Posted by: DD | August 9, 2007

no. 494 – Hokey Poke-EEEEE!

[Poll at bottom of post if you want to skip the blah-de-blah]

BandaidThis is what my son must see in his head when he hears the word "bandaid". I have no idea why except damn they hurt when they are pulled off!

I had purchased Blue’s Clues bandaids for him in the foreseeable event that he would cut himself or skin a knee. Of course he would skin a knee. Remember this is my big-headed kid I’m talking about and balance is not his forte.

The only times those bandaids have been used is when either Mr. DD myself end up with a cut. Any wound of X’s that has bled has miraculously healed with the mention of "I’ll get a bandaid".

X had the last injections he will need for school (not including the boosters in Junior High). I did not mention the appointment to him prior because he had already been around some kids who had had their shots and they couldn’t seem to shut up about how painful it was. Ergo, X was scared shitless.

When I pulled up to the building for our appointment and he asked what we were doing, I had no choice but to tell him. My god. The wailing. Thank goodness we were still inside the car. After talking him down from his mental ledge, we finally walked in. Promises of cake and ice cream notwithstanding.

They called his name and in we went and all the time he was like Rain Man, "I don’t like shots. I-, I-, I don’t like them. No. No. No! I-, I don’t like shots."

Mr. DD also showed up as support back up. X sat on his lap and the nurse prepared the needles. Four syringes. Then she started to unwrap the bandaids.

The trance X had been in about the shots was replaced by hysterical crying. "I don’t LIKE bandAIDS!" and quickly the offending sterile latex strips were pushed aside.

The first needle went into his thigh quickly. Before he had a chance to finish the sentence, "Hey, that didn’t even hur—", the second needle went in.

Insert screaming.

The third and fourth shots to the other thigh wrapped up his vaccination file. And as always, as soon as the shots were done, I wiped his tears and picked him up to carry him outside. This time he wasn’t the 8 lbs, or 15 lbs, or 25 lbs he’d been the other times. He was 50 lbs of solid boy.

Along with the fact that I picked him up like I had years ago, I also cried a little. I’ll never forget the first time he received his vaccinations as a newborn. There’s something wrong with allowing a stranger to hurt your child while you hold them down.

Here’s the rub: I would do it again. The vaccinations. I feel reassured knowing he has them. I researched the pros and cons while I was still pregnant with him. I balked when the rumor came along that the MMR may be linked to autism (as far as recent research has shown, it is not). My Dad had had the mumps and measles and he said he nearly died. All of my siblings dealt with the chicken pox and I still bear the scars on my face and legs. I had a student when I was teaching ballroom dancing that had had polio as a child and at 71, his limp was pronounced and affected not just his appearance but his rhythm.

I’m comfortable with our decision, and I am also comfortable with those opinions who are anti-vaccination. I like the fact that we still get to decide. If things go well, we’ll still have the Blues Clues band-aids to slap on his big noggin when he falls off the 4-wheeler . . . in another 10 years or so.



  1. There needs to be another option for people who’ve partially vaxed. My twins had no vaccines before 4 or 6 mos (much to the horror of my vac-lovin’ ped), and since then they’ve gottten one shot per visit — whichever illness she was most concerned about.

  2. I firmly believe that I not only need to protect my son, but anyone else’s child that he should come in contact with. The only one I hesitated with was the MMR, and because I trust my ped so much, we gave it to him. Unless it causes lots of energy in children, there have been no side effects at all.

  3. I felt exactly the same while holding my infant son in anticipation of the jabs that I knew would make him cry in pain. My heart hurt for him, but as I soothed him I tried to remember how much more it would hurt if he actually contracted any of those diseases. It was small comfort as he wailed, but a necessary evil I think.

  4. I had a similar terror of both bandaids and vaccinations. In fact, there was only one time that I can remember that getting a shot didn’t bother me at all.

    I went to a pediatric practice with two doctors, a husband and wife, both of whom went by Dr. Green. On one visit when I had a cold, I saw the male Dr. Green. At the next visit, a few months later, the female Dr. Green was the one who gave me a shot. I didn’t cry at all, but just stared at her in fascination. After the visit, I remarked to my mother, “You know, she used to be a man.”

  5. Because of all my SIL has been through with my nephew, I plan to do them separately and spread out more and request the mercury free ones which you CAN get, but the docs get annoyed because those cost more and are a pain to order.

    But anyway what I wanted to say was that my understanding is that the link to autism or autism like problems is the mercury delivery system, not the vaccine itself. And in my nephews case there appears to be a correlatioin to the timing of certain vaccines and his developmental issues.

    I DO believe vaccines do more good than harm so they should be given but maybe given differently if they really do find the link between those and all this increase in autism. It’s a bit scary really whatever the studies say, something’s going on.

