I seem to cry at the drop of a hat these days....t.v commercials, newspaper articles, personal worries and concerns all seem to reduce me to quiet tears. I'm not sure why - although I have some ideas.
Still, tonight what I feel most of all is frustration and anger. Who actually knows, maybe H1N1 will turn out to be, please, please, please, much ado about nothing - except for those poor, grieving families who have lost love ones to date because of this flu strain. I do know that the first chance I had, my boys were vaccinated - and Winston will go back next week for his second shot as he is under three and Canada has to date decided that all children under 3 years should receive two half doses, 21 days apart.
As for those who say the chances are minimal that they will contract the virus, or that if they do it will most likely be mild, I say that is not a chance I am willing to take. I sat, slept, ate and despaired next to Winston's hospital crib for a week last winter while he struggled to breathe...I awoke nightly to the urgent rustling of nurses arriving to clear his breathing passages and get his heart rate stabilized because the poor baby could not breathe on his own without help and his heart would start to flag...I sat there pumping milk that he would not ever drink because he refused all fluid and solids day after day as his fever climbed, his condition worsened. And this nightmare was caused from simple complications due to a common cold virus. A cold. The frickin' common cold and my baby was in the children's hospital for a week under constant care, wires and tubes snaking in and out, over and under his little body. So when a vaccine to help prevent H1N1 came along you better believe I was not taking any chances.
I mean, what are the odds here in North America that any of our children will actually come in contact with, or contract, many of the diseases for which they are routinely vaccinated? Slim to none. And why? BECAUSE WE HAVE A PUBLIC HEALTH SYSTEM THAT VACCINATES THE VERY YOUNG WHO ARE MOST VULNERABLE. So can someone explain to me why, in God's green earth, we would not also vaccinate our children against this virus? Too busy with work? I'll show you too busy with work and raise you one week of absence as you freak out in hospital next to your child as he/she labours to breathe. Doubt they will actually get sick? Then why teach them road safety, put bike helmets on their heads, scrutinize consumer reports on child safety seats and buy BPA free drink bottles - what are the odds they will get hit by a car/crack their head on the sidewalk/be in a car accident/have chemicals mutate their genetic codes? And why are these chances so many parents are unwilling to take, yet a simple vaccine is just too much trouble?
And why am I so angry, so livid, so frustrated? I don't know exactly - except on the same day that a young, healthy, beloved and reknowned scientist here in Ottawa died from H1N1, people close to me were clogging up our already over-burdened health system with their unvaccinated child (too busy to get it done, too inconvenient, too much "fear mongering") in an emergency room over mild fever and a runny nose. Sure, they had time to sit in emergency for hours, exposing him to a multitude of illnesses and sights a young child should not be seeing - but not enough time or interest to have headed the wisdom of the WHO, public health specialists, and governments - and simply gotten him vaccinated.
It's like countries where people walk and then line up for days to exercise their right to vote in elections; here we act like it is a burden we must, heavy sigh and much complaining, try to get around to if we feel like it at the moment. In far too many places people - mothers - cry out for public health services, vaccines etc., to ensure the health and saftey of their children; here we toss our heads and bemoan the inconvenience or worse simply ignore the medical advice. Is this what we have become, we the privileged of the world? A population made up of those who simply will not take the time, the effort or the interest to be informed, to protect the young, to value the fragility of our children's lives?
So, I find I cry easily these days. Not for long, as I hate drama and public (or private) displays of emotion. But I cry quietly, at the oddest things, at the oddest times. And under the tears is an anger new to me.