The dreaded vaccination letter fell through our doorstep for Christopher just after Christmas. It has been sat up on the fridge as a thing to do but actually is being put off !
When I was 15 months old I had my vaccination and at the same time seemed to turn into a happy baby, walking, pulling stuff from shelves into a child that went pale over night, had fevers that never have left, rashes on me and swollen knees and ankles. My parents went to their GP. The GP didn't know what it was, they just told my mum it was a developmental phase, to go home and give me Calpol.
This didn't do any thing! Around the same time as my vaccinations I was also stung by a bee on my head apparently ,so my poor immune system was clearly massively under attack and no wonder it went into mega overdrive. Some months passed, my first word was "hurt" and all I did most of the day was point to my knee and say "hurt".
Eventually I got an ear infection which the doctors thought might have been the problem, I was nearly aged 2. I had grommet surgery and I came out completely swollen in all joints with high fevers that they couldn't control easily. Then and only then did it dawn on the medical profession that my mother never has been nor ever will be one of those silly drama people, clearly her child was very ill. I don't know what happened then but I was kept in Bath hospital for weeks, my parents were so frightened, they took me out for a walk with them into Bath and they stood outside the Bath Abbey not aware of anything or any one around them, both sat there desperately worried that I might have a terminal illness.
Fortunately I didn't! I have a debilitating illness that changes with the wind so one day I can stand up and walk about with ease, the next day I am stuck on nasty NHS crutches and in an old biddies electric scooter! I go from lively looking,petite woman, to ancient old hag in 24 hours hahaha. However my parents have said to me recently that they were elated when I got my diagnoses for Juvenile Arthritis as they knew you couldn't die from the illness. I don't think they had much of a clue about child arthritis or the madness to come, the year in traction on my bed being schooled at home, the endless surgery and months spent in hospital in London, the nutty splints I had to wear at night and calipers on my legs in the day,the help I would need to get dressed, helped on to the loo and off, help washing my hair etc. However we all muddled through it. I had a bit of a shout during my teenage years as frankly who wants to be 15 and needing help on and off the bog. My dad who rarely looses his temper, saying to me in the hallway to "bloody well walk" on two sticks I had been given and was struggling to use. I hated him that day aged 16, went to my room and cried feeling fat and useless. I don't think I can ever thank him enough for that though because it made me think right you bloody old git I will walk and I practiced standing in my room on my own at my table and then with my mum. I haven't looked back since!
Now I am the parent, I must decide whether I want my son to have these vaccinations, the possible cause of my illness.He has two parents both with severe youth arthritis so I guess he may be more predisposed towards getting it himself. Equally I need to tell myself that it would have been far worse for my parents to return from sitting outside Bath Abbey to be greeted by a doctor saying I had meningitis so I know what I should do really. Any way if he gets arthritis, what more could an arthritic child ask for, two parents who really do understand how hard it can be, who can show him you can do any thing, it makes no difference how bad your joints are that day, rubbish joints do not need to stop you living a happy good life.
I can hear my son awake, before I go and get him up I shall pick up the phone and call the GP practice, get him booked in.