Don't Inoculate Your Story

Not all specialist know what the hell they're talking about. You’ll take this for granted up until the point you have kids, then you suddenly see through everyone’s bunk. That’s when people start telling you how to raise your child. They’ve all got different POV’s on how to do this. “Now I know that he’s small, but don’t let that fool you. They’re smart and they know how to manipulate you to get what they want.”

We got that gem when our son was about six months old. Darned manipulative little six monthers. I knew I shouldn’t have let him con me into getting him that new car seat. All that talk about, “Don’t you want me to be safe in case of a car accident?” Pfft.

You really start to catch on when you learn to see through professionals. It’s like pulling down the curtain on the wizard of Oz. I realized this the other day at my son’s one year baby well visit.

Scare Tactics

I have to admit, my wife and I had pretty much been caught up in the vaccine scare that has infected our culture as of late, so for the first year we skipped them. Now, that he’s mobile and starting to socialize, we realize that it’s probably a good idea to have at least some of the inoculations. And so, what do you do in a time of need like this, ask your doctor.

Ours is a very helpful guy despite his nearly hour wait to see him, grrrr. He’s very open to working with people no matter what they decide with regards to vaccines. After doing more research on my own I found references to a very touted book on the subject, so I asked him about it.

“I turn to the CDC and the government’s website on vaccinations for my information.”

Well, that’s not what I asked, Doc. I wanted to know if this guy was a credible source. But apparently you don’t do any reading on the subject. The debate with regards to vaccines is that the government is approving things that are dangerous or excessive, why would I take the governments word for it?

We talked about my doing a bit more research on the subject and then starting a modified immunization schedule. There was also a question about our son’s speech development and if he interacted enough. The doc sounded a little concerned, and of course I as the parent got all kinds of worried. But he assured me that “he looks healthy, we just need to watch some things.”

“Alright then, I’m going to go, I don’t like to be in the room when they give the shots, that way the kids don’t associate them with me.”

My brows furrowed. “Wait, what? What shots?”

“Don’t you have your yellow vaccine card?”

Was this guy not in the room with me for the last half an hour? “No.”

A look of slight annoyance as he was about to go get me one, then he saw his chart of scheduled vaccination shots on the wall. “Ah, here we go. It will be the 12 month shots, so . . .”


I tuned him out, then reminded him that we weren’t getting any shots that day, I was going to research each of the shots and then we, as the parents, would decide which ones our son was going to get and that we would likely start the following week. He was fine with that, but I couldn’t believe the car salesmanship he wheeled out. The old bait and switch.

That day, I purchased the book in question, The Vaccine Book, by Robert Sears. And so far I’m very impressed with it. It’s the most unbiased info I’ve seen on the subject, simply laying out what each vaccine is, what it does, the side effects and the likelihood of having them, what harm actually catching said sickness poses, and finally it tells you the likelihood of ever catching the sickness. It basically lays out the pros and cons in as even a way as possible and says, “You are now empowered with the knowledge, you decide.” How a person in our doctor’s position could not know about this book or have an opinion on it one way or the other is beyond me.

I found this bit in the preface as most enlightening: “Doctors, myself included, learn a lot about diseases in medical school, but we learn very little about vaccines, other than the fact that the FDA and pharmaceutical companies do extensive research on vaccines to make sure they are safe and effective. We don’t review the research ourselves. We never learn what goes into making vaccines or how their safety is studied. We trust and take it for granted that the proper researchers are doing their jobs. So, when patients want a little more information about shots, all we can really say as doctors is that the diseases are bad and the shots are good. But we don’t know enough to answer all of your detailed questions about vaccines. Nor do we have the time during a regular health checkup to thoroughly discuss and debate the pros and cons of vaccines.”

Hence my doctors suggestion to just “go look at the CDC website.”


The next day I took my son to Borders while his mom was getting her hair done. While there he met a 19 month old little girl, Emily, all pigtails and sass. They played and growled and grunted at each other. She stabbed her finger out at him and scolded him in baby talk when he tried to take Elmo from her. He ran around and found stuffed animals that he brought to her almost as if they were courting. What struck me about this interaction is that this little girl appeared to me to be just fine, but her speech development was on par with my son’s. So what does that make her if our doc thinks that my son is delayed?

I thought a bit more about it and realized, “You know what, that guy didn’t spend any time with my son. He didn’t watch how he interacted with people. He just came in and spouted off generalizations ” It came down to, “You should watch for this,” and “You should watch for that.” Well what the hell do I come to you for then? Here’s this specialist getting me all worried about my son’s development, something I did not question before stepping into his office, and the guy doesn’t really know anything about son.

The Moral of our Story

And that, my friends, reminded me of a critique I did recently for a friend from the message board. It was the first chapter of a novel. During the crit I couldn’t help but feel like I did not know enough about the story to weigh in on it, and I said as much. The reply I got back with regards to it was that some of the things that I took issue with were intended. I wanted an element explored more, the author wanted it forgotten about for a reason. Fair enough, it is her baby after all.

But, just like with my flesh and blood baby, our literary babies deserve more than taking the word of a specialist. While, in the end, we know what’s best for our children, we also owe it to them to inform ourselves as best we can with regards to their wellbeing. Seek answers from everywhere then weigh your choices. Not all advice is equal and not all suggestions can be trusted.

So go forth and learn. And be ready to say, “Uh, wait. What shots?” when some specialist wants you to obediently inoculate your writing.


damihjva said...

I absolutely agree with this, but please consider the proviso that "Speshul Snowflakes" need not apply to this. (In fact, They should be sterilized in order to prevent their "geenyus" from procreating; thus preventing the number influx of Mary Sues' and Gary Stus' already out there wreaking havoc on literature.)

To illustrate with completely fictional dialogue:

*looking at the Snowflakes on a certain writing com* Yes, you asked me for my honest opinion. Yes, I practically said that your baby was ugly, but I did so in a polite, tactful, and respectful way, with a detailed critique as to why it's ugly and suggestions on how to possibly improve its current appearance, so that others may also enjoy looking at it as much as you do.

Please be aware that it is my sole intention to help, however, may I also remind you again that you asked for my honest opinion. I will not tell you "ZOMG, THIS IS THE BEST EVAR! MOAR!!1!!(eleventy-one)," if it is not, in truth. I don't care how many followers you have on your fan fiction account. Were you only looking for validation, you'd have better luck in a parking garage.

Also, there is nothing wrong with my comprehension skills; simply put, write better. /end rant

As for your experience at the Dr., David, I had a similar one with my kids. Seriously, I believe it's a conspiracy.

David Noceti said...

You crack my ish up, dahmijva.

I think the key is to focus on things that can be changed. In high school my buddy had what he considered to be the ultimate comeback for any girl that tried to insult him, it was simply, "Oh yeah, well you're ugly." His reasoning was that you can't change being ugly and so it would make a woman cry. (I later modified this and we dubbed it the suicide insult because we feared that if we ever used it, it might actually drive a teenage girl to her death: "Oh yeah, well even if you lost all that weight, you'd still be ugly." I am glad that we never unleashed its fury on the world). Basically we're speaking to "constructive" criticism and not just criticism. There has to be something to build on. Of course some folks can't stomach even that.

I plan on posting some thoughts on that soon enough because I think that even those of us with hides thickened with scar tissue still feel a knee jerk reaction when it comes to criticism.

But as usual, you're spot on. :)

Post a Comment