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Fancy that, eh? Just another way the system known as patriarchy in our society expresses itself.  Women are not listened to or taken seriously, even in life and death situations.  Kinda hard to be successful in society when your words are taken, by default, as less than face value.

 

Let’s work together on this one folks.  We should be done this by now.

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.

 

A few bits of information on the assortment of pain medication available to us.

Painkilers

See the PDF here in all its bigness.

 

Many thanks to anti-vaxers and of course the CIA for doing the stupid shite they are famous for and making the world a worse place in the process.

 

Dead at 31 many thanks, Catholic Church.

I needed some time to digest this story…  Sorry folks but that is a lie.  I needed some time to come back to a (relatively) coherent state before I could write reasonably about what went down with Savita Halappanavar.

A post filled with nothing but white-hot rage and invective against the pustulant ass-pimples known as pro-lifers (anti-choicers, for the sake of veracity) and their equally pustulant,delusion friends, the Catholic Church would serve little purpose other than giving the other side ammunition about how nasty I am (Humourless Feminist, Too Sensitive, Crazy Socialist, Militant Atheist etc…the list is long ).  No, my ninnyhammerd-half-witted friends won’t get the pleasure because in Savita’s case there is nothing for me to add, the absolute horror and immorality of their position is chillingly clear –  and a young woman had to die because of it (and women are dying of it here in North America too).

Let’s just look at how our pro-life catholic friends “helped” Savita Halappanavar – Analysis from Dr. Jen Gunter (I’m referencing Jen’s post to make my point, she does not hold the same opinion as I). [ed. bold text mine]

This is what is known. Savita Halappanavar was 31 years old and happy to be pregnant with her first child. Then, at 17 weeks, tragedy struck and she was “found to be miscarrying.” Her husband reports that she was in “severe pain” for three days at the hospital and a termination was requested. He says this request was denied because Ireland is “a Catholic country.” He and his late wife were led to believe that the law would only allow her to be delivered when there was no fetal heartbeat.

What does the standard of medical care say about this treatment? Without access to the chart, “miscarrying” at 17 weeks can only mean one of three things”

A) Ruptured membranes

B) Advanced cervical dilation

C) Labor (this is unlikely, although it is possible that she had preterm labor that arrested and left her with scenario B, advanced cervical dilation).

All three of these scenarios have a dismal prognosis, none of which should involve the death of the mother

Okay, ground rules set.  There were no mysteries here, the medical playbook is straight forward.

The standard of care with ruptured membranes (scenario A) is to offer termination or, if there is no evidence of infection and the pregnancy is desired, the option of observing for a few days to see if the leak seals over and more fluid accumulates. If no fluid accumulates and by some chance the pregnancy manages to go beyond 24 weeks (the vast majority of pregnancies with ruptured membranes delivery within a week), survival is unlikely given the lungs require amniotic fluid to develop. I have seen the rare case where a woman with no infection (and no fluid) elects conservative management in the hopes that might make it to at least 24 weeks in the pregnancy, however, I have never heard of a baby surviving in this scenario. Regardless, if at any point infection is suspected the treatment is antibiotics and delivery not antibiotics alone.

The standard of care with scenario B involves offering delivery or possibly a rescue cerclage (a stitch around the cervix to try to prevent further dilation and thus delivery) depending on the situation. Inducing delivery (or a D and E) is offered because a cervix that has dilated significantly often leads to labor or an infection as the membranes are now exposed to the vaginal flora. Many women do not want wait for infection. A rescue cerclage is not without risks and is contraindicated with ruptured membranes or any sign of infection. Rescue cerclage is a very case by case intervention and well beyond the scope of this post. These decisions are difficult and the mark of good medical care is that all scenarios are discussed, all interventions that are technically possible offered, and then the patient makes an informed decision. All with the understanding that if infection develops, delivery is indicated.

Medically speaking, Dr.Gunter explains the outcomes of what these religiously addled doctors did, or more specifically did not do.

As there is no medically acceptable scenario at 17 weeks where a woman is miscarrying AND is denied a termination, there can only be three plausible explanations for Ms. Hapappanavar’s “medical care” :

1) Irish law does indeed treat pregnant women as second class citizens and denies them appropriate medical care. The medical team was following the law to avoid criminal prosecution.

2) Irish law does not deny women the care they need; however, a zealous individual doctor or hospital administrator interpreted Catholic doctrine in such a way that a pregnant woman’s medical care was somehow irrelevant and superceded by heart tones of a 17 weeks fetus that could never be viable.

3) Irish law allows abortions for women when medically necessary, but the doctors involved were negligent in that they could not diagnose infection when it was so obviously present, did not know the treatment, or were not competent enough to carry out the treatment.

What we do know is that a young, pregnant, woman who presented to the hospital in a first world country died for want of appropriate medical care. Whether it’s Irish Catholic law or malpractice, only time will tell; however, no answer could possibly ease the pain and suffering of Ms. Halappanavar’s loved ones.

This is what we get when we allow insipid religious prevarication into important parts of our society.  Mythology and magic have no place in secular institutions, not now and not ever.   Yet we still allow the bullshite in despite the injuries, deaths and pain it causes.  Religion poisons everything and everyone it touches and yet Religion is just one head of the hydra that conspired to end Savita’s life.  By now the ironically named “Pro-life” band of fetus fetishists need to take their bows and unsuccessfully try to wipe their bloody hands of this uncomfortable case.

Savita’s death is on their hands because this is what you get when you don’t value women as people and see them only as incubators.  Savita and other women are dying because of the batshite-insane anti-choice nuttery that goes on that somehow makes it okay to take women out of the  pregnancy equation and deny her rights.  So have your prayer vigils, your fetus-porn, your 40 days of fuckwittery –  all so you can feel fucking morally superior(?) when a women like Savita Halappanarvar dies?  Your fetid morality is repugnant and has no place in a civilized society… none whatsoever.

You know what the best tell is from these anti-woman fetus worshipping zealots is?   The absolute fucking silence from the pro-life side of things when details of Savita’s death rang around the world.   The author(s) over at Reasonable Conversation nailed it with this post which I excerpt here. [ed. bold text mine]

The fact of the matter is, these people can only thrive when the deaths are anonymous. The moment we had a name for one of the victims of their horrible and irrational beliefs, they needed to shut up and hide so nobody could ask them if Savita Halappanavar should have died, if it was god’s will, if they should have allowed her to be treated. They can’t answer these questions because the answers they would give would make them look like monsters if they were honest and undermine their message if they lied.   

   This. A thousand times  just this.

This is why we fight for the rights of women because the regressive religiously addled view women as second class citizens not worthy of human rights or treatment.  Your torpid bronze age shenanigans have gone on for much too long and hurt too many people.  Where is the apology from the pope?  Where is the outcry from the anti-choicers?  There is none because they cannot or will not see the monstrous evil of their positions, better to whip up some more fetus porn or get some more red duct tape and pray to your imaginary sky-daddy.

When the consequences of your bullshite come to light the religiously anti-choice zealots scurry away from the light of reason(rule one in the nutter playbook), when the unnamed become named and the travesty of your rotten ethics is bared to light you offer no defense, because there is no defense for your untenable immoral position.

 

Watch the intensely stupid anti-vax loonery in full bloom as they make the case for exposing your newborns to disease, because if their bodies “don’t want it” they simply won’t get sick.

Their next show is on how Big Science has fooled us into believing that the earth is round…

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