    Glad to hear that X is off the hook now for a long while. Sticking needles in kids sucks any way you cut it!

  6. I change the schedule a little bit, just so my daughter won’t get a whole lot at once. Like instead of four at one visit, I’d rather do two at two visits.

    I’m pretty sure she’s due at her next well-kid visit (which I need to schedule soon, sigh). And she’s old enough to object now. It’s going to suck. 😦

  7. Thanks for posting your opinions on this topic! It is so hard when there is a correlation with scary things like autism. But unfortunately correlation does NOT equal causation, as many studies have borne out.

    Thanks to Karen for making another important point, that vaccines don’t just protect your child they protect everyone. As a veterinarian, we learn a lot about herd health. Although people don’t like to think of ourselves as a bunch of cattle — that is the way vaccines work. If a significant portion of the population is not vaccinated, then the entire herd is not protected, and epidemics can still occur. Vaccines work.

    I agree we still have lots to learn about the complicated immune system, and more research and thought is always a good thing. Okay, rant over.

    I think kisses work better than band aids anyway (unless it is a gusher!).

  8. My kids hate bandaids too! I have like 4 varieties in my cabinet and they never want one.
    I am not a firm believer in vaccinations, I do vaccinate my children so they can attend public school on my OWN schedule and I never give them more then 1 vaccination at a time.
    I think forced vacinations like for HPV in Texas is nothing more then big Pharma using LOTS of money and their power to sell lots of (brand new!)drugs to pay for failures like Vioxx.
    I also think everyone should do what they think is best for their children.

    I can go on forever but i do that on my own blog! : )

  9. I will most likely vaccinate. The only one I really this is kind of crazy is chicken pox. Although, if we adopt, I don’t know all that works? Does the child come vaccinated for some things or do they have to have everything when they come to the US? Too many questions…..

    On another note, my childhood nurse (I grew up in a small town and she was the only nurse for my family dr.) ran into my mom not long ago and asked about us kids. I was quite teh screaming and escape legend whenever I have to get a shot – they had to remember to lock the back door of the clinic because I would run out – seriously. Once I figured out the lock they just had to move quickly while I thrashed and screamed all for an effen sucker. When my mom told her about all our IVF treatments the nurse was in serious disbelief that I would actually choose to inject myself.

  10. Maggie simply ADORES bandaids.
    The pediatrician has Crayola crayon bandaids and she gets to choose what color she gets after a shot. (Always pink)
    I have boxes of Spongebob, Disney Princesses, etc… A stubbed toe required a band-aid.

  11. Having taken care of babies with pertussis and knowing the ramifications of not vaccinating – I’m all about vaccinations. The only one I’m truly on the fence about is the chicken pox one and that has more to do with it’s “newness” than anything else. That and my family heritage is weird enough that both my sister and I had chicken pox and shingles in a relatively short time period – yes I know that’s an old folks disease, but both my sister and myself had shingles at age 9. Freaky coincidence huh… no real rhyme or reason. So if they can say – “no shingles”, “no chicken pox” then I’m all for it. I just worry about how often the kidlet will need to be vaccinated again for the above. As we all now know pertussis – you should vaccinate against again. So go out and get your Tdap so you won’t have that hacking cough… which is awful to see in an infant. Just plain awful.

  12. I have vaccinated my kids, but sometimes reluctantly. The DPT-hib ones were a nightmare with my oldest because they were the old style whole cell pertussis vaccine, which caused most of the side effects we’ve all read about. The new pertussis one, which I think X and all your readers kids would’ve gotten is dramatically safer and of course more expensive.

    It was available in Europe for years but not in the US or Canada, just because it was more expensive. Stupid…reading about the side effects from the old one has scared many people off the new one, even though they are cmoletely different things.

    As for the MMR, it’s more effective if they get it at 15 months. At one year, it wears off rather quickly, which is why the booster is needed. I wish they’d recommend waiting more often for that one.

    Chicken Pox I regret giving my older kid just because the current one is only effective 20% of the time. (That’s why the FDA forced them to change their ads.) A total waste of money IMO. If it worked, sure I’d consider it, but the problem is that if it wears off and kids need it again and again and again they are more at risk later for complications due to Chicken Pox as teens and adults. If they got Chicken Pox as young kids or a full and effective vaccine, they’d have full protection.

    The whole mercury thing I find frustrating. There are dozens of good preservatives available, but the mercury one is the cheapest. Meanwhile, it’s causing people to have a lack of faith in vaccines, and possibly is linked to other issues, but research has been slapdash at best so far. There is absolutely NO NEED to use thimerosol. It was banned from contact lens solutions because it caused irritation and allergic reactions. But they still stick it in flu shots and other vaccines.

