So, while driving around town Wednesday, I had a great brainstorming session. I had a brilliant idea. I actually had two brilliant ideas. By the time I got a chance to sit down and type though, I lost my writing mojo. I stepped away from the computer thinking I’d just come back later to type when my ideas returned.
Later that night –nothing.
A day goes by - no ideas.
Another day and I feared the worst – NOTHING!
I had nothing to share!
But then I recalled something.
Then, I saw something.
And, I also remembered something.
I now have three stories to share.
First Story: a recollection
I recalled that the National Infant Immunization Week was coming up. Is it scary that I remembered that this “event” was looming on the calendar? It’s more like ungodly fear that I feel as I think about this campaign. If you’ve never heard of it here’s the write up from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website: “National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) is an annual observance to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases and celebrate the achievements of immunization programs and their partners in promoting healthy communities. Since 1994, NIIW has served as a call to action for parents, caregivers, and healthcare providers to ensure that infants are fully immunized against 14 vaccine-preventable diseases. NIIW 2012 will be April 21-28.”
Grab! Stab! Wheee! Be free! Free of what? A preventable disease like pertussis that isn’t so preventable with the vaccines on the CDC’s recommended schedule? Ooooops!
That’s okay. The CDC still gets to pat themselves on the back this week. The second half of their “celebration” is all about them as they “…celebrate the achievements of immunization programs and their partners in promoting healthy communities...” Hmmmm. Vax programs and their partners? Partners in what, crime? Or partners like you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours? Here’s how this plays out in my head: We (the vax promoting people) will grab and stab the baby and then pawn lil Johnny off to you (the partners) when he falls ill from the vaccines we pump into him. We’ll then send sick, distressed lil Johnny to your practice so you can write script after script after script that we endorse. We’ll both make money here, there and everywhere! Just don’t tell Unsuspecting Mumsy what’s really going on. And, never tell her that the 1 in a million adverse reactions is really more like 1 in 88.
Why on God’s green earth did it become common place to take healthy infants and inject them with rounds and rounds of vaccines? After all these years I am still trying to figure out the logical behind that practice. It doesn’t make sense when other natural preventative practices can help boost the immune system quite nicely. But, that’s not what the CDC is promoting.
It’s too bad a counter idea isn’t in the works. If we’re forced to have a National Infant Immunization Week then I want to have this proposed event the week prior: the “National Week of Educating Before Vaccinating”. Wouldn’t that be awesome! And, it would fit right into the very last word of the CDC’s full name: PREVENTION.
I envision information being shared at every doctor’s office, walk-in clinic, university hospital and medical college. Information about preventing vaccine injury. Topics covered would include lists of every vaccine in production, every known vaccine ingredient and complete details of every side effect. And, every story of every vaccine-related injury and vaccine-related death as required reading. Then, they’d all be tested on the information. Every doctor and nurse and pharmacist who has the right to wield a vaccine would have to sign a document stating he/she is fully ready to inform every patient about every vaccine. That document would state that each vaccinator would be held accountable for any and all reactions, too. What a dreamy week that would be.
But, April 21-28 will see only the one-sided POWER TO PROTECT - IMMUNIZATIONS ARE TO BE CELEBRATED mantra. That scares the heebie jeebies out of me. A campaign to promote an “observance” of vaccines? Observance conjures up sadness, a memory, a situation that didn’t have to happen but did. Yep, it’s got a gloomy tone. And, yep I’ve been known to be down in the dumps as I recall some sad memories, memories of a child who had his immunizations but experienced more harm than good done from them. Take Ronan for instance. Had I known what I know now….<sigh>…
“Celebrating” a week of injecting known neurotoxins that can cause serious medical issues into healthy babies? Never.
Second Story: something I saw
I saw a sign stating that this month, the entire month, is host to the National Child Abuse Prevention Month. “April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time to recognize that we each play a part in promoting the social and emotional well-being of children and families in communities.”
