I am about to embark on a two-week vacation that I have been planning for months now. It’s a trip out West to see places I have never visited and spend time with friends I don’t get to see enough of. However, instead of looking forward to my journey I’m actually dreading it.
I’m a big proponent of vaccinations. My belief is we have eradicated so many diseases because of our knowledge of them, and appreciate the painful process in which we gained that knowledge. I also believe by not getting vaccinations we as a society are harming more people than not and allowing some of these once-deadly diseases to show up again.
There are two different kinds of vaccinations, live and dead. Each takes the structure of a particular disease and introduces it into your body, so your body can create an effective defense against it. One is done through the live version of the disease, the other, a dead version. The flu shot is an example of a dead virus, meaning it can’t make you sick once received. Let me repeat that; it can’t make you sick because it’s dead. Some people have allergic reactions to it, which can mimic flu-like symptoms, but no one can catch the flu from a flu shot.
Why am I so sure? I am a kidney transplant recipient. Because my immune system is compromised through medication to keep from rejecting my transplanted organ, it’s life or death for me to understand the difference. I can take a dead vaccine but cannot receive a live version. I get the flu shot every year with no ill-effect.
Not only can I not take a live vaccine, but I also can’t be exposed to anyone else who has either. Because of my compromised immune system, I can catch a disease from someone who merely received the live virus for it. Because I have a son who receives vaccinations, it has become concerning for my family since his birth.
Most childhood vaccinations are dead, except the one for mumps/measles. It is given three times in a child’s life, and each time my son receives it, I cannot be around him. And I’m not talking a few hours or even a day or two. I have to wait to see him again until the vaccine has undergone its full cycle, which is two weeks. That’s right, I cannot be around Mr. Carter for two whole weeks when he gets that shot.
Katie Jo made the suggestion when he first got it at two-years-old, to just leave town. Distract yourself enough that those two weeks fly by. So, I went to Hawaii and had a wonderful time, all the while missing my boy. And now at four, it’s time again for the shot. So, I’m heading West until I can see him again.
It’s true when they say, distance makes the heart grow fonder. It feels unnatural for me to choose to leave my son for so long. However, it’s in his best interest, and this mother’s ego has to concede to the knowledge whatever is good for him is good for me. I’ll just have to find a toy train along the way to feel useful.