I understand that there are plenty of kids in this country who do not get adequate medical care. I get it. But I also get uncomfortable when I think of my kids getting medical care at school.
I can think of about a thousand potential scenarios in which this would be a problem. What if I send my kids to school with their immunization records in August, but take them to our family doctor to get, say, flu shots in September. The school, not knowing this, then gives everyone flu shots in October. Then my kids have gotten a double dose. I don't know that that's safe. I don't want to find out!
I also remember being pulled out of class in eighth grade (so does BJ, so this really happened, in spite of my horrible memory! That's why I write everything down now... I have CRS!) to get a shot for.... something. It was one of those air gun injections. I remember lining up, getting the shot in the cafeteria, and then feeling really dizzy and sick and unable to get up the two huge flights of stairs to return to class. I know I sat on the stairs for a while, and there were no teachers around to help me. Eventually I sucked it up and either went to the nurse or back to class. But there are a load of "what ifs" in my head - what if I'd passed out? What if I'd had a bad reaction to the shot, say an allergy or something, and no one had been there to help me?
I don't remember if my mom was aware of the fact that we would be getting shots that day, or if she signed anything. I do remember being surprised that we were getting shots that day.
I'm still a little traumatized by the scoliosis screenings that were done throughout my school years, too. It's so demeaning to have to take off your shirt and bend over so that the school nurse can examine you, particularly during puberty when your body is changing and developing at a rate that is completely different from your peers. My feeling is that if it isn't something I would want done to everyone in my office building as an adult, chances are that it's not something my kids will want to do during school.
Vision and hearing screenings are one thing - you do them completely clothed, and the outcome can have a direct affect on the quality of your school work. I have yet to figure out, though, how my having or not having scoliosis would have impacted my math grade. Further, I know loads and loads of people who wear glasses. In all my life, I have only known one person with scoliosis, and I'm fairly certain that she knew about it because her doctor checked - not because of screenings at school!
For all of the medical stuff I would rather take them to our family doctor who has been treating us since before they were born, and who I trust! I realize that I am privileged to have a family doctor and the money to take them to him with, of course, and I'm glad that there are screenings and vaccines available to kids whose families aren't so privileged... But couldn't they be done at the county health department instead of at school? After all, the schools have a hard enough time squeezing all the academics our kids need into the school year - is it necessary to remove them from class for medical screenings? Is it even ethical or safe to do so?
So, parents of older kids, talk to me about school-based medical care. Have you opted out of in-school vaccines or screenings? Have you caught flack from the school for doing so? Do you believe that in-school vaccines and scoliosis screenings and lice screenings (God help you if they find any - right there in front of everyone! I would die!) are appropriate, or are the schools usurping parental responsibilities and control? Would you allow your child to get shots in school, or do you already? Why or why not? Am I overthinking this?
Along the same vein, I've been posting on Facebook about the Swine Flu vaccine. There was a video of a guy who turned out to be a conspiracy theorist talking about thimerosol (the stuff they thought caused autism) in the Swine Flu vaccine. I also read an article that said that another potential Swine Flu Vaccine ingredient, called Squalene, might be responsible for Gulf War Syndrome. Here's a link to that article, which seems rational and reasonable. Her main point is "talk to your doctor." Below is the video, which I do not endorse, but merely post for the sake of discussion:
Again, it turns out that the "expert" in the video is kind of a nutjob. For one thing, they have NOT proven that Thimerosol causes autism, but he says that it has been proven. For another thing, check out his Wikipedia entry (thanks to my FB friend Bill for the link!).
My favorite quote so far about the Swine Flu was from my friend John, whose last name is Hogg, and who said this, in response to my question, "Are you worried about Swine Flu?" (I can't find the actual FB quote, so I'm doing this from memory - apologies to John if I misquote you!)
"If Lou Gehrig can die from Lou Gehrig's disease, you bet your a** that I'm worried about Swine flu. But I'm not half as worried as my neighbors, the Honenones!"(Get it? H1N1s? HAHAHA! I have the funniest friends!!)
Talk to me about Swine Flu. Are you getting your kids and yourselves vaccinated? Why or why not? To be honest, I am completely on the fence. I was very unconcerned about the whole Swine Flu thing until BJ said that he wanted the kids and me to get the vaccine as a precaution (in case I become pregnant this fall/winter). Then I got worried. Because if he's worried, I am really worried. BJ doesn't tend to fall prey to the fear-mongering of the media. He takes a very reasonable, rational approach to almost everything, so if he's concerned, I'm off the rails.
On the other hand, though, if the vaccine has scary ingredients... Yikes. I just do not know. I don't know how anyone who isn't a doctor can make a good choice. The media seems to operate under the assumption that it isn't doing its job if we aren't all terrified. I don't know who to believe, aside from our doctor, and I doubt that he has an hour to debate with me about the pros and cons!
Generally, I'll just ask him if he's having his own kids vaccinated. If the answer is yes, I go along (his kids are all around the same age as ours). I did, however, refuse the Vitamin K shot and the Hep B shot at birth (my kids aren't allowed to have sex or do IV drugs until they're at LEAST 6 months old, so we didn't worry about Hepatitis B!). I'm also planning on refusing the post-birth shot of pitocin next time. They give it to you to help your uterus contract and stop bleeding. I had it with MG, but not with Claire. Well, guess which kid I had trouble breastfeeding, and which one I didn't have trouble with. I just read this article this morning which makes me suspect that the pitocin (oxytocin - same thing) was the culprit for my feeding difficulties with MG.
I wish I'd gone to medical school. It would make a lot of this a lot easier.