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Vaccination is one of those medical topics in which people tend to lose their shit.  As it happens, you can also risk losing your children if you decide to embrace the foolishness that is the anti-vax movement.  Here is a story of a mother’s close encounter with easily preventable childhood diseases.

Learning the Hard Way: My Journey from #AntiVaxx to Science

“I’m writing this from quarantine, the irony of which isn’t lost on me. Emotionally I’m a bit raw. Mentally a bit taxed. Physically I’m fine.  All seven of my unvaccinated children have whooping cough, and the kicker is that they may have given it to my five month old niece, too young to be fully vaccinated.

We’d had a games night at our house in March, my brother-in-law had a full-blown cold, so when the kids started with a dry cough a few days later I didn’t think much of it.  But a week after the symptoms started the kids weren’t improving, in fact they were getting worse.  And the cough. No one had a runny nose or sneezing but they all had the same unproductive cough.  Between coughing fits they were fine.

Then a few days later at midnight I snapped. My youngest three children were coughing so hard they would gag or vomit. I’d never seen anything like this before.  Watching our youngest struggle with this choking cough, bringing up clear, stringy mucus – I had heard of this before somewhere.  My mom said I had it when I was a kid. I snapped into ‘something is WRONG’ mode.

I jumped on Google to type in “child cough.” My kids had all but one symptom of pertussis, none of them had the characteristic “whoop.” But they had everything else.

We had vaccinated our first three children on an alternative schedule and our youngest four weren’t vaccinated at all.  We stopped because we were scared and didn’t know who to trust.  Was the medical community just paid off puppets of a Big Pharma-Government-Media conspiracy?  Were these vaccines even necessary in this day and age? Were we unwittingly doing greater harm than help to our beloved children? So much smoke must mean a fire so we defaulted to the ‘do nothing and hope nothing bad happens’ position.

Symptoms and timeline of pertussis (whooping cough)

For years relatives tried to persuade us to reconsider through emails and links, but this only irritated us and made us defensive.  Secretly, I hoped I would find the proof I needed to hold the course, but deep down I was resigned to only find endless conflicting arguments that never resolved anything.  No matter if we vaccinated or not, I thought, it would be nothing more than a coin toss with horrible risks either way.

When the Disneyland measles outbreak happened my husband and I agreed to take a new look and weigh the evidence on both sides. A friend suggested I write out my questions so we could tackle them one by one.  Just getting it out on paper helped so much. I only ended up with a handful of questions. But more potent than my questions were my biases.

I just didn’t trust civic government, the medical community, the pharmaceutical industry, and people in general.  By default, I had excluded all research available from any major, reputable organization.  Could all the in-house, independent, peer-reviewed clinical trials, research papers and studies across the globe ALL be flawed, corrupt and untrustworthy?

The final shift came when I connected the dots between a small, but real measles outbreak in my personal circles this time last year.  But for the grace of God, our family was one step from contracting measles in our mostly under-or-unvaccinated 7 kids.  Maybe we could have weathered that storm unscathed in personal quarantine.  But in the 4 highly contagious days before any symptoms show we easily could have passed on our infection to my sister’s toddlers or her 34-week-old son in the NICU.

When I connected the dates for everyone involved it chilled me to the bone.  I looked again at the science and evidence for community immunity and found myself gripped with a very real sense of personal and social responsibility before God and man.  The time had come to make a more fully informed decision than we did 6 years ago.  I sat down with our family doctor and we put together a catch-up vaccination schedule for our children.

That schedule that was supposed to start the week after I found myself in the waiting room of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) with my 10-month-old son, waiting to confirm if he had whooping cough.

I said before that the irony isn’t lost on me that I’m writing this from quarantine.  For six years we were frozen in fear from vaccines, and now we are frozen because of the disease.  My oldest two are getting better, the youngest four are getting worse and fast.  Ottawa Public Health has been so helpful and communicative, trying to get us the help we need while keeping the community safe.  We are under quarantine and starting antibiotics.  Tonight, the baby started ‘whooping’.  I did the right thing going to the hospital when I did.  I can only hope this painfully honest sharing will help others.

