By Cathy Jameson (reprinted from 10/11, Cathy has the day off.)
Good grief, my kids can lay it on thick. I’ve got doom and gloom peering out from their bloodshot eyeballs. Why you ask? Well, we were recently exposed to some kids who had received the Flumist vaccine. Hours and hours and hours of contact, play time, meal time and chit chat occurred before I found out those children opted to have the live flu virus jammed up their nostrils earlier in the day. You might have heard the primal scream I let out when I returned to the quiet of my home after discovering this bit of news. I’m usually the eternal optimist. Not so much that day. I was cursing like a sailor instead.
I have five kids, one vaccine injured son and another boy with some immune system issues. I have three healthy daughters who most of the time have nary a sniffle. After the Flumist discovery, I declared a fortnight of no contact with those children I promise I won’t call potential mini virus spreaders. I hoped the two week time buffer would give me a chance to keep my kids free from exposure from the shedding a live-virus vaccine does once it enters the body. But, it was too late. Like a firing squad, one child at a time came down with fevers, coughs, the chills, achy joints and rotten attitudes. Antsy yet inconsolable greeted me for too many days in a row. Of course I blamed my kids’ sickness on the recent source we’d been exposed to—their playmates.
Before my kids got really sick, they retaliated to a two-week-free-from-the-Flumist-friends decree I made. “Why can’t we play with them? We promise not to get too close.” They begged. They bribed. “We’ll be extra nice and help you more if we can go play, okay?” I repeated the decree with a brief explanation as to why it was important to give us time and space away from them—we don’t want Ronan to get sick. If he catches the flu (or the “flu-like” symptoms lots of people encounter after receiving the flu shot) from these friends, it can really make him very sick. They understood that part, but there were still terribly ticked that I took two friends away so quickly. Oh, the looks I got. Ouch, that one from my oldest seared through my heart! She’d just befriended one of the girls. They’d planned more hours and hours of fun. “Please, oh, please, oh, please, achhhhoo, can I go over to see her again? I’ll be quick. Please?” I said no. I put my foot down and said no again with her pathetic plea, “Awww, Mom. Please? Just for a few minutes?” My other foot went down, NO. You don’t understand, and I’m sorry you think I’m the bad guy, but no. Wait a few weeks and then you can play. “WEEKS?!?!” Yes, I said, at least two weeks for their flu virus to do what it’s “supposed” to do and then you can play again.
Two weeks. A fortnight of frowny faces. The kids scowled in between napping off their aches, fevers and coughing all over the place. Oh, well. Mean Old Mom strikes again. It’s a title I’ve earned and one I plan on keeping close by.