Reposted from A Day In The Life by ItsJessMe
Editor's Note: A first-hand account of why vaccinations are important. s:wc -- ItsJessMe
I have read both sides of this ragging (hey guys, this is an intentional play on words, I had hoped you might pick up on that?) debate. Thanks to DarkSyde for pointing out the column by Kathleen Parker in the Chicago Tribune. She said something that really made me stop and think about this debate.
Most Americans under the age of 50, including doctors, have never seen measles.
This means that not only do parents have no idea what they are risking, the doctors preaching non-vaccination don't either. Find me a doctor who has had measels, or who has treated measels, who still preaches non-vaccination, and I might at least listen. All others lack first hand knowledge.
While I am not a Doctor, I have seen measels, both the three day and the German variety, mumps, whooping cough, and polio up close and personal. I had them all as a child, except for polio. I did, however, know friends that lived through the horror of polio.
Whooping cough is a horrible disease for any baby to live through. I was very young when I caught it, about eighteen months old. I remember not being able to breath. I had to cough to expel air, before I could suck more air in. This caused me to be unable to rest or sleep. I remember becoming so weak and tired that I wanted to give up. I see that week in my memory like a series of snap shots. I see my mother sitting by my tented bed, crying. I hear the hiss of the vaporizer as it blew medicated steam into the tent around me. The pungent odor of vicks vapor is imprinted on my brain.
When I was four, I had the three day measels. My mother was pregnant, so she could not be near me. This disease did not reach a life threatening level for me, but it was still awful to live through. I was lucky, the case I had broke out easily, and I fought it off quickly. The baby my mother was carrying was born with birth defects, which ended her life hours after she was born. I know my mother always suspected that her expposure to the measels virus may have caused that. It broke my heart, even at that young age.
When I was six, I caught the German measels. I remember almost every hour of this illness. The virus wouldn't break out, and my fever hovered near 105° for several days. Though my mother was told to avoid any contact with me, she was pregnant again, she couldn't stay away when it became clear that my life was in serious danger. I spent two days in repeated ice baths, as my fever soared, and the docors fought to protect my brain fom the fever. The virus began breaking out inside my mouth, up my nose, in my eyes, down my ears. I was in agony. They had to tie my hands down because I was clawing at myself. My mother was nearly hysterical, and I tried hard to be brave for her. She would stand in the door of my hospital room and sob. My father, always so calm, was scared too. It was at that point that I understood I was in a battle for my life. Children always know more than adults want to think they do.
Finally, the virus broke through my skin, and my fever went down. I was sick for over three weeks, and it took me several months to really recuperate. When I entered first grade, I was diagnosed with learning disorders. Of course, my mother believed that the prolonged fever had cooked my brain, and left me retarded. It didn't. I had undiagnosed dyslexia.
The point is, it could have, and it did leave thousands of children with varying levels of brain damage.
When I was twelve, I had the mumps. First on one side, then on the other. Mumps are painful for a female, and far worse for a male. I was out of school for a month. My brother, who was seven and a half years my junior, caught them from me. He truly suffered.
I remember standing in line to get my polio vaccine on a sugar cube. I think we did that twice. Several years later, I also had the multiple needle prick vacation to my arm. I had a friend in first grade who went through having polio. She spent months in an iron lung. I used to visit her. I couldn't read yet (I didn't read until the forth grade), so she would read to me. We moved away before she recovered, so I don't know what happened to her. Moving often, and leaving people and places behind, was the culture of the military family I was raised in.
To those of you who decide to withold vaccines from your children, this is what you are inviting into their lives. How can any parent, in good conscience, withold this preventative medication from their children based on antedotal evidence. The statical significance between vaccines and any type of neural disorder, has never been recorded at a level that proves any correlation.
On the other hand, these diseases kill children every day. That is a certanity.
I remember when young children died from these diseases on a daily basis, and raising a child to school age was not assured. I knew families who lost children, some more than one, as these illnesses burned through geographical areas. Vaccinations prevent that.
I lived the reality. It was horrible. Folks, you can be certain that your children don't have to suffer like I suffered.
GET THEM VACCINATED!