Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Lesson Learned

There are no pictures to accompany this post. It's just an anecdote, or maybe more like a fable--there is a moral at the end of the story. But unlike a story, I will give you the moral at the beginning so if nothing else, you will remember this: as much as you like your child's doctor, teacher, daycare provider, etc., they are not his or her parents, and therefore you must look over their shoulders at all times.

I know, I'm so doom and gloom today, but you're lucky I didn't write this post on Monday after Jax's 9 month doctor appointment. Then it would have been all, "Hell hath no fury like a woman whose kid has not been shown the proper consideration." I will give you the short version, since I've told many of you avid readers the story already.

As you know, JDubbs and I went to great lengths and pains to create a vaccination schedule that we approved of for Jax . Since I wasn't working for the months preceding Jax's birth, I had plenty of time to research and I consider myself as expert on the subject as a layperson can be. The basic summary of what we decided is

a) he doesn't need all the vaccinations because he isn't in daycare and isn't exposed to as many germs as he would be if he was
b) no combination shots
c) no more than 2-3 shots per visit
d) no more than one live virus vaccination per visit

Seems pretty clear, right? Well apparently it wasn't. Monday, I discovered (and by discovered I mean that I found out by accident, not that I was informed) that Jax had been given the wrong vaccination at his 6 month appointment. This basically means that when they were supposed to give him the regular shot for DTaP (diptheria, pertussis, and tetanus) that we've all had, they gave him Pediarix, a combination shot that combines DTaP with the vaccinations for Polio and Hepatitis B. Needless to say I was furious beyond words since we weren't planning on vaccinating Jax against Hep B until we absolutely had to (i.e. when he is school age) and we wanted NO combination shots (which they knew as I had informed them, in writing). So that means he had vaccinations for not one, not two, but FIVE vaccinations in one day, and that's if you count DTaP as one and not three!

I won't go into the details of how frustrating it was once I figured that out to get the doctors or nurses to confirm that they did indeed screw up, but trust me, it was the proverbial pulling of teeth. I have never been so angry as when the nurse said, "Is that a big deal?" Apparently not to them, but very much so to me, JDubbs, and most of all, poor little Jax whose body has been invaded by so many new things. At least he didn't have a reaction or any negative side effects. They are so lucky for that!

So the moral of the story is as follows: teachers, doctors, nurses, daycare providers, etc. are all educated, kind people of good intentions. No one wants to do the wrong thing and maliciously infects kids with the wrong vaccine. But the point is, you can't trust that they won't! As a former teacher, I know that you can't expect your child's teacher to remember each modification for every student that they have every day. So it's the parents' job to stay on top of them and give them a little reminder if need be. And as for daycare, you only have to ask Tricia, whose daycare was giving her son Aiden any food they liked, whether he had tried it before or not until he broke out in a rash, to realize that they may mean well, but there is no substitute for an alert parent.

I know I'm lucky to be home with Jax , but never so much so as when I realize I have the time and energy to be his biggest advocate as well as cheerleader and buddy. As much as we all would like to assume the best about everyone, this is just a gentle reminder that that may not always be the case, and it's up to us to make sure our kids are in the safest hands.

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