I suppose as a sign of myself getting older I find that some things are just incomprehensible. I have seen many changes in our country, our culture, families, education systems, and medical systems over the years. Raising eight kids has kept me pretty much in the loop with change and the importance of change. Some things I totally agree with and some things I totally disagree with but in the last few weeks I have come across two very specific issues that I do not understand.
I totally disagree with them but at the same time I have lost all of my ability to be understanding of the situation. One is a cultural issue and another is the issue of family and the education system. I am an educator and have taught in Jr. High (Currently called Middle School), High School, Community colleges, 4 year colleges, University systems and at Sunday school.
We did run into this problem getting into Church Camp so I included Sunday school. As I write this I am reflecting and have changed my mind about this being an education problem. Rather, it might be a medical problem or a cultural problem. Heck, it could be viewed as a systems problem. As in – All of Our Systems are so messed up there are problems which transcend all of them at one time.
I didn’t mean to lose you in my train of thought but I find it difficult to pinpoint where the problem lies. I thought the school systems but quickly realized that the school systems are reacting to the pressures from the medical systems which are likely reacting to the cultural systems and decided that I don’t know where the problem originates but I do know that it bugs the dog out of me and so I am presenting today.
The problem I am talking about is shot records. Or lack of shot records. Specifically, Varicella records. Varicella is an immunization that helps prevent Chickenpox. For years I have given the dates that my children actually had the disease and that was good enough. Within the last three weeks I have two different children trying to get into colleges in different states and one registering for church camp. All three entities have denied the statement “I have had the chickenpox” and said that the word of the parent is no longer accepted as part of the shot record.
At the Doc in a Box, place where we went to get TB tests, they were upset that the younger kids did not have the shots. I said, “They had Chickenpox when they were little.” The nurse told me that they needed shots. I argued and refused to get the shots. I refused for two reasons: One, I don’t think they need the shot if they have had the disease and Two, it irritates me to no end that a parent’s word is no longer acceptable. I am the mother and I even know the dates they had the pox. Not good enough, I am to obtain a piece of paper which is to be believed. I tried some rhetoric on them and said that a paper was not as reliable as a parent’s word. Either way, I was marked deficient in some way.
In a different scenario my 28 year old texted and needed to know the exact dates he had chickenpox because it is not on his shot record. I said, “I know. It was not invented back then so you had the pox instead of a shot.” He sighed and said, “Mom, they need some kind of record.”
I was upset so I looked it up. The varicella vaccine was not commercially available until 1984 and NOT available in the US until 1995. So, all five of my first pups should not have to have any kind of proof other than their MOTHER’S word because the vaccine was not even available. The next three did have one dose each and then number six came home from school with the pox and gave it to numbers seven and eight in short order. Hence, this THINKING mother did not obtain a second varicella shot for these last three pups! They had the POX!
Now, NOW, they are saying that they should have had the shots and I have to produce a record or they will not be accepted into college or church camp! This does not make sense to me. All of my children have pages – that’s right pages – of dates with immunizations but because they had the pox they are out of compliance with the rules.
Here is my beef. If my word was good enough all of those years for them to attend public schools, why has it suddenly changed? Why tell my 28 year old (born in ‘89) that if he was not born before 1980 that having the pox does not count when it was not available in the US until 1995 (Wikipedia)? For 12 public school years, my word was good enough. Why make the mother’s feel as if they haven’t done all they can to keep their kids safe? AND what about all the kids we let into the school system these days who have absolutely NO shot records because their parents protest all immunizations? How do they get into college and church camp?
I say this nearly every article and I will say it again: What has happened to common sense?
The second incomprehensible thing that has happened is that while shopping at Walmart last week I passed a man with a small child in his buggy, in the produce section. When I wheeled over to the condiments row I saw him there as well, talking to his child. He picked up a jar of pickles, popped the sealed lid open, reached in and pulled one out. He popped the whole pickle into his mouth, licked his fingers, and screwed the lid back on. I thought – as you are thinking – that he would put it into his basket but he did NOT. He opened another jar, tasted, licked, and sat it back on the shelf. As the third jar popped open I left the row and went to find a Walmart employee. Nothing happened. No one was concerned.
I just wonder if that man had had his Varicella shots or are we all exposed?