Saturday, June 11, 2011

Vaccine Nazi

I've never been what I call a "Vaccine Nazi". The mother who vowed to not get her kids vaccinated because of the dangers of them, and then preached it on everyone else. I've never had a reason to investigate vaccines further than my pediatrician's recommendation. Yes, I know my child's health is a good reason, but they've always been healthy children. MAYBE had a mild fever once from a vaccine. I always would think the risks are so small and I wouldn't rather my child have Polio, or Measles, or some of the other diseases.

Now that Hailey has had Guillain Barre, there are certain vaccines that she shouldn't get though. According to the CDC website, the vaccines that say "You shouldn't get this vaccine if...." and then in that list says "You have ever had a history of Guillain Barre Syndrome" that I have found are: The Flu Vaccine (probably the most well known), The Meningitis Vaccine, and the Tdap (which has a bunch of different names - I knew it as Dtap. This is a combination vaccine and I want to do more research to see which of the illnesses it covers is related to the GBS).

The reason I initiated this research now is because yesterday Hailey had a follow up appointment with her pediatrician for her GBS and they also did her 4 year old check up. I asked when I made the appointment if there were any shots at a 4 year old appointment, the receptionist told me no, so when the nurse told me, "It looks like she is due for her Prevnar vaccine today" I was thrown a little off guard. 1) I didn't prepare Hailey for a shot at this appointment and 2) definitly didn't think they would even consider doing any vaccine so soon after her hospitalization.

I trust her pediatrician. He diagnosed her GBS immediately. He called our house while we were at the hospital and spoke with my Mother In Law for updates. He called the hospital for updates. We called him a couple of times from the hospital for advice and second opinions. I questioned the Prevnar vaccine she was due for and the timing of giving it to her and he assured me that it's a dead virus so we didn't need to worry about it with the GBS. He also said her case of GBS seems to be a very freaky thing. Hers wasn't caused by a previous vaccine, but by a virus she had a few weeks before (or the cold she was almost 2 weeks into when she stated showing signs). It was a vaccine she had already gotten before. She had no side effects from before, so she shouldn't this time. So I gave the permission to give her the booster.

All evening Hailey complained that her arm was sore. I figure she tensed up, that always makes it hurt more. This morning and afternoon, if you touched her arm, she said "Ow!" and said her arm was still sore. Tonight at the store I noticed a splotchy looking mark at the injection site. My first thought was to call the pediatrician, however, after going to the CDC website, this seems to be a normal reaction for this vaccine so I gave her a dose of tylenol for the soreness. Tried getting her to put ice on it while watching TV but she wouldn't.

I kick myself for not sticking with my gut that its too soon for any vaccines. Her immune system is probably still healing from the GBS. Maybe it is a normal reaction, but right now I am super paranoid about anything making her sick again and this little side effect just has my nerves going even more than before.

If you have any information about vaccines and GBS I'd love to hear it! I was concentrating on getting Hailey healed, and now that she is, I am trying to educate myself further about everything.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Chapter Closed

Yesterday was Hailey's last day of Physical Therapy. Her therapist tested her again during their session and said she did great and was "well within normal range" with everything she asked her to do. They did an obstacle course where Hailey would have to climb up, down, etc to get to the end. They did a rope ladder which her therapist said she would normally hold at the bottom so the ladder couldn't swing (making it easier to climb), but Hailey did it without her holding it still. They even walked in moon shoes which her therapist said was hard and Hailey did it (holding hands, but her therapist said she had no doubt if they did it a bit longer Hailey would have been able to do it on her own). She said Hailey is a little weaker in her left leg still, but it's a normal weakness and it's only a smidge. A dominant vs not dominant, normal weakness. She also reassured me that the chances of her coming down with GBS again are just as rare as her catching it the first time. Although that should put me at ease, with as rare as it is, Hailey got it. She said that we know our child and knew something just wasn't right the first time and because we caught it so early she really believes that's why Hailey made such a fast recovery. And of course, if we had any questions, notice something, whatever, we could always call her.

Total Rehab Center in Robinwood rocks my socks! If you ever need physical, occupational, or speech therapy (which I hope you never do!) and you live close to Hagerstown, MD you'll want to go there!

If you remember, Hailey finished Occupational Therapy a week or so ago too. We are now therapy free, almost weaned off the nerve blocker medication with no complaints so far of any pain, which essentially means, we are closing the door to this chapter in our lives. Of course that doesn't mean that we'll never think about it because truth be told, I think about it I read articles about other people who have had it and how they explain it and I always wonder "Is that how it felt to Hailey?" I am always wondering, and in fear of the answer, "Was Hailey in pain at all in the hospital?" "Was Hailey scared?" "Did she understand, even if I'm sure she was scared, what was going on?" "How much does she remember?" "How conscious was she really during her hospitalization?" And of course when I think of the interaction we had with her, asking her questions and her head nod answers, her being upset and trying to cry over the breathing tube, following directions when asked to move parts of her body, I know that she was really awake during all this, and how scared she really must have been. Reliving the first few days in my head. It all just breaks my heart!

Then, when I get upset thinking about all those things, I try and take a peek at her as she is running around and playing with her brothers. I think about how well she is doing now.

This experience has taught me something, or maybe I should say, reminded me. Family is the most important thing. My kids, really enjoying them, takes priority over everything. Work can wait, cleaning can wait, who cares if we are eating hotdogs instead of an elaborate dinner because I was too busy enjoying my kids to prepare a big dinner?! It has shown me how precious life is. Even the healthiest of kids can be fighting for their lives in an instant. Hailey was running around like a normal kid one day and within 3 days she's on a breathing tube and completely paralyzed. Never take those healthy and fun moments for granted thinking that is what will be there tomorrow. That is not guaranteed. The dirty laundry is guaranteed to be sitting there tomorrow...a healthy child to enjoy is not.

I plan to continue writing in this blog. It's been somewhat therapeutic to me and I have actually enjoyed it. So don't go far!