It is early spring of 1994. There is an active and charming
20 month old child that is enriching my life every step of the way. I know some people
with older kids who chose not to vaccinate. I also know some who did the vaccination thing
and the kids I know seem great. So my partner and I talk about the " Vaccination
Issue". We read about it, we go back and forth. All the while there are family,
friends, doctors, and other so called concerned and helpful folks telling us to vaccinate.
It is dangerous not to vaccinate, they say. Don't you love your child?, they say. Tetanus
is deadly, they say. OK, we say, let's do a Tetanus shot. So we take our perfect child,
willingly, to be injected with a toxic substance.
After the shot all seems well. We go home. Our child goes to bed early that night. No
problem, we think. The next morning our child sleeps in late. That seemed ok. No
connections yet. Then the sleeping goes on and on. Now I am feeling worried. She never
sleeps this long, has never been a child who needs much sleep. Finally she wakes up,
cranky and feeling hot. I try to engage her but she wants to go back to sleep. I call the
doctor, who tells me that
these are " normal" side effects. This is in no way normal for this child and she
seems sicker than she has ever been. She sleeps the rest of the day. That night she
vomits. The next day she wakes up. We are relieved. Although she is not herself at all.
Sitting quietly (this child started talking at 8 months and is rarely quiet) and dosing,
seemingly in and out of consciousness. Needless to say, now we are scared, wondering if
we've made an irreversible mistake. We call the doctor again, who says to call back the
next day if she is not getting better. The next day comes and she seems better. We are
relieved. We know that she will not be receiving any more vaccines.
It is a month later. Near her second birthday. In the night my child has trouble
breathing. She is crying and upset. Her breathing is very rapid. Is there a connection to
the vaccine? I wonder. I'll never know. We take her to the Beth Israel emergency room.
They tell us that she is having a severe asthma attack and treatment must begin
immediately. The doctor asks if she is vaccinated. We say no, well sort of. We tell him
that we don't want to vaccinate. He tells us that this is very serious and scowls at us.
We are concerned about the inhalants and steroids they are giving as she has never been
medicated. The doctor's and nurses assure us that they know what they are doing. The
doctor makes it clear that he is an authority. A machine is being periodically taped
around her toenail to read the oxygen levels in her blood. The numbers are to high, so the
doctors and nurses are frantic about more treatment. I point out that it isn't getting any
worse and my child seems happy and calm. They seem oblivious to that fact and to the idea
that perhaps treatment is not necessary. By now the sun is rising. We have been here many
hours. My child has a wet diaper, but there is no one at the hospital who can find a
diaper. My child is also hungry but no one seems to know where to get some food. There
have been numerous treatments and blood oxygen level readings with the machine attached to
her toe. The numbers have been going down now and my partner, child and I are all saying
we want to go home. One nurse is saying we should be able to leave soon, although the
doctor keeps mentioning that we may have to admit her. We keep saying we want to go home.
Now it is time for the nurses shift to change. The new nurse comes in. The first thing she
says to us is "I never work with kids." Oh great. She gets the blood oxygen
machine and puts it on my child's fingernail. "The other nurse was putting it on her
toenail" I comment. She tells me it makes no difference. When she sees the reading
there is a sudden freakout. The number is much to high. She gets the doctor. He says
"We must admit this child!". I tell him that she seems much better. The
procedure was done differently. She is happy and singing. The doctor says there is no way
he can let this child leave the hospital. We tell him that we don't want her admitted. He
is insistent, saying "She must be admitted!!" We talk like this for too long.
Finally I say ok we will admit her. My partner looks at me as if I'm crazy.
"But" I say "we have to make some phone calls." (I remembered seeing
pay phones in the emergency waiting room.) "OK" says the doctor and points us
towards the waiting room. We get to the waiting room and don't stop at the phone. We head
strait for the exit sign. Free at last, we think, glad that ordeal is over with.
Moments after we step in the door of our apartment the phone rings. It is Child Welfare
Services. Wanting to send someone over, right here, right now. So we begin the process of
dealing with Child Welfare Services. We go out and buy a carton of milk and make sure our
guest bed looks as if it is our daughters. We do these things as suggested by a friend
social worker. When our home visits begin, it is very nerve racking, but as time goes on
it appears that our case worker is a very nice person. We tell him that we are going to
catch up on the vaccinations. (Yeah, right.) He says that he would like to see this case
closed. What a relief.
Finally, about a year later, the case is closed. We are now more certain than ever that
vaccines and the medical, industrial complex is not for us or our child. It also turns out
that our child does not have asthma. Instead she has a food allergy. She is allergic to