin, my sister is just like you and doesn't vaccinate, your ok" and showed the package to me as I was still holding my son down. I thanked her up and down. We ended up having a wonderful conversation while I was nursing my son to calm him down after the shot.
The point of this? To educate you on your options. THIS IS ALWAYS MY POINT, it's my reason for living. I love to educate and empower when I can. I didn't know of this option and almost felt pressured into giving a vaccine and thank goodness I found this story from a great circle of people I hang with that brought it to my attention.
Enjoy the read: http://gianelloni.wordpress.com/2013/06/11/the-truth-about-tetanus/

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