Fighting the baddies


The above title is derived from the way my mother describes what goes on in a child’s body when he/she receives immunisation shots. It’s a cute perspective, hence I decided to use it for the title of today’s post. 

Jamie just received another round of vaccinations at his 3 months’ check up with the paediatrician last Tuesday and so here we are again on that battle to fight the baddies (also known as viruses to the layman). 

He came down with a bout of fever as a result, and so the hourly monitoring was in motion till he recovered two days later. 

During that point in time,I found that an hour would pass by really quickly. Before I knew it, it would be time to take Jamie’s temperature again and to sponge him with warm water and a wash cloth to keep his temperature down. 

All in all, things weren’t too bad since Deric and I have been through this before when Jamie went for his 2 months’ visit to the doc. At least by now we already know what it is like when Jamie has a fever and are confident of what needs to be done in response. 

I remember asking the paediatrician during Jamie’s 2 months’ visit how I would know if he were to be running a fever. At that point in time, Jamie had never been unwell before.

“You will know,” she told me. Not very reassuring for a first time mum. Hmm. 

But in hindsight, it was true what she said. Since I am with Jamie 24/7, I am keenly attuned to what his normal body temperature feels like and so am able to recognise when something’s out of the ordinary. 

I’m quite glad that Jamie knows how to take liquids from a syringe. This is so because in the early days of his life, when I was having trouble with sore nipples, Deric and I would sometimes resort to feeding him by cup, spoon or syringe so as to give my boobs a break. Of the three methods we used, the syringe was the most effective one. 

Thankfully, Jamie’s retained memory of how to eat when fed with it as the Rotavirus vaccine he took was via syringe and the fever medication he’s taking now is also being given to him in the same way. 

Well, it’s quite stressful taking care of a baby who’s unwell since things can spiral downwards really fast for one so young. But now that I am going through this the second time around, I find that I am a bit more relaxed than I was the first time. I guess things will get better in parenthood the more you’ve experienced along the way. 

While I’m on the topic of vaccinations, I might as well throw in my two cents’ worth on the subject matter. 

A subset of today’s parents have come to shun immunisation of children and infants as they view such exercises as dangerous to their overall health (ie the side effects that some vaccines bring about) and a mere consequence of the greed of pharmaceutical companies who are out to cash in as much as possible on the fear of illnesses that could befall young family members. 

Well, here’s what I think about it all: There are most certainly risks of adverse reactions that may occur with every vaccination, but in the balance of probabilities, it’s still better that our young children be immunised so that their quality of life is not affected when struck by sudden, serious sicknesses. I have done my share of worrying about the side effects, but the reality is that the chances of it happening is small and only applicable to certain individuals with particular medical conditions or unique circumstances. 

Also, I don’t think I am above those in the medical profession and trust my son’s paediatrician in terms of what she advises us to do for Jamie. This includes which vaccinations he should take.

But having said that, our paediatrician has never forced us to take any particular shots for Jamie. She has also been very honest with us about the possible complications that may result. 

She told us very openly that one of her earlier patients had contracted intussusception from the Rotavirus vaccine (something that I was afraid would happen to Jamie). She also explained that the child received prompt medical treatment and though was hospitalised, was able to be treated without the need for surgery. 

Having the ability to discuss and raise concerns with our paediatrician has helped a lot in making me more confident about vaccinating Jamie. I think it’s important to have worries or ambiguities addressed, especially if you’re a first time parent. 

Last but not least, I guess I should say that I too grew up being vaccinated and appreciate the fact that I was armed with such protection. 

Nevertheless, it’s overwhelming, the thought that I am making decisions like whether to vaccinate Jamie or not on his behalf and without his consent since he is too young to understand. The anxiety here being that would I ever look back on my decisions for him and regret any of them. Like, for instance, if he were to experience a debilitating condition due to a vaccination that I approved for him to receive. 

Well, the worries are endless when it comes to parenting. That in itself is enough for me to write a separate blog post on. But I guess the best we can do is consider carefully all the options before us, apply wisdom and make that judgment call. 

Our adult children will probably understand. If not immediately, then certainly once they themselves step into the shoes of parenthood. 

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