A Sense Of Relief…MY VIEWS | Nirasha Jaganath | September 18, 2010 at 10:27 pm
Yesterday I had my daughters annual doctor visit. I attend them because I have to, I could say that I needed to since they include shots normally but my skepticism in the medical profession does not allow that sense of reliability. I had recently paid an amount just to get the copy list of shots for the school (a rip off if you ask me to actually have doctor offices charge for this service – but that deserves a blog post on its own) and I kept looking at the the 2 shots for MMR and it had been bugging me constantly.
It took a long time for me to speak easily about my daughter’s autism. It took a long time for me to become an active spokesperson on her behalf. It took a long time to get comfortable with uttering those words. It took forever to stop being angry that this was happening to my baby. Those 2 shots of MMR had really been 3 shots of MMR, yes 1 extra. I had (correctly) assumed that there were only 2 lines listed on the form because that was the norm but knew she had had 3 shots. I also knew that the MMR was a shot under scrutiny about the link of thimerosal (a mercury-containing organic compound) in this and various vaccines and its link to autism. Yes there are various reports that there is no proof that it causes autism, but then again there is no proof that it does NOT cause autism.
As a mama with a heavy load to bear I have been quiet at each doctor visit. But today I was calm and collected and had reached a comfort place with my situation. I knew I could talk, openly. As the doctor showed me graphs for her height and weight and did an entire check for her, she mentioned we should be getting shots. I brought up the fact that the previous record showed 2 shots of MMR when we had 3. She paused and excused herself to actually check on the records out of the room. She came back agreeing to what I already knew anyway – that yes she had. I then mentioned to her about that link to autism.
She looked uncomfortable as she started to tell me about there being no proof – it sounded like she had learned of that statement to assure and most likely quieten any doubts parents may have. When I added that there was no proof absolving it completely of it, she looked at me knowing she could answer with no appropriate reply. She knew that I was not emotional, angry or anything – I was stating it like I saw it. I then told her that as a mama I trust the doctors -implicitly. When they recommend vaccinations we trust them. Those information pages they give with each vaccination about side-effects etc list nothing about autism. I mentioned that I wondered how measles and mumps affected kids. I recalled having had both and was still fine. I asked her that if she asked parents whether to choose between having measles or a 0.00001% (I made up a low figure) chance of getting autism which would they choose.
I knew what I would choose, but then I did not get that choice. I then relayed the whole traumatic journey we have endured before diagnosis and after. I shared that we waited 9 month in a wait list to get tested. 9 months – I could have had another baby in that time. She told me that my baby looked good. I told her it was because we took matters in our hands and are making decisions for our kid. I shared my fear about parents who were either not as resourceful, or were too paralyzed by the diagnosis, to seek alternate avenues. I could clearly see her understand.
Driving away that day I felt so light. I am still unsure why but just sharing that with her made me feel like a huge burden was lifted.