H1N1 Vaccine experiance
Posted 06 November 2009 - 11:14 PM
It all started last April when we first heard about this flu. Many of you know I have two special needs kids who are very sensitive to certain types of illnesses. Stomach bugs, runs and high fevers are the worst possible things for these two little ones. In the past my son nearly died from a fever of 104.6 which caused him to vomit from the fever itself and then cause him to go into what the doctors call Adrenal Crisis. This was just from a fever that kids get all the time. Add the vomiting and the fever and the rest of this nasty flu has to offer and it is a recipe for disaster and in the case of my two little ones Death… So after talking to their Endocrinologist and experiencing one too many cold from friends and family (which eventually turned into pneumonia for a couple of us in the family) my husband and I finally decided that we had to take our sweet little children out of the world for awhile.
Now for those who have ever had a premature baby you might remember the video they show at the hospital before you leave on how to protect your tiny little baby from RSV and what is the best way to keep them safe. Well I was one of the lucky ones who had to watch that video and experience the months of fear of my little 3.5 lbs baby girl getting that nasty bug ON TOP of her other condition. So we have experienced keeping our family away from the world before.
BUT living away from the world for 7 months is a LONG long time. For those who don’t know what it is like I will share what it is like.
First off know when I say we took the kids away from the world I mean they didn’t go anywhere unless it was totally necessary OR we knew they could be protected and safe. The kids only went out a total of 11 times in the entire 7 months.
We took 1 trip to the Endo. In May where both kids were forced to wear masks and gloves to keep them from the “bad bugs” since there were confirmed cases in that area where we had to go and we MUST see the Endo, so I could not cancel the appointment. After the trip to the Endo the kids were taken for blood work where I had to force 2 lab techs to put on masks even though they said their stuffy noses were allergies. The kids did not enjoy this trip as they usually do.
We took 3 trips to the local Zoo which is outside and we could control what they touched and where they went and who they were around. Although the constant washing their hands with baby wipes laced with purel got old and the other family members started to get snippy after the 10th application.
We took 1 trip to the park just after it rained one day at lunch time and the kids had the park to themselves. They had a blast and were so busy playing they never once put their hands on their faces or mouths (I know cause I was on constant patrol to make sure they didn’t) and they didn’t complain once when I again slathered them with Purel and then a baby wipe to get the “Nasty Bugs” off.
We took 1 trip to the doctor for their Hep. A Vaccine. Again masks, gloves, and the huge fight over not playing with or even touching the toys in the exam room. I did bring a pack of sticker pictures for them to play with so that helped and the doc was awesome about cleaning everything that touched them with Purel before she used them. Even her Stethoscope. The kids were bummed they couldn’t have the neat square stickers in the basket because they could have been touched by sick little hands (But the Nurse came thru with safe ones).
We took each kids to the grocery store once in July where I totally wiped down the cart before they even got near it so they could sit in it. I also made sure they had things to hold the whole time so they could keep their hands out of their mouths, or face as we went along. Then applied yet another glob of Purel in the car before we went home.
In July we took a trip “Up North” to visit family and before we left I scanned the State PDF files and local area updates on the recent outbreaks of H1N1 to be sure it wasn’t with in a 100 miles of where we were going. It was in fact no where near there and no one in the family had even a sniffle. So we decided to go. We had a blast and everyone especially the kids were thrilled to be out of the house.
We took 1 trip again to the doctor to get the regular flu shot and since now the H1N1 was showing up again in this area I made the appointment for 8 am sharp. First patients in get germ free chairs and counters (or so you hope) We got both kids their vaccine and asked when they would get the H1N1 vaccine in. “No idea if we will get it” was what we heard. Great!
Just this month the H1N1 exploded in my county. Over 2000 cases in one week alone. The local schools have been closed for weeks at a time, 50 kids in a day would be gone from school, parents were calling in sick to watch kids, then calling in again cause they were sick. Or even worse going to work cause they couldn’t afford to call in sick. It has gotten so bad that none of the schools in the area are open.
I have been calling everyday to see if I could get the kids their vaccine, but they couldn’t get any. The nurses started telling me to call the Health Department. I started calling there everyday. Each day I would hear, “Nope not yet”. Then I finally one day I got a “yep we have them!” YES finally!!! “BUT… Only healthy kids with no underlying conditions can have it.” WHAT!!! “Sorry this vaccine is in mist form and is live and could give them the flu.” Wait they are screaming on the news about all these kids dying from H1N1 because of underlying conditions and the first vaccines the ones that are supposed to be given to the people who need it the most is not safe for them to have? Did I miss something? “Sorry Mam we hope to have the shot form in a few weeks. You will just have to be careful till we get it. Oh and don’t forget to wash your hands a lot.” Wash my hands? Lady my hands are so covered in so much Purel and soap I wouldn’t be surprised if I get cancer from the it!!! Ok breath…
Two weeks go by and during that time only my husband and I go out and only when totally necessary and if we so much as hear a sneeze we walked a block away from the person on the other side of the sneeze. Heaven forbid one of us has to go to the bathroom because there is NO WAY we are going in that room!
A MONTH later the shot form of the vaccine finally comes to this area. I call the Health dept so excited we can finally get the kids their vaccine and be rid of all this. I get up early and call first thing on Monday the lady says, “Yep we have the shots! We got 50 in today, BUT… we are only giving them to pregnant women because they are the highest risk.” OK when will you get the next batch. “Don’t know maybe a couple weeks.” Sigh… Breath… Breath….