I am not looking forward to any gloating or shame as this ‘defection’ from the antivaxx camp goes public, but, this isn’t a popularity contest.  Right now my family is living the consequences of misinformation and fear.  I understand that families in our community may be mad at us for putting their kids at risk.  I want them to know that we tried our best to protect our kids when we were afraid of vaccination and we are doing our best now, for everyone’s sake, by getting them up to date.  We can’t take it back … but we can learn from this and help others the same way we have been helped.

Vaccination is a serious decision about our personal and public health that can’t be made out of fear, capitulation or following any crowd.  No one was more surprised than us to find solid answers that actually laid our fears to rest.  I am confident that anyone with questions can find answers.  I would only advise them to check your biases, sources and calendar: Time waits for no parent.

– Edited by Leslie Waghorn

Rolling the dice with your children is irresponsible – making that choice for other children is reprehensible.

 

The christian majority continues to whinge about being oppressed.  Tough beans theocrats – the law, for once, has women’s back on this issue.  So when you see the christian whinge starting as illustrated below, you also have the answer to their false claim of being persecuted.

Whinge:  How does forcing employers to give out abortifacients and not giving them a choice mean these people are being Pro-Choice and giving them a choice? Also these people claim to want to keep the government out of people’s bedrooms despite forcing businesses to give out items like birth control pills and IUDs that are used in the bedroom

The Answer:  The First Amendment says my employer cannot force me to live according to my employer’s religion if it conflicts with my own. That means my employer cannot use a religious reason to deny me any part of health care under law. “Obamacare” closes the loophole that allowed a pro-life employer to deny me birth control, a privilege no other religious belief has ever been afforded anyway – a Jehovah’s Witness employer never could deny me a blood transfusion and a Christian Scientist employer could never deny me health insurance in the first place. You are claiming a special privilege that no other religious employer has ever had, the “right” to force your religion on another person, and whining that you’re being persecuted when you’re being stopped from violating other people’s First Amendment rights.

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braintrauma Brain Trauma inducing thought of the day:  By trusting women and giving them control of their reproductive future, less unplanned pregnancies and less abortions will occur.   [tick tick tick….head asplodes….]

I know, how crazy is that?  Women…you know the ones that have children…are in the best position to decide whether the conditions are right to have a child.  (whoops, that’s two brain frying statements in the same post – apologies).

Offering women affordable healthcare (really, it should be universal and free; come join the rest of the civilized world America) makes for a more egalitarian, healthier, happier society.  Making it easier for people to access reproductive health services?  What is this sorcery?  The Guttmacher Institute summarizes the case nicely.

[read the whole report from the Guttmacher Institute here]

“A recent national survey of publicly funded facilities that provide family planning services found that facilities with a reproductive health focus were better able to meet the contraceptive needs of their younger clients—by incorporating youth-friendly service delivery, being accessible and ensuring confidentiality—than were primary care-focused facilities. Additionally, facilities with more youth-friendly services offered more long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), including the IUD and implant.”

[…]

“These juxtaposed concerns highlight the importance of offering women of all ages a broad range of contraceptive methods to choose from in the context of comprehensive, patient-focused counseling. The authors suggest that counselors manage expectations around LARC methods, highlighting both the reversible nature of these methods and that they are “set and forget,” making them highly effective. They also suggest that misconceptions about LARC methods that persist among both providers and patients be addressed through better education and counseling. Additionally, improved training on LARC methods for staff at all levels, not just clinical staff, will help facilities move toward a more comprehensive package of contraceptive services for young women, integrating IUDs and implants into the range of methods offered, which will ultimately help young women avoid unintended pregnancy and meet their reproductive goals. However, all of this requires financial support.

