Parenting and Doctors

Posted by & filed under Musings.

Sullivan just had his first illness last week. It was pretty horrific — he woke up in the middle of the night crying and then just started vomiting. He vomited on more or less regular intervals for about a day and a half. It was a little scary, but he didn’t have a fever or anything, so we both kind of figured he picked up a stomach bug from the Newark International Airport. (Our Ped. confirmed that it was just a little stomach thing)

So we did the (faux-)Pedialyte thing, but he mostly worked it out on his own after a couple days. Melissa did take him into our Ped’s office out in Dayton, just to make sure there wasn’t a greater problem. This brings me to my next issue:

We’ve been trying to find a local doctor for several months now. We’d like a family practice, someone that I can go in and see with my bizarre “does this look normal?” questions, someone that Sullivan can see for regular Doctor visits, the works. Our current Doctor(s), Seiler and Shah, are wonderful. The only reservations we have is (a) they don’t accept plastic payment, which means we can’t use the pre-tax medical-fund I enrolled in, and (b) they’re about 45 minutes away (just North of Dayton). Melissa applied with a local practice, Dr. Reichley, but was turned down when the Dr. found out we are refusing / delaying vaccinations for Sullivan.

Apparently the vaccinations issue is a deal-breaker for some Doctors. Melissa has done more reading about this than I have, but there’s a legitimate concern here. Most of us (myself included) know vaccinations as “those icky shots we have to get when we’re kids, to keep us from getting nasty contagious illnesses.” This is partly true. Vaccinations do indeed serve a purpose for some illnesses, but not all. Polio, for example, has not had a confirmed case in the U.S. for decades.

The real issue here stems from the method of delivery. Many Doctors do the “cocktail” method. They take a young kid, right around 1-2 years old, and inject them with the “MMR” (Measels, Mumps & Rubella) shot, sometimes throwing in a few others (Polio? Bubonic Plague?) for good measure. And here’s the rub: there have been quite a few documented cases of child development being stunted, skewed, or otherwise interrupted directly after being administered this shot! I know, I know, post hoc ergo propter hoc — just because the complications show up AFTER the shot doesn’t mean it was caused by the shot. But when you start getting enough cases that are similar with similar outcomes, it starts to look convincing.

Jenny McCarthy, whom you will either remember from Playboy, MTV’s Singled Out, or a number of television & movie cameos, has a son from her former marriage with Director John Asher. Her son was developing normally until about 15 months, when he was given his vaccinations – shortly after that he began to develop Autism. She has since taken a very active role in Autism Awareness.

Apparently, this issue is quite controversial. Some people believe there IS a link between MMR Vaccines and Autism, others think that it’s bunk. Honestly, when it comes to my son, I would rather err on the side of the curable-disease. Measels, Mumps, and Rubella all suck, but they’re curable. Autism isn’t. So even if it’s a 1% chance of acquiring it because of the vaccine; it’s not worth it to me.

UPDATE: We found doctors for all of us, and my appointment is in an hour.

Second Update: Re-found this post while looking for something else. A couple years ago, after waiting patiently, reading more about the issue, and discussion, we decided that the vaccinations were OK, and have been working on catching the kids up on their vaccinations. If you are on the fence about this issue, let it be known that the whole thing began with former-Doctor Andrew Wakefield, from the UK. Read a brief chronicle of the history.