Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Flu Schmu...

Sunday afternoon, as we were getting ready to walk out the door to take my mom to the airport, and head to the wedding, we got a call. A call from the head pediatric allergist and immunologist at both The Children's Hospital, and National Jewish Hospital about flu vaccines this year for Max. As is often the case, we get these calls when it is most convenient for our very busy doctors. So we stop what we're doing and take the call...because who knows if or when we'll get the call answered if we have to return it!

He spoke with Steve, but the run-down was, Max will be allergic to this year's vaccine, as well as the new H1N1 vaccine. They can not take the gelatin out of the vaccine, and that's what Max is allergic to. The doctor also put it in terms of not which one was worse for Max...getting the flu(either one) or getting the vaccines. We can't put it in terms of which is worse to get. Either could kill him. And that's a reality. Max has had a severe allergic reaction to vaccines, each time by vigilance on our part and prayers being rushed and answered, we've gotten him the treatment he needed to reverse the reaction. But in the case of severe allergic reactions, there are times that it can't be reversed.

And this year, he would not need to get one injection he is severely allergic to. He would have to get THREE. And he wouldn't be able to get those at a flu clinic. For each individual vaccination, they would have to admit him to the PICU at Children's or National Jewish(the lading allergy hospital in the nation) to administer the vaccines over a period of time to try to avoid the anaphylaxic reaction. A PICU where they already have children with both seasonal flu, and H1N1 flu.

So as we weigh out the risks...that he could have a severe reaction from getting a vaccine he could not recover from...or he could contract seasonal or H1N1 flu, which could also be detrimental to his health, we have to ask ourselves, which is the best decision to make for Max?

And we've come to the decision that this year again will be spent indoors. Away from crowds. No travel. No vacations. No sick people around Max. And anyone who does come into regular contact with Max must be vaccinated with all of the flu vaccines.

This is where it is cramping my plans. You see, I was planning a trip to see grandparents. That trip is off. Flu is already here. He can't be exposed. And hugs and kisses aplenty come from family visits. And while we all love hugs and kisses...they have germs attached. Germs that could slide right off you or I...but Max just can't fight off the little things like a typical almost 6 year old can.

We were also planning a trip to NIH for the study Max is a part of for his MMA. Another plan scrapped. We can't get there by air...and even if we drove, he would have to be admitted into the hospital or we would be staying in Children's Inn, and while very clean and nice...still germs and the risk of being exposed to flu.

Holidays will be spent at home...and because H1N1 vaccine won't even be released until November...to the highest risk people...being around groups of friends and family will be out.

We'll see how it all unfolds. Right now I'm feeling kind of "grounded". And trying not to let it get me down. We're always careful...and try to keep him healthy. But I sure get annoyed when things are so much out of our control!

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