Sunday, December 13, 2020

I’m Getting the Covid Vaccine – Ask me why?

 You hear it all the time. We are a divided nation.  It seems everywhere we turn we are confronted with the things that divide us. Your political beliefs, race, culture, and religion – the list goes on and on.

When I wrote my book – I tried to concentrate on telling our story.  To focus on our experiences - our feelings and our perception of what was going on around us.  In doing research and trying to come to terms as to why we made some of the choices we made (and there many.) It led me to think a lot about where we came from. No matter how I told my story it was inevitably shaped by what I believed and my life experiences. Without having any insight into me as a person – you would never understand the “why" of our experience.  That is why many people's perceptions are based on their beliefs and their own unique life experience. It is why many of us approach life's problems very differently.

Much of my feelings about Covid and the possibility of a vaccine are shaped by many years of being exposed to the health care system The many people I have learned to trust under very tumultuous circumstances.

First off, the obvious reason why I would get the Covid vaccine is that I have two people in my home who are at high risk for Covid and have significant underlying health conditions. Some of the other reasons I would get the vaccine are less obvious but no less important.

When my son Russell – crashed in an Emergency Room over 12 years ago something happened. Like it or not – we were no longer in control. We had to place our trust in the medical team who was caring for him and even more frightening we began to realize that a lot of what was about to happen would depend on the resilience and strength of an 8-week old baby. There was almost nothing this mom and dad could do but watch and pray.

In those very challenging months that lay ahead, we had to consent to treatments and procedures that still make us wince. Some of those treatments had the dubious adjective – “experimental.”  We often heard unsettled language from an esteemed medical team who used words that did not guarantee a successful outcome. Through those harrowing experiences and living in a hospital nearly 24/7, we gained a much different perspective of the very capable medical professionals. I began to see human beings – fallible and unsure despite a confident veneer.

Without knowing an outcome and seeing a more human side of our medical team we still needed to trust our son’s life in their care. We needed to be vigilant and monitor every step but without trust, we would have been lost. It is ironic but as we began to see the human frailty of our medical team we actually began to trust them more. Honesty creates trust. I believe that now more than ever.

Perhaps this is a very long and drawn-out way of explaining my point but all those years ago we had to trust our doctors and nurses and they came through for us. They held our son on the edge of disaster but never allowed him to go over that edge. We saw first-hand the attachment they developed with our son grow and how they fought for him. At times their advocacy overshadowed our own.

The question remains - after all of these years why at this point would I toss everything I have seen and learned and ignore the advice of the people who have proven themselves to us time and time again. I know these people. I know they have our best interests at heart. To me, to ignore their expert opinion now would be to turn my back on everything they have done for us. We've walked with them this far -we will continue to do so in the future.

When it comes to a decision on the safety and effectiveness of a vaccine – I will trust the people who know us and have been there for us. When the vaccine becomes available I will consult with our doctors – not just one.  All of them. We will discuss the risks and benefits and we will make a decision. I suspect they will strongly recommend getting the vaccine, but the final decision will be made by us - as it always has.

Not surprisingly, we have been in frequent contact with our doctors ever since the issue of Covid 19 came to light. The input from our doctors has not been the panicked hysteria you see on the news and social media. Their advice has been pragmatic and reasoned – just as they have always been. They have supported our children going to school and some of the therapeutics still being debated today were first mentioned to me in February. I've always felt we were ahead of the curve.

We have had to deal with vaccine issues in the past. There are certain vaccines that my son cannot take. In the past couple of years, he has also developed an allergy to the flu vaccine and will not receive it anymore. That has just placed greater importance for the rest of the family to get our vaccines.

That is what I find completely silly about the whole “vaccine” argument.  Vaccines are not benign. You definitely can have adverse reactions. It isn’t common – but it does happen. There WILL BE adverse reactions to the Covid vaccines that will be rolled out soon. Whenever you manipulate the human body – there is always a chance that something will go wrong. This is what frustrates me about those who are pro-vaccine. The arrogance that you should blindly take something without questioning it. Somehow that if you question vaccines you are some kind of “flat earther” and that you need to “trust the science.” Somehow blurting out the word “science” somehow should end the debate.

I know vaccine-hesitant people.  Sometimes they have very good reason to be.  They may have had negative experiences with vaccines in the past. Although rare – these situations are real. As stated earlier – we have had our own bad experiences with vaccines. Trips to the Emergency rooms are not fun.

The one thing I do know is that if you start forcing vaccines and shutting down any debate on the subject – you will only increase the resistance. Anything that needs to be implemented by force almost immediately brings skepticism and resistance.

I have no doubt that we will see benefit from the Covid vaccines and when that becomes evident – you will see people line up for vaccines who are currently hesitant. When something works – people will see that. It may just take time.

My frustration over all of the controversy surrounding vaccines is the unwillingness to (as a society) to debate the issues.  We used to debate issues – we seem to have lost that ability.  Now we are two polarized camps who can’t discuss or disagree. We must stamp out the opposing opinion. Shout people down. We need to re-learn the skill of healthy debate and accept that we may not always agree,

Although I am vehemently pro-vaccine I am always willing to talk to someone who has an opposing view. We need those discussions. The reasons I support vaccines goes far beyond the few words that I have written here. We need to learn to talk again – even if it is something we don’t necessarily want to hear.

Can we change people’s minds? I think so. Can my mind be changed? Yes – I have changed my opinion on many issues. However, we will never progress unless we start to communicate.

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