Monday, November 9, 2009

An Interesting Realization

When Noah was born and then in the hospital, both pre and post heart transplant, I took a lot of pictures. But as cute as he was (and still is I must say) I never look at them. I honestly don't remember even opening the folder. Not even once.

I guess I remember it enough still to not need a reminder. Plus, there are some things I never want to see again.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Swine Flu Vaccine Journey

A few weeks ago the H1N1 shots began arriving in my state. I've mentioned before (at least I know I did on my other blog) how important it is for our family, and especially Noah, to get our flu shots every year. So I did my best to get him protected from this virus.

I called every clinic and doctors office, I called the Health Department, I checked online. So when I heard the Health Department was going to offer a mass clinic one Saturday morning I made sure we would be there.

If you follow me on Twitter or read Memoirs of a Mommy, then you know how that mess (absolute chaos) turned out.

The clinic opened at 7 am. We woke up early and got there at 6:30. It was cold, dark and raining and yet the line still went down the street, up around the corner, down that street, and then roped back and forth in the parking lot. We jumped out of the car and in the search for the end of the line, I asked one of the employees how many shots they had available and was informed it was under 2000. The problem was, this line had about 5000 people in it.

People were yelling at each other and fighting with line jumpers. There was no organization. I knew we were not getting a shot that day. Besides, I didn't want to risk being near all those people in such awful weather. It would be just our luck to wait and try to get a vaccine and go home sick instead.

So before I even found the end of the line, I turned the kids around and went home. Turned out to be the right decision because I heard an hour later they ran out of shots and everyone (including the people who got there at 4 am) were turned away.

Unfortunately, effort doesn't always keep the germs away and a week later, Lilly got sick. Her symptoms hit her so fast and she got so sick, I was really worried. I took her to the Urgent Care the next morning and her Flu test came back positive. Since the seasonal flu hadn't reached us yet, it was given as a 95% chance as being of the H1N1 variety.

I was worried about Lilly and she was really quite sick and had a hard time breathing but I panicked over the thought of Noah catching it. His asthma and damaged lungs... while not as bad as some (he really does so well most of the time) it's still dangerous for him. Plus the increased risk of rejection when his immune system gets revved up. It was not an enjoyable experience.

Noah's transplant coordinator wanted to do everything we could to keep Noah from getting sick, which included trying to keep the rest of us healthy so his chance of catching it wouldn't be increased. So we all got on Tamiflu that same day. That drug is fabulous. It makes you feel awful (and has the possibility of some nasty side effects) but it helped Lilly get better quite fast, kept the rest of us from catching it, and kept Noah Flu Free!

I still felt it was important to try and get Noah his vaccine. Even though he was exposed, it's just not the same. So I continued to call around and try to track one down. Unfortunately I was turned away empty handed every time.

Then on Thursday I got a call from his pediatricians office. They had a very limited number of shots available and one was waiting for Noah.

We went up there first thing Friday morning. I went to check in and we weren't on the appointment list. I explained that the nurse had called me the day before. She replies, "Oh, you are on the hush hush super VIP list!!"

Turns out, the University Hospital Pediatric clinic who has many Doctors working there and who I am sure have THOUSANDS of needy patients, was given 10, yes TEN H1N1 vaccine shots.


To say that I am thankful the office thought of Noah and saved one for him would be the understatement of the year.

That done, a huge burden has been lifted from my shoulders. I still need to find one for Lilly. Since the actual flu strain wasn't confirmed, I don't want to take any chances. So the hunt continues.

But this whole mess has just confirmed my feelings that socialized medicine is not the answer. It's obvious that in the hands of the government, things are poorly ran.

I hope that I don't have to make any more phone calls this year to tell anyone we have exposed them to contagious germies. That was not fun and carrying the burden of possibly causing someone elses sickness is not fun. Of course it was unintentional, I would never purposefully want or try to get someone sick. We are so careful about that. But just as Lilly catching it in the first place was an accident (probably from school) anyone we may have gotten sick was an accident too. But I am still sorry.

I really hope we ALL get our shots and stay healthy here on out.


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