The Health of One Small Child In the Hands of One Big World
Day after day I read articles from parents speaking out in support of vaccines. Like myself, these parents understand that fear and misinformation about immunizations can spread as quickly as a contagious disease. They offer their personal perspective for the same reasons I continue to contribute to this blog. They are not trying to scare you about death and disease, but rather explain why they feel compelled to speak out in support of immunizations. Though I have never met these women, their courage inspires me. And I am grateful that we share a common mission; to help others understand the importance of immunity and the responsibility we have to protect one another from vaccine preventable diseases.
Today I wish to share a very powerful story about a precious little girl named Victoria. While Victoria’s mother is doing everything humanly possible to protect her, she is asking for our help as well. Her story appeared on a blog called The Mama Tao and I hope this post, entitled Protecting Victoria will be widely distributed so that people everywhere will understand how much we all rely on one another in this delicate world. The post was written by Kory Oransky and begins like this:
Let me put this in simple terms
Yes, I depended on your children getting vaccinated to protect my daughter. I depended on that specifically from March 5th to the end of June, 2010.
From the moment Victoria was born to the moment she left Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin after her open heart surgery, I learned to fear tiny things I couldn’t see. A cold or fever that any normal child could deal with could have killed my daughter.
No, I’m not being a drama queen.
My daughter was born with a heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot. First described back in the 1600’s by a French physician, it consists of four mistakes that together create a heart that can’t pump blood effectively. Prior to the late 1940’s, when the first heart surgeries performed at Johns Hopkins managed to alleviate some of the circulatory problems of ToF, a child born with this condition had an average life span of 18 months.
For nearly four months, my daughter, my son and I lived in quarantine at home from the rest of the world. We didn’t leave the house or hospital unless absolutely necessary. I still thank Heaven for Amazon Prime and internet streaming video. My husband was the only person who interacted with the outside world from time to time (someone had to work to support the family, after all.)
We did everything humanly possible to shield her from the outside world.
We had to leave the house sometimes, even if only for a doctor appointment. It didn’t matter if the doctors would have wanted to make an exception and do a house call…there was specialized equipment that they couldn’t pack up and take along for their examinations. She had to venture out into the world.
I got a little nuts planning out routes to avoid other people. Doctors did what they could to accommodate our wishes to be either the first in or the last appointment of the day, to minimize the amount of strangers she would be exposed to.
It didn’t matter if I deliberately went to the far corner of a waiting room and glared at the few patients still waiting around, hoping to scare them away from us. Half the time, someone would wander by to try and play peek-a-boo with her, or see if they could talk to her big brother about the joys of having a little sister. After all, she didn’t “look sick”.
And every time, I’d whisper a silent prayer ~ Dear God, please protect my girl from whatever cooties this person has. And, please, keep that coughing kid away from mine….
We were up to date on our shots.
We could only hope that the people who surrounded us also were current on their vaccinations.
It’s not that Victoria couldn’t get immunized. She did, on the regular schedule.
I worried about the other shots she was too young to get. Jenny McCarthy can bloviate all she wants about how measles, whooping cough or chicken pox isn’t a big deal. They would have finished Victoria off. Her heart couldn’t take it.
Please continue reading this story here and then use it to discuss the importance of vaccinations with your friends and family.
Each day I read stories with a similar message and so I plan to occasionally highlight them here on Shot of Prevention . If you have a personal story that pertains to immunization and would like to share it here, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s help protect each child in this great big world.