So I call my doctor’s office to see if they are getting it. “Yep we HAD 50 shots yesterday, but they were only for asthma kids. Sorry. Try the Health Dept.” Breath…
Two weeks later I call for the millionth time to the Health Dept. (knowing I will get no where and GO nowhere since no we are all held up in the house going no where and fearing that my poor husband who still has to work will get sick and be forced to live somewhere else till he is well) BUT… The lady instead says, “We are having a clinic for the shots on Friday and only kids up to 24 months, pregnant women or kids with special health issues will be allowed and only IF they have a letter from their doctor.” This was Thursday when I called them. I panicked and called the doctor to beg for a letter for the kids. They not only made me letters for both kids in that day, but wrote up scripts for them. I have never been so happy to get a shot for my kids in my LIFE!
Friday morning we are up at 6 am sharp, dragging two VERY tired little ones out of bed slapping clothes and breakfast at them and dragging them out in the cold car to get them to the health department 30 miles away so we can be there before the clinic opens at 8 am. They only had 600 shots and we were NOT going to miss out on those 2 shots for our kids!!! After 40 minutes of driving where the kids were amazed to be out in the dark and not covered in masks we finally got there. Never mind the road closures in all the main routes, maybe that will slow down others from getting there before us right? We arrived at 7:30 am they already had a person at the door handing out flyers and guiding people to the basement for the clinic. We thought that was cool. Then we walked out of the stair well… There were people all the way down the hall, then we turned the corner and found people all the way down the next hall, then we turned the corner again and there were people all the way down that hall. We ended up on the end of a VERY long line. Fortunately they opened the clinic early and they had 6 nurses giving shots and 5 people doing the paperwork so we only had to stand in line for a little over an hour. When I reached the paperwork area I found out that there were 100 people in front of us getting shots! This was at 8:30 am!!! They even had the local TV news station there!!! I’m so glad we got there at 7:30.
We finally get to the front of the line and sit down to talk to the nurse and low and behold the nurse has a grandchild with the same condition as my children and she tells me that we don’t need to give her the script cause they are more than qualified for the shots. BUT… to save them cause we may need them for the next set they will need in a month. A MONTH! ANOTHER ONE! Lady do you have any idea what we had to do to get this one!!! She tells us that the kids will be covered in 2 weeks and they will need the second shot to keep them covered for a year, then they will need another one in a year if this thing is still around. She tells us this shot will NOT keep them from getting the flu, just make the flu much less hard on the kids (survival in my kids case) and she said it was really good we were able to get them in today.
So we got the shot FINALLY and we took our poor little ones home and made them a special lunch and put them to bed for a nice long nap. The next day was Halloween and my sweet little son comes to me and says, “Mom, now that we have had out shot we are safe from the bad bugs right?” I say yes in a few days. “Then Mom… are we having our harvest party tomorrow for Halloween? Are we going to have friends over and play games.” My heart sank… I’m sorry Hun the shot won’t keep you safe for a few more weeks so we can’t have friends over yet and we aren’t going to have the party. Instead we will do something special here. “Oh… Ok Mom. Can you tell me when the Bad Bugs are all gone? So we can go to the Home school group again, and go to the park, and play with my friends again. I miss doing stuff with people.” Me too honey Me too. I sure will tell you when we can, I promise….
So now one week left before they will be safe for a couple weeks and then I have to beg again to get them the shots again. Then go thru waiting for another 2 weeks. By then the snow will be on the ground and the park will be closed for the winter, and if we are lucky everyone in the home school group will be well enough to have the gym nights again and we will all be able to go out of this house again. BUT… Will there be another shot?…
Some background on me for those who are now convinced I am a total germ freak. I grew up on a farm, I ate dirt as a kid, I ate food after petting animals with out washing my hands, I shared hankies, I made mud pies, often used public water fountains and I NEVER got a flu shot. NEVER! Oh and both my kids have eaten dirt, and had binky’s that hit the floor and got stuffed back in and they have been around sick kids many times. I do not stop them from being around germs or bacteria I do not use bleach all over the house and I hate to dust. I am not at all one with the germ freak thing, but to protect my kids and keep them from this flu I have turned into one ugly looking germ phobic maniac! I will be SOOOO glad when I can go back to wiping my nose on my sleeve and scratching my face without total fear of a “bad bug” crawling on me!!!
I hope this tale helps those out there who are now dealing with this mess or have been dealing with it all along. You are not along in your seclusion and I feel your pain!
Posted 07 November 2009 - 10:10 AM
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Posted 07 November 2009 - 05:38 PM
Moms... we do whatever we have to do for our kids.
Thank you for sharing your story. I know someone else reading this but too shy to post will be blessed by it. Someone out there is going through the same thing and won't feel so alone and confused now.
How old are the kids? Are there online tings you can let them do? Need ideas?
Where words and actions disagree, the heart is revealed.
Look how often the unexpected happens... and we still don't expect it.
Posted 12 November 2009 - 07:59 PM
Posted 17 November 2009 - 08:34 PM
There is a company called ESI that is going around to different stores giving the shots. They charge $15 for it. You can look them up at www.getmyflushot.com to see if they are coming to a store near you. I am hoping they will still have the shot form when its time for my daughter to get her second dose.
I try not to take my kids out, but when have to I put them in the double stroller. I can strap the 2 yr old and 4 yr old in and not have to worry about cleaning/disinfecting a shopping cart. I can pretty much make sure they do not touch anything that way. We homeschool so my older daughter (14yrs old) is always around to help out. She will stay home and watch the younger ones or sit in the car wtih them while I run into the bank or post office.
Sheltering in place is HARD. We are probably 50% SIP and I never imagined it would be this difficult.
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