CDC Vaccination Schedule Supporters – PLEASE READ.
I grew up going to a family physician, not a pediatrician. I don’t remember his name off the top of my head but he was an older gentleman in a small town with its roots in agriculture. I am going to tell you two very short stories and then give you some things to consider to help the CDC understand how to get almost everyone on board with their recommended shot schedule.
As a young child I HATED shots. In my memory I think I did fine for the first few years, i.e. I cried like most children but would let the good doctor stick me (keep in mind things were spread way out back then, not the condensed version we have today). He didn’t have a nurse or medical assistant that did the shots, he did them himself. Well, this doctor decided to try something different one day. I was older, probably around 8 or 9 (might have been younger), and he talked to me about spaghetti arms. He said that the reason it hurt so bad when I got shots was because I tensed up. If my muscles were relaxed it would help the shot to not hurt so badly. He was honest though. He said that it would still feel like a small bee sting, but it wouldn’t be nearly as bad. So he started shaking my arm to show me how to do spaghetti arms. I followed suit and before I knew it he had made the shot and it barely hurt.
We have four children and 3 of the 4 are either fully vaccinated or almost fully vaccinated. We have NEVER had anyone suggest anything like spaghetti arms, and they never go in the arms any more – they get them in their thighs. Typical scenarios have me holding my child down on the examining table with their lower legs dangling off the edge. I hold their arms/hands and whisper in their ears that it will be okay and that daddy loves them. The nurse or medical assistant then pins their legs against the table and puts either one or two shots in their legs. On a more positive note, sometimes we have gotten them to stick both legs at the same time which tends to make the experience more bearable.
And so I ask everyone out there: are there doctors who see their patients as humans still, or are we just homo sapiens that exist for data collection in order to preserve our species? That is a loaded and misleading statement but what I am trying to say is that if the CDC wants parents to feel more inclined and better about vaccinating their children per the CDC’s recommendations then they need to start with the medical community where they teach them how to love their patients and to express that love through caring and considerate actions – even if it means taking more time with a patient.
1. Have an estimated wait time at sign-in so that people can have an idea of how long things are taking. Patients should not have to ask.
2. STOP with the ‘take a number, have a seat until your number is called’ routine. I have a name and I don’t mind if you use it.
3. Ever hear of holistic care? We are more than body parts, nerve endings, cardiac systems, etc… We have emotions. Get emotional with us. Find out what stress is going on in our lives. That may be the main reason for our ailments. Instead of prescribing a nighttime sleep medicine, why not prescribe a relaxing herbal tea with 30 mins to an hour of quiet time – no media, just our thoughts? Physically write a prescription for exercise to include what exercises to do. Get creative. What do people really need – more medicine or a lifestyle change?
4. Don’t be afraid to speak the truth. If we are over weight then be gentle about it, but explain that most of our problems are because of our diet, lack of exercise, and excessive fat on our bodies. Then motivate us to change through resources, follow-ups (I can count on one hand how many times I have been called by a doctor to follow-up from a visit).
5. Online doctors! I know they exist but this should really be more common place. For example, we are following up for our son’s recent MRI with a neurologist who is willing to Skype with us instead of us traveling 3 and a half hours one way to the hospital for a visit. The last time we saw her it took over two hours of waiting in various rooms before we actually saw her. If this Skype thing goes then it will not only save on gas, but it will also cut down on how many people are transiting into and out of the hospital being exposed to other sicknesses, and putting wear and tear on the facility.
So what do you all think? Would have doctor’s and nurses who genuinely care change your perceptions of hospitals and family practices?
I will end on a positive note. For the birth of our third child, my wife had complications that required us to move from a home birth to the hospital. I was overwhelmed at the concern and care by all involved. So I wrote a lengthy letter to the board of directors telling them about each person that helped us and how they helped us. I want that experience for everyone and a note of encouragement and thanks can go a long way. I suggest everyone do the same. Encourage the behavior in your doctors and nurses that you like, and let them know politely when you feel like a sheep unsure of whether you are about to be slaughtered or sheered.