Thursday, September 17, 2009

Deft Parenting

The Matron has made a well-informed, philosophically sound decision based out of total panic. She is going to decide whether or not to give her children H1N1 vaccines based on her facebook comments.

You may read that again for clarification: she will be making life and death decisions regarding her children's health based on her facebook comments.

Go ahead -- friend her in either the newly created Minnesota Matron account or locate her real life persona and tell her what to do!

You see, the Matron has absolutely no idea who to believe, the well-informed, research-armed opposition to flu vaccines or the well-informed, research-armed advocates. The Matron is a big believer in science and hard cold facts; yet, she also knows that knowledge that challenges or threatens to unseat Power (power in this case Medicine and its Official Recommendation) is often strategically discredited, disregarded or otherwise eliminated.

Michehl Foucault 101

Everywhere she turns, information is Suspect! No, she would not, as one dear friend pointed out, like to return to the day of the pre-smallpox vaccine or to experience polio. Her children are immunized and up-to-date in that regard, as well.

But another friend, a nurse, posits that the reason this flu is hardest on children is that their little bodies have been vaccinated into pristine territory: they haven't fought off any big guns and their natural, immune-syste, virus-fighting arsenal? Undeveloped.

Considering, the Matron is currently encouraging dirt-eating and outdoor play of all sort, hoping to give her three a last minute boost of the germ=combat game so they're prepared when the real bug hits them.

Herd mentality sounds pretty soothing at this point. Whichever way the wind flows on facebook -- vaccinate or not--she'll follow.

Makes you sorta wonder what other ingenious parenting strategies she has for you to emulate.


Minnesota Matron said...

Somebody just sent me this: one strong vote for YES to the vaccine!comment=1

Susan said...

My kids in college - I am demanding that they get the flu shot because I am not there to help them and they both live, work and study in public.

I will take my high schooler in for a shot because she has a tough school schedule and can't afford to miss (junior year is hard.)

And I would like my husband to get the shot because you know how men are when they are sick

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. I haven't really thought about whether to get the shot. I'll email #1 son, just starting his second year in med school (but a total independent thinker) and see what he recommends. Oh, and I'll ask DH, psychiatric nurse and former public health nurse, and also a completely independent thinker and oftimes contrarian.

Any guesses on what what they will say?

Mama Ava said...

The flue is not a deadly life-threatening disease, H1N1 or otherwise. I don't believe in vaccinating for things a kid might get that will lay them low for a 3-4 days. School or otherwise. We're having a flu bout here in our school in China (including the H1N1) and no one's out for more than 4 days. When we lived in MN, the flu shot notices would always irritate me because they made it sound as if you were going to DIE ANY MINUTE if you didn't run to Cub or Target and get that shot. None of us have ever had a flu shot and none of us have ever had "the flu".

Suburban Correspondent said...

Does anyone have the numbers on how effective the vaccine (or any flu vaccine is)? I remember researching it once, and it was shockingly low. On the other hand, Matron, I don't think the shot will kill them. I don't agree with your friend's reasoning on why the little ones are hardest hit this time around. I believe the reasoning that people over 50 have been exposed to this particular virus, while the younger ones have not.

We usually don't get flu shots. We might this year, just so I don't feel guilty. The problem with the new flu is that children are dying from it. Not hordes of children, but a higher percentage than normal. That is why people are alarmed. Officials also fear that it could act like the flu of 1918 - a milder form of it appeared in spring, but it came back in the fall a much more powerful virus.

I do worry about vaccines with the younger kids; but 12-year-olds? I think they can handle a flu shot.

smalltownmom said...

Way to get facebook friends, Matron!

I've never had a flu shot. I've worked in a school for 3+ years. If they tell me to get a flu shot, I will. Otherwise, I am probably too lazy. I haven't even thought about vaccinating my one remaining school-age child. But he's 13 and has probably had a wide exposure to various germs.

MJ said...

I've never had a flu shot. My sister-in-law works in a hospital and never gets it either but is likely to do so for H1N1. But will I or my kids? Frankly, I suspect it will be too late once it is available in my country as that won't be until November and it may have run rampant by then.

I am curious about your decision and reasons now!

Allmycke said...

As a teacher, and having been operated for lung cancer, I'm getting the shot - but I'll leave it up to others to make up their own mind about what to do.
I am interested in seeing what response you get to this post, though!

Rudee said...

How about a different kind of homework assignment? Read The Great Influenza by John Barry. It's an eye opener. I'll be getting both flu vaccines this year. I've seen ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome) in patients and it's devastating. What's interesting about this particular flu, and the one of 1918, is that they both seem to cause ARDS in otherwise healthy humans.

Perhaps I'll email you a personal account from my sister's friend. His wife contracted H1N1 and subsequent ARDS. It's changed their lives and left her with a loss of 30% of her pulmonary function.

Anonymous said...

Sweden is offering free vaccination to everyone. But not mandatory.

Of course, we are one of those socialist countries where the government runs death panels and all the leaders are like Hitler, secret muslims born in Kenya.

But I digress, I vote yes because the danger is small and the benefit potentially great. In particular, I want to avoid spreading the flu to the students. I don't care much about my own sickness, but killing a 20 year old would look bad on my CV.

As for efficiency, the prototype vaccine used here gives protection in 84% of the cases. For obvious reasons, there has been no large scale tests of the H1N1-vaccine. The (incomplete) small scale tests show an even better response than expected.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Mama Ava

Michele Renee said...

I am with Mama Ava. We don't get flu shots but I must say that our history is that we don't get the flu much to speak of. My kids are 13, 11 and about to turn 9. The 9 year old had a friend over on Sun for 4 hours. The mom called yesterday to tell me the kid has the flu and maybe I want to get a flu shot for my kid. Luckily Hubs and I are in a position to be home if needed should someone get sick.

Daisy said...

My teen has asked me to look into getting the shot. He WANTS the flu shot. I think he remembers the last time he had influenza when it morphed into one illness after another and he lost 40 lb in 3 months - not your typical teenage growth spurt.

A Lawyer Mom's Musings said...

Whether to get the H1N1 flu shot is a tough call. My mother is apoplectic, and vehemently against it, recalling for me all sorts of tales from the 1970s when so many people got that decade's version of the "swine flu" vaccine, only to become paralyzed.

My gut instinct is NO. But then, my kid is not in the higher risk subset (children 5 and under).