“I am 60% sure it is swine flu and 35% sure it is a reaction to the swine flu vaccine.” This is a sentence no mother wants to hear, number one because it gives no definitive answer as to why her child is burning at a steady 104°, and number two because the words “swine flue” are like a frying pan between the eyes. We were at the doctor’s because the heat from Drew’s head was emitting light like that algae in the north Atlantic. And because it was only a mere two days after getting the swine flu mist vaccine.
Now, I do not believe in assigning blame to my marriage partner. It’s just out of taste. But he WAS the one who insisted that Drew get swine flu vaccinated. So either Drew was exposed to the actual virus at the doctor’s office or the vaccine itself was the culprit. My sweet hubby just can’t win for losing, and I think I’ve reminded him of it approximately 83 times this week.
Drew burned like a tiki torch for about 24 hours and then, with the help of Tylenol and Motrin rotating every three hours, managed to maintain a low-grade sizzle. His eyes were hollow and glassy; his heart was fluttering fast; he lay on our bed and looked at me—looked at me as I looked at him—for hours.
I had to leave him at one point to attend a friend’s wedding shower and Gordon stayed by his side. When I returned, he was eating mandarin oranges. He only stirred once or twice in the night, and the next day was slightly better.
My doctor said that if this were a reaction to the vaccine, then Drew would only be the second or third kid this season that had reacted in such a way. Comforting, indeed. It also would mean that Drew has an immune system akin to the Gentle Giant: sensitive to anything mean that comes its way yet strong enough to crush it at a moment’s notice. While it was nice to know my son perhaps has the immune system that could sucker-punch the Ebola virus, it hurt to see him suffering through what could be a non-virus, a ghost invader.
The doctor told me that doing a test to see for sure whether it was swine flu or a reaction would prove inconclusive. “If you and your husband get sick, we’ll know it’s swine flu for sure.” Say it with me everyone: AWESOME.
So far, minus a few minor aches and fatigue—and despite my hypochondriacal tendencies—Gordon and I seem to be in the clear. It’s been a week now. So I think it is safe to say my kid had a reaction to the vaccine—the first reaction he has ever exhibited. (By the way, if you are considering the vaccine, opt for the actual injection and not the mist. The mist is more prone to cause reaction. Sure coulda used that information earlier.)
I think this is a lesson in control. We are not in control. We do our best, but sometimes even our best backfires. What do you do when your best backfires? Order in pizza, measure out the Tylenol and relinquish control in all the other areas of life. What else is there to do?