Being the Oddball Isn’t *Always* Fun
I’m finding out that it’s one thing to know theoretically that something is a controversial topic, when you are surrounded by either like-minded people or those who are respectful of decisions and opinions differing from their own.
It’s another entirely to find out concretely that it is indeed dear to the heart of someone who has made their career choice based on a position opposite yours, and to find yourself asking that person for assistance.
In short, we do not immunize our children. Apparently in some places that is a graver offense than in others. We have moved from a place that either had more lax regulations, or else a higher population of non-immunizers (so that the “officials” were more used to dealing with the issue), into a place where I have yet to meet one other family (my own extended family excluded) that doesn’t immunize. This is probably also a result of the drastic culture-shift we have made, along with our geographical move.
That, in itself, doesn’t bother me. I’ve never minded being the oddball in a group. In fact, I often expect that status (0;
But now, one of our children is having a health issue that is entirely unrelated to being unimmunized, and we are having a BEAR of a time finding a Dr. even willing to look at her.
Where we lived before, we had a dearly loved Dr (who became a family friend), who disagreed with my choice but respected me as the parent. Every visit (he made HOUSECALLS!!) he would ask me if I’ve decided to have anyone vaccinated, and mildly tell me he was obligated to give me his professional opinion, and then we moved on to giving my children the best care we could, between us. I credit him, without unnecessary drama, with saving the life of one of my children, as well as, on a separate occasion, myself.
Here, I can’t even get past the receptionists. I mention “unvaccinated” and I can hear the screech of the brakes and the walls slam up. After a full 30 seconds of silence (I’m not kidding), I hear her clear her throat before she asks me again about taking my child to the doctor for her “shots”. I tell her again that my child is unvaccinated, and that that is the reason I am requesting the specific doctor that I am: because on my first call to their office to find if any of their doctors will see an unvaccinated child, I was told that there is one on a team of more than 6.
That alone boggles my mind. Are they really concerned about the child’s overall health? Or about making all the charts look alike?
I guess here is where I still only theoretically understand the controversial aspect of this topic. I don’t consider it any of my business whether anyone has their child vaccinated, and I expect the same respect in return. I just didn’t realize it until I failed to get it.
The receptionist refused to make an appointment for my child until after she had asked her office manager and the doctor in question, which might not happen until next week. Then, she’ll “get back to me”.
I wish I could type the tone of her voice. I know that she intended me to feel like a humiliated, ignorant, negligent, selfish excuse for a mother. Instead, I felt like a Mama Bear.
I’ve been hesitant to even call a doctor, thinking that things may go this way, and hesitant to trust the opinion and advice of anyone who so blatantly refuses to even consider the evidence and research that supports my decision. I don’t ask to be agreed with, but I expect the maturity and education to at least concede that there is valid data on both sides of the question. I admit that much. If someone won’t, then how are they to be credible in my eyes on other topics where I’m going to perceive that I’m only receiving their dogmatic stance without all sides and data being presented and considered?
I don’t oppose medical treatment where needed. My child had life-saving surgery for something that could not have been prevented or forseen. I had surgery for a ruptured ectopic pregnancy, without which I would have bled to death. I regularly take doses of iron supplements that would be lethal for an average person, and it keeps me alive. But I want to be very much active in the decision making processes for the healthcare of my children, I want to understand the issue, the implications of all treatments, the prognoses for each of them, and I want to ponder and pray about which is the best course of action this time, for this child. I do not want “standard procedure” just because it IS standard procedure.
Right now, I’m trying to remember that it is the receptionist that I’ve spoken to, not the doctor. And that, as far as I’ve currently been told, this doctor is open to seeing unvaccinated patients, which hopefully means open to allowing me to be a participant (parent!!) in my child’s care, and that we can be a team, working together for the good of my child.