NYVIC (New Yorkers for Vaccination Information and Choice)


Another Story
by Kestrel

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.

Not quite.

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 soy.



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