    Stupid stupid stupid.

    As for bandaids, try the spray-on ones, (no alcohol type). Very cool, and they wear off after several days with soap, etc. so there is no pulling and ripping.

  13. I love vaccinations, I just dread the thought of holding my child down while they get them. Poor X, I hope he is feeling better.

  14. The shots are the worst. I usually cry more than Max does.

  15. Yeah, a lot of these comments are exactly why I’m reluctant to ‘blindly’ follow the recommendations — the better pertussis was available, but not in the US? The MMR wears off quicker if given at 1 yr? The chicken pox vaccine wears off *and* is rumored to cause bad cases of shingles in the older population?
    Ugh. At the end of the day, while I know they do WAAY more good than harm, I still have this nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach that we’re not being told the whole story, and that the docs don’t even know the whole story.

    On the other hand: There are SPRAY ON bandaids? How freaking cool! Must find some!!!

    Lastly — here’s a hack you probably already know — but if you take the kid for vacs when they’re hungry, you can nurse or feed them as soon as they start crying about the shot & it’s an excellent distraction from the ‘trauma’. ;o)

  16. I got all welled up at the thought of him crying. Man, I HATE the shots. Hate. That said, I know that it’s for the greater good and the crying is over quickly.

    I’m still on the fence though about the chicken pox vaccine. I mean, I don’t want him to get it at [pox] 18, but you need to be revaccinated for pox whereas, if you get it, it’s done.

  17. When I asked my doctor about mercury, they said that none of the vaccinations are made with it anymore. From my reading that does seem to be a true statement. And the mercury in vaccines is what has been potentially linked with autism. So that’s not a reason not to vaccinate anymore. We’re mostly getting them as the doc recommends, although we did not do hepB in the hospital, nor did we do the goo for eyes. I will do some reading about getting MMR later based on Aurelia’s post…

  18. Oh, the shots are so hard. And even harder when they know what’s coming.

    I vaccinate. I love that Amy made about “herd health.” When my oldest son was born we had a long talk with our pediatrician about vaccines and that was one issue she mentioned. Plus, some of the diseases we vaccinate against can cause serious illnesses in those who are immune deficient or can cause harm to fetuses in pregnant women. I absolutely could not live with myself if my failure to vaccinate caused someone else to get sick if my child became ill. That being said, everyone should talk to their pediatrician and make an informed decision.

  19. For what it’s worth, I hate giving the needles too. It feels bad to hurt children who don’t really understand the benefits.

  20. I hear having your kids get their vaccinations is the Queen Mother of all Stress-for the mom, that is. The kids, while they don’t enjoy it, don’t have to hear themselves cry, which I understand is the worst part about it for the mom. The cake and ice cream I’m sure were vastly appreciated, and hopefully your share, too.

    (PS-people are anti-vaccination? I have not heard of this. It’s that cave I’m living in, I think.)

  21. The thimerosal (mercury) preservative is no longer used in childrens’ shots, and haven’t been for roughly five years or so in the states, and a couple of years over here. Yet, autistic diagnoses have been increasing, not decreasing, over this period of time. I think a lot of people just want something other than ‘genes’ to blame when their child is diagnosed with such problems.

    I have to admit, I get really annoyed when people say they’re not going to vaccinate their kids because they think other peoples’ kids will protect theirs through their shots. It’s why there have been measles outbreaks in recent years…

  22. Thanks for the timely post DD! I just interviewed a pediatrician and we talked about this. I’m for vaccines, but I might space them out over a few visits (but not really delaying.. I just don’t like the idea of my son being stuck with a billion needles at once). I just think the remote chance of autism (and I hear the evidence is circumstantial at best) it is still not worth the risk of a major childhood illness. It’s just not a risk I’m willing to take. About the band-aids.. I totally get that too! I hate band-aids and I especially hate the white tape they use when you have blood drawn. I’m 33 and I still tear up when I have to take off the tape.

  23. Oh man, I HAVE to comment. I VIVIDLY remember being picked up from daycare and being driven to the health department right beside it. As soon as we walked in the smell of a hospital hit me in the face and I was terrified. Screaming, kicking, ANYTHING to get the hell out of there. I knew I was there for a reason I didn’t like, and sure enough, it took 2 nurses to hold my legs, my mother to hold my arms, and a doctor to quickly stick me with the appropriate vaccinations in the appropriate spots for me to start kindergarten. Apparently I cleared out the waiting room of parents and kids my age, all there for their free vaccinations.

    Fast forward 17 years later when I’m having a rather effortless surgery and they have to make a small incision and cauterize me. My arms were strapped to the table and I had tears streaming down my face. All I could think about in that painless yet horrifying moment was being held down in that health department for my booster shots. *shiver*

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