I wonder if the “Because of Vaccine Damage That Later Resulted in Autism” community is included. I wonder that because I’m teetering on the edge thinking that some of the medical “practices” and subsequent necessary special educational “supports” constitute as some form of abuse.
I’m all for promoting good stuff for kids and their families, and think this month-long prevention campaign is a worthy event. I do believe some good will come from this effort. But, the now ever-cynic in me quickly put me and my kid in the situation: what about the terrible damage done to kids in the exam room? Like when the doctor insisted upon vaccinating lil Johnny while he had a double ear infection? Doc said it would be okay. Vaccinate. Do it now. Today. No worries. His thought process: It’ll save Unsuspecting Mumsy a trip to do them now. But Mumsy’s wised up a bit. She reminds the doc that lil Johnny is on antibiotics - shouldn’t he be completely healthy for his shots? Wait again she timidly speaks. You just gave me a sample of Tylenol that I’m supposed to give sick, feverish, immunocompromised lil Johnny after plunging multiple vaccines into him? And I also have to make him chug antibiotics for the next ten days? Really? Lil Johnny’s weeping, full of gross, gren boogies, looking sadder than sad while Mumsy is being told to trust the lab-coated human who might get some kickbacks from lil Johnny’s visit visit. She wavers on what her “Mommy gut” is telling her - to run far, far away.
The above scenario? True story. The outcome? A seriously sick child who regressed and who later catapulted onto the autism spectrum. Preventable? Sure was. Abuse? I’d have to say some form of medical maltreatment.
So, instead of promoting just “the social and emotional well-being of children and families” I’d like to promote something even better. Social and emotional well-being sounds nice, and really reminds me of when we were a typical family before Ronan got sick, but what for the autism community? With the numbers being at 1 in 88, more children are in jeopardy of being abused. How so? Quite easily: by understaffed or inadequately trained providers who work with huge waves of children spilling into their classrooms, that’s how!
1 in 88 potential abuse cases.
I in 88 neglected in some form or fashion.
1 in 88 socially cast aside by peers.
1 in 88 whose well-being has been taken advantage of.
(Please do remember that those 1 in 88 stats are old despite their March 2012 debut.)
Children and their families in the autism community can potentially be victim of neglect and mistreatment at an even more alarming rate. Some immediately fall out of their formerly typical communities when lil Johnny’s behavior issues increase. They’ll start to fall out of other communities when they are emotionally kicked out of their own extended families because they don’t “get why lil Johnny keeps banging his head on the floor” asking, “Can’t you just spank him?” A safe community needs to be provided stat!
Who will scrape these people off the floor while they crumble at the thought of their child’s future? Who will take them in? Who will rebuild the social and emotional mess that causes quite a toll physically and psychologically for these families on the spectrum? It would be so costly to right some of these wrongs. Funding will obviously be needed to keep children safe and families intact. Oh, and also to keep what’s left of the rest of the healthy kids off the spectrum.
But, where, oh where can we get the means to do all of that? Think. Think. Think.
Hey! Here’s an idea. Why don’t we postpone that national infant immunization “one-size-fits-all” herd immunity campaign, re-appropriate those funds to holistic pediatricians who believe in educating parents on all vaccination fronts, figure out how to prevent child restraint and abuse in the classrooms and siphon the rest of the money directly to the families who are at the end of their financial rope because of their child’s vaccine-induce autism.
Third Story: a memory
Years and years and years ago I worked in the education field. I loved being a teacher. My classroom was my office and my students were my co-workers. I lived, breathed and even dreamed about my career. One year, when I was not just a teacher but also Director of a preschool I had the honor of bringing the school to a National Accreditation status with the NAEYC. http://www.naeyc.org/woyc It was hard work, but it was so rewarding to provide top-notch educational opportunities for my students and their families.
What does any of this have to do with my third story? Well, as I dropped Ronan off to his special education classroom this week we passed a preschool along the way. On the gate was a sign about celebrating “The Week of the Young Child™ which is an annual celebration sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). The purpose of the Week of the Young Child™ is to focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families and to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs. The 2012 Week of the Young Child™ is April 22–28 and the theme is Early Years Are Learning Years®.” Yes those early years are!
