Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Little Confession

I am a logical, rational person. I embrace science. I respect research. I believe that medicine intends to do good, or at least do no harm.

But when we realized J-man might have ‘issues’, I fell down the rabbit hole a little bit.

In Autismland, there are TONS of “complementary” or “alternative” therapies. Some of them are interesting, some benign, some crazy, and some downright scary. I explored them. I read books. We even tried a few of the less expensive/least invasive ones, with the reasoning being “well, it can’t hurt”. Despite the lack of supporting research, I pursued these options because when you are a parent, and you are sooo afraid, you will try anything. (For those interested in a great discussion on this issue, check out this blog)

However, we left those options a long while ago, and now stay rooted in philosophies with more empirical support. It feels better. It feels right.

But there has been one hanger-on that stuck.

We stopped immunizing J-man after his 15 month vaccines.

He had all of the standard vaccines prior to 15 months old, including his MMR. But at that point, I stopped.

I am rational, logical, love science, know research, believe in research. I don’t believe vaccines caused his issues, and I am highly, highly skeptical that it has anything to do with autism (although I allow a least reasonable doubt about it the very rarest of cases).

But I just couldn’t do it. The fear was just too great.

Until this week.

J-man has a toe nail infection. Nothing major, but his big toe got pretty inflamed and I realized he might need a hit of antibiotics. So off to the pediatrician we went. Our Dr. knows all about J-man’s issues, and has been very respectful of my decisions regarding progressing with immunizations. We discussed it at length, and since he had coverage for the major ones, he supported a ‘hold’ on vaccines until I was more comfortable. And since J-man is also crazy healthy (we hardly ever have to take him in!!), it has been off the radar for a while.

But when I took him in for his “toe-llio”, the other not-so-favorite pediatrician saw him and did the (disrespectful) double eyebrow raise when he saw on our chart.  We were behind. I almost told him to bugger off because of those eyebrows.

But I was ready.

So much to J-man’s dismay, he got two shots in the thigh.

And survived. And said “Pizz-ahhh YAH!” the next day…

I try to respect other people’s fears and choices because of my own trip down the rabbit hole. In such a confusing, scary, distrustful time… when no one can give you answers… it is so easy to distrust ‘the system’ who cannot help, and trust those who hand out answers and promises like candy. Hope is a drug.

But I believe in science, in medicine, and in research. And I believe in trusting my own mind.

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