as some of you may know, my dear lumpy has what is considered by his doctors to be a cronic condition. he takes medicine everyday, and has for years. and i dutifully dose it out to him, no matter how gross he says it tastes. but am i being irresponsible for not getting him some of the optional, but conisdered a good idea, medicine, or am i justified in sparing him the pain of a shot for something that seems totally pointless?
i suppose a bit of background information might make the situation a bit clearer.
in march of 2009, lumpy got sick. he was in preschool, his brother was in kindergarten, so i thought it was just the basic bug that gets passed around. it couldn't be the flu, because i had gotten him a flu shot that year, just like every year. he was listless and tired and stuffy, and he was running a low-grade fever that i was treating with tylenol, as per his doctor's instructions. well, while i was at bumble's swimming lesson, lumpy was home, watched by his bubba. she said he was walking through the living room and just collapsed, and when she tried to stand him up, he was confused and disoriented.
after my hubby and i rushed him to the e.r., after waiting in the waiting room, after they took us back to get his vitals, that's when the nightmare started. it went from one nurse with a stethoscope to a team of people, hooking up oxygen and a blood pressure cuff, bombarding me with questions about what meds i'd given him and how long he'd been like this. it turns out he had pneumonia, and the hospital we went to didn't have a pediatric unit, so we were shipped to a different one. after staying there 48 hours, they decided to ship us to the special children's hospital, because there was talk of having to intibate him because his blood oxygen level wasn't coming up and they didn't know what other treatments to try.
he was released a week later, and we were told that he had contracted the flu and the pneumonia was a complication from his body fighting the infection. it was left at that, and i was told that i just needed to watch him over the summer and make sure that he didn't develop asthma, as could happen in kids his age.
fast forward to october 2009, when he started getting sick again. this time i was more ready, i knew the symptoms to look for, and so i took him to his pediatrician right away.
that's when his pediatrician looked him over, pretty much laughed that i didn't take him straight to the hospital, and called an ambulance to transport us. it seems he had pneumonia again. and it was again thought to be a complication from him having the flu, even though i had gotten him a flu shot again. so the hospital did breathing treatments and we were released a week later. also, being that he had the same condition in a six month span, he was labelled "chronic" and "high-risk" and i was given a card to see a slew of specialists to figure out why my otherwise healthy boy kept getting so sick.
over the next two years, he has seen breathing specialists and asthma specialists and allergy specialists. we were told that he doesn't have asthma, because he doesn't have shortness of breathe or any of the other symptoms. though they have him on a daily inhaler. and he did not have a reaction to any of the allergines they tested, but he has high levels of immunoglobulin antibodies, so he is allergic to "something," and gets to take daily allergy medication. he also had many chest xrays done, and his lungs look perfect, so no malformations. and yet, because the doctors still can't figure out exactly what is wrong and why he gets sick, we also have a rescue inhaler and special procedures to follow and extra medicine to take if we think he might be getting sick again.
he has been doing very well, growing and thriving. he is larger than the average 6 year old, and he is very active with no ill-effects. in fact, he had been doing so well, his pulmonary specialist said we could take a break from his medicine this summer. so for the month of august, he didn't take any of his medicine. he had no breathing problems, but what's more, he was so calm, and he could focus, and he could sleep. the side effects of all of his medications are that they make him so hyper and high strung.
unfortunately, the summer isn't the hard time for him. it's when the seasons change, from winter to spring and from summer to fall, it's march and october that are still the hardest. and so now he is back on all his medication. and i miss my sweet little boy from the summer when staring in the face of his wound up, strung out twin. but the one thing i've latched onto in learning about his condition with no name is that most of the kids that have it eventually grow out of it. whatever happens in their bodies that cause it changes when they hit puberty. and especially since he never developed real asthma, he should eventually be able to live medicine free.
now, after all of that, i suppose i should get to the point of this post, which is that i did not get a flu shot for him this year. he has had flu shots every year before this, but he has contracted the flu before. twice which we are certain of, and once, before, that i'm pretty sure about. so i wonder, is it irresponsible not to get him vaccinated against an illness he has such problems with, or is it pointless to force him to get a shot that doesn't always do much good?