I remembered what an honor and a privilege it was to work alongside the staff of the NAEYC. I learned a great deal about providing a quality program for families and also gained important professional skills as the Director. Our preschool received the highest accreditation, and life was good.
A few years later I had I had the chance to attempt another National Accreditation with the NAEYC but this time at a different school. Knowing the ins and outs of the procedure I dove right into the project. The hardest part of the initial stage in the process was the filing. Oh, the paperwork! It had to be perfect. Impeccable. Or the accreditation process could be cancelled even before a physical inspection of the school would be scheduled.
I had lists upon list to check and double check. I triple and quadruple checked everything and made sure my staff knew I was not usually this neurotic. The honor of accreditation was worthy of the great pains and massive effort we all had to bear.
While getting the NAEYC filing I made sure to have all of my other files in tip top shape. Might as well make sure everything was where it was supposed to be. I was on an organizing spree. Since it had been awhile since I had looked at the students’ health and shot records I started there first. I made a list of students and one by one checked off that we had the school physical and an accompany vaccine record. Easy day. Starting at the top of the list I check for each form. Check? Match. Check? Match. Check? But wait. What’s this? Oh, yeah. That Kid’s shot record.
That Kid’s shot record was one I’d never seen before . It was blank. Hellooooo, Misguided Mom??? Didn’t she know those boxes were to be filled in? Who does she think she is? It gets better. Clipped to the empty shot record was a greeting card. It had a picture of the Earth with some celestial mumbo jumbo intertwined around it. In the card, Misguided Mom had written something to the effect: “My child will not get the vaccines recommended because I believe the Universe and Divine Nature will protect him and his health….yadda yadda yadda.” Hold on. Bwahahahahaha!
Fast forward 15 years. I wish I had as much sense now as what (now referred to as ) Organic Mom did then.
Organic Mom was in the clear. Our state honored vaccine exemptions. After consulting with my boss about That Kid’s shot record I found out Holistic Mom’s handwritten note was documentation enough for That Kid to stay enrolled.
Man, I wish I could have asked her a question or two about why she thought vaccines were for crap. I totally judged her though. I thought she was a foolish fool. I couldn’t wrap my head around how the Universe and Divine Nature would protect her kid. I didn’t ask. I just shook my head and continued to file paperwork.
Things got ugly when That Kid came down with chicken pox a few weeks into the school year. Even with a vax exemption status That Kid had to obviously stay home until his pox cleared up. BUT, in order to return to school Organic Mom had to take That Kid to the doctor. Doctor was required to sign off that That Kid was symptom-free and not contagious. Sound reasonable? I thought so. Plus, I didn’t make these rules. I was just relaying the info my boss told me. Hey, Organic Mom! Because of the exemption. Remember? You chose not to vax. We now need Big Brother’s documentation. That Kid can’t come back into the school without it. Sorry.
Organic Mom was now Irate Mom because a doctor’s visit cost her time off work and a co-pay. My hands were tied. There were procedures to follow. I was getting dumped on because of some extra step that she voluntarily chose. Hey! Don’t yell at me. I just file the papers here. Go. Take him to the doc’s office. Make sure he’s free of his goo and then bring him back.
Man, I was so judgmental. And stupid. But, I had no need for vaccine information back then beyond filing office paperwork.
But wait, why is this my third story?
I remembered all of this when I saw the sign for The Week of the Young Child while driving past the preschool Thursday morning. Seeing the sign triggered the National Accredidation memory. The National Accreditation memory triggered a thought that <gasp> I did know something about vaccines and exemptions well before Ronan was born.
Yes. A flood of memories. They came rushing. Fifteen years ago I was introduced to vaccine exemptions. I had no idea, NO idea how much I would be surrounded by talk of vaccines today. I also didn’t think that I would start so many conversations with other people, “If I’d only known then what I do know now … <sigh>…”
How funny the world works.
Now that I know what I know….. I’m not afraid to share an opinion or two or… three.
Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.