The poisonous public attacks on Katie Wright this week--for revealing that her autistic son Christian (grandson of NBC Chair Bob Wright), has recovered significant function after chelation treatments to remove mercury -- surprised many observers unfamiliar with the acrimonious debate over the mercury-based vaccine preservative Thimerosal. But the patronizing attacks on the mothers of autistic children who have organized to oppose this brain-killing poison is one of the most persistent tactics employed by those defending Thimerosal against the barrage of scientific evidence linking it to the epidemic of pediatric neurological disorders, including autism. Mothers of autistics are routinely dismissed as irrational, hysterical, or as a newspaper editor told me last week, "desperate to find the reason for their children's illnesses," and therefore, overwrought and disconnected.Good for him. I hope people are listening.
On a related note, Daniel had his nine-month well-baby visit a couple of weeks ago. We saw a new doctor who listened to me — actually listened — when I told her we are delaying some of Daniel's shots and want to forego some of the others, at least until much later. (Like chicken pox. I'd be happy if he could catch chicken pox on his own and develop a natural immunity, but if he's not immune by the time he enters adulthood, a case of chicken pox would be a lot more troublesome, so I'd want him to get the shot in his early teens if he doesn't bring the pox upon himself. :) And hepatitis B. Why on earth do they give that to babies, when it's mostly transmitted through sex and IV drug use? And that was one of the shots that used to be preserved with thimerisol.)
Whether or not the doctor agreed with me, what she said to me with complete openness was, "I don't want you to give him any shots if you're not comfortable doing it. It's not good for a doctor-patient relationship if you feel pressured into doing it." What a breath of fresh air compared to the previous doctor, who basically made me feel like a floundering fool — and very pressured.
I did get Daniel one shot at his nine-month visit: DTAP, the combined one for diptheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough). I'd been going back and forth all week about whether to do it now or later, but I decided to go ahead. It was his third DTAP shot, which the doctor said completes the primary series, so he should be covered through the scariest age for whooping cough. (Well, as much as he can be; that part of the vaccine doesn't have the highest success rate.) And tetanus? I know it's rare, but the thought of the actual disease scares me immensely. It sounds horrible. It didn't help that we were at a birthday party at a park a couple of weeks ago, and when I sat on the grass next to Daniel to eat my cake, I put my hand down next to a big, thick, rusty nail. Eesh. At any rate, if he splits his lip open again, at least I don't have to panic, and that emotional reassurance is good for something!
So, I left feeling good about the doctor, better about the clinic, and great about our decision to keep going on a selective and delayed vaccination schedule — and keep researching. And Daniel handled the shot really well, and he got plenty of cuddling from his mom and dad afterward.
Oh, and Daniel's vital stats: As of June 1, he measured 29 and a half inches (90th or 95th percentile) and weighed 18 pounds, 5 ounces (25th percentile). What a big boy! I love him so much.