October 30, 2009

Swine Flu for Me and You? Well no, not you, Drew

Yesterday I was embroiled in controversy. Well, this definitely is may be an overstatement. My four year old son, Drew got his H1N1 vaccination, or as some would say, we protected him against the Swine flu. (Hopefully the pork council won't hunt me down for calling it that.)

After much careful deliberation (reading what little information I could find on the Internet about the vaccine), I asked my co-worker what she would do if she were me. My co-worker always has advice for me, and it usually is great advice being as her previous job involved working with children in a social worker-type- role, even if the advice is mostly unsolicited. Yes, after all the information I read, I based my decision to get Drew's shot based on my co-worker's feelings, because I felt so mushy and turned around I wasn't sure what to do, and after reading about the shortage of seasonal flu vaccines all around our city, I felt he definitely needed some protection, like NOW.

I rushed out of work to go pick up Drew and hurried him to the Middle School where they were having the clinic. Pulling in, I noticed two cop cars, and policeman patrolling the entrance to the parking lot, where I had to talk to a volunteer, who told me to "park anywhere". Wow, her job was necessary.

We parked, and Drew started to saunter towards the line. "No, Drew-bear, let's walk extra fast- can you do it?" Being the total asshat I am, I sped walked my way in front of a few people who were taking their time walking up to the line that stretched out past the courtyard and spilled out onto the sidewalk by the parking lot. In my defense, I had to urinate this whole time.

As we were waiting in line, policeman patrolled the area. I'm not sure if they thought people were going to start freaking out and frothing at the mouth, like in zombie movies. I mean, for god's sakes, it's just children in stroller and parents. There were large signs all over courtyard that if you had flu symptoms (Fever and cough/or sore throat) you could not come into the facility. Loud speakers announced this as well and could be heard throuought the courtyard. It felt like we were waiting in line for the worst Disney World ride ever. Immediately I felt the need to cough, and was worried that the policemen would come over and take me out of line for coughing in which case I would have to drop to the ground and scream "My baby! My baby needs this shot, please, officer you have to help me!" (Or not.) The whole scene was like something out of a Roland Emmerich movie. I felt all valiant that I was saving my son, even if I wasn't going to make it, at least for a second, and then I remembered I was in real life, and real life is not as exciting or dangerous.

We were finally allowed to enter the school after a quick screening of Drew's eligibility (thank goodness Drew is tiny, I thought, and no questions about his age), and I had to sit and speak with another volunteer about when Drew's last flu shot was (hadn't had one yet) and so they told me he could get the flu mist). Of course I had a million questions for her, which she didn't want to answer or didn't know.

Next, we waited in another line. Drew started to whine, a four year can only be patient for so long! I told him he could play with my Ipod, then realized it was in my car. Then I told him he could have a piece of gum, which was dirty, so I had to take that away as well. Then I promised him candy corn at home. That satisfied him. Bribery, my favorite parenting skill.

Drew and I entered the cafeteria, i.e., crying central, and two shoots up the nose later, and no tears (!) we were finished. It took about an hour, and when we left the building, there was no line- it just figures, right?

We went back to school to pick up Jacob, you know, my unprotected son. Unprotected against the swine flu, but protected against seasonal flu. This way they can't cross-contaminate each other or something.

Once we arrived home, I was so happy to see our bathroom. Near tears, myself actually. THE END.


The thing that bothers me most about this vaccination and the clinics is the lack of information out there about these clinics, and the weird rules that are spelled out and not spelled out for everyone. Drew is 4, but he will be 5 in January. Are they trying to tell me that because of these 3 months he is high risk and should not be turned away, unlike the 5 year old boy I saw turned away yesterday?

Also, there needs to be more information on H1N1 Flu mist vs. H1N1 Flu shot. My two year son, Jacob received the seasonal flu mist, so now he is not eligible to get the H1N1 shot for another month. Drew received the Flu Mist for H1N1, but he can get a flu Shot, just not the seasonal flu mist. What?!? I am also not excited about the fact that the flu mist contains a live virus, vs. the flu shot which contains the dead virus. Again, my information on this topic is all internet hearsay, so I have no idea of knowing what this means.

We cannot forget about the fact that Drew will need a second shot, also, which Drew have to wait ANOTHER month for, that is, if that shot becomes available, and the people I talked to at this clinic don't think it will. Don't worry, though, the one shot is "better than nothing" I was told. I understand that this is a new virus, and we are learning as we go (scary thought) but there really should be a collective way we are receiving and understanding the different shots, how they react with one another, and the location of any and all local clinics.

PS Thank you to all of the volunteers. For all my joking, everything ran very smoothly and all the volunteers were wonderful, and very friendly.

PSS Drew is doing absolutely fine today.


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