“Expanding insurance coverage that includes the full range of contraceptive methods is key to giving women access to the most highly effective—and often most expensive—methods,” said Adam Sonfield, senior policy associate with the Guttmacher Institute. “Implementation of the Affordable Care Act may go a long way toward easing cost issues related to LARC methods for U.S. women. In particular, it will make it easier for providers to offer these highly effective methods to younger clients, and provide the counseling they need to understand their options and choose the method that best meets their needs.”

Remember who was/is throwing a craptacular shit fit over healthcare?  Oh ya, the republicans and the church.  Women should keep that tidy little non-coincidence in mind.

 

Why does the progressive movement keep on suffering set backs when they are quantifably right on the issues.  George Lakoff suggests it has much to do with framing and how human cognition works.  A great lecture, well worth the 70 minutes of your time.

The Provincial Progressive Conservative party in Alberta should really jettison the ‘progressive’ part of their name.  They have not done anything particularly progressive since the latest oil company approved election campaign nominated Ed Stelmach as First Courtier to Big Business Premier of Alberta.   We really do get what we deserve when we continually vote the PC’s into office, namely a province run for the benefit of business rather than the benefit of the people.  It makes sense then to turf knowledgeable specialists such as Raj Sherman when he dares to make a evidence based argument instead of what the party line dictates.

“The Alberta MLA who criticized his own government over its handling of backlogs in the province’s emergency rooms has been suspended from the Tory caucus.  Raj Sherman, the Progressive Conservative MLA for Edmonton-Meadowlark and an emergency room physician, made headlines over the past week for his sharp criticism of Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach and how the province has managed long lines in the province’s ERs.”

Won’t the optics look back for the Government when they boot out a doctor for speaking up about an area of expertise? Sherman says:

No more evidence based decisions for you!

“For me, it’s really a matter of principle. I guess the principles of being a doctor and advocating for patients collided with the principles of politics,” Sherman said.

“I don’t see a reason why they would have needed to collide. I think politicians and doctors, voters and patients are one and the same. But for me it’s a bit of a sad day.”

Sherman said he will now sit as an Independent.”

It is a bit of sad day for all Albertans because stuff like this gets buried so quickly in the province and then come voting time, we elect, you guessed it, more PC’s into office.  So, should we really be surprised anymore when such decisions are undertaken?  Not in Alberta, where a tie clip that ran for the PC’s would get elected.

 

 

 

Twisty, from the blog I Blame the Patriarchy opines on the recent passage of the healthcare bill in the US with the Stupack amendment:

What I’m getting at is this: my lack of surprise at this Stupak shit proceeds from irrefutable evidence that state ownership of women is among the most beloved of our violent culture’s violent traditions. Social conservatives appear to believe that God made patriarchy in his own image, and that he will withdraw his complimentary concierge services and cancel Christmas, NASCAR, and life everlasting if the state stops oppressing women for even one second. So-called progressives just want uninterrupted access to pussy.”

I lack the the colourful verbiage that Twisty uses, but in this quote she deftly describes the atrocious nature of this particular amendment.

Abortion is not a crime in Canada. Abortion is under siege by anti-choice zealots, par for the course, but a good portion Canadian women have access to reproductive health services.

A woman’s right to make reproductive decisions is foundational in women being recognized as autonomous beings.  It is paramount that we keep abortion, safe, legal, and accessible in Canada.

As far as I am concerned the Stupak Amendment is one compromise too far.

Sometimes you smile when you hear the misrepresentations of what Universal Heathcare.  Other times you get righteously pissed off.  This is neither.  I knew the teabaggers were ass-hats, through and through, talking foolish nonsense,  and being blindingly ignorant of history, but the picture below goes too far.

teabagidiots

Yes, that really is a picture from a concentration camp, victims of state murder.  And they(our tinfoil hat wearing, retarded-ignorant-hate-spewing-monkey-bile-for-brains- teabagging representatives) are equating state sponsored mass murder with Universal Health Care.

Un-frakking- believable.  The ignorance demonstrated by these people is mind shattering.

 

 

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