This quote showed up in my newsfeed on Facebook. This topic is one I’ve been wanting to comment on for a while, as I’ve been given a different perspective on things after my daughter’s cancer ordeal. The quote –
I disagree. A year ago, and I might have agreed. But – I spent a year dealing with Lanae’s cancer and the after effects. A year getting to know other families who are going through similar trials. And they often post their perspective as well, which have given me room for thought – not to change my mind, but simply to adjust my stance.
The kids I’ve gotten to know – they have no immune system. And their parents have stayed with them, through one treatment after another, in a world that has gone chaotically upside down. They find themselves trying to keep up with changing medications and a non-functional immune system. I’ve seen it. Lanae’s gotten sick at least once a month, sometimes more, since we finished treatment. And that’s just a cold – so seeing how easily their kids fall to a basic virus, imagine the parents terror at imagining something more severe, like whooping cough. Anyone who says “it’s not all that bad” (sadly, a common argument with anti-vaxxers) don’t have a child who struggles against a cold. I’ve seen kids end up in the ICU from just the common cold, never mind more serious diseases.
These parents would whole-heartedly agree to an unseen schedule. Without a doubt. And they do. And they are still critical thinkers, and honest, contrary to this person’s statement. But they also see their children in front of them, limping along without an immune system, and it’s heartrending. No critical thinker, no honest person, wants to see that child end up in ICU – to turn around this lady’s quote. But yet, that’s what happens.
And so they agree to vaccines, now and forever. And yes, they get it for themselves. Or if they can’t, they do literally huddle inside their homes, afraid of the germy world outside. And it’s because of a few simple reasons – fear, not the average, every day fear of what could happen, but what (for many) is almost inevitable to happen. They fear for their own children, who can’t get the shots and are susceptible to these viruses that go around. So they trust the word of the doctors that recommend it. And it’s more than a trust that most parents have, of taking their child to an annual checkup or when there’s a basic childhood illness. It’s a day-to-day trust, one they have to rely on, because there’s nothing else. Every day, they get up and put their trust in the hands of the doctors who’ve read the medical textbooks, because this parent doesn’t have the time to sit down and read through all the medical jargon. Their child’s life depends on those doctors, through surgeries, medications, lab draws and blood counts. They have no choice but to trust that the doctors really do know best. And because of this trust, they have to trust that the doctors know what they are doing when they recommend vaccines, no matter how many is added.
Trusting vaccines is not about just “knowing the facts.” It’s knowing them, and then weighing them, evaluating the risks. And when a parent is already expending so much energy just to keep their child alive, they are not going to chance it on something that could so easily come in and take that life.
It’s not just rights to refuse medical procedures. As much as you have the right to refuse a medical procedure for the sake of your child, so these parents also have the right to determine what is best for their own child. Sometimes, that means looking and seeing what can be done as a society. Because in reality, what one side does will inevitably affect the other, either in perception or actuality. And that’s a big responsibility to take on, whichever side you’re on.