I am angry.
There, I said it. I am absolutely, violently, irritatingly, frustratingly, punch-someone-in-the-face angry.
Because it's hard to be a parent. It's hard to make the right decisions, all the time. It's hard to know who to trust when, what advice to take, how to best care for your kid.
I'm mostly whining tonight because a week ago, when I had Zoe at her pediatrician's office for a standard ear infection, I said to her doctor, "Oh, and I want to get her the flu shot."
Flu shot. Shot. That's what I said.
I'm not a huge fan of flu shots, overall. The only time I ever got one, I got the flu about a month later, because that was the year they vaccinated against the absolute wrong strains of flu.
Since I never had the flu before or since (at least not since I was ten), I haven't gotten another.
But then...I didn't get Zoe one last year, and I didn't like the livin' on the edge feel of last winter. Flu did come to her school, and it did make it to her class, and there was nothing I could do to stop it. So we just had to wait it out, see if she caught it, and even though she luckily didn't, I felt less willing to take the chance again this winter.
So I asked for the shot. The shot.
And her pediatrician, who has known her since she was born, has seen her through countless bouts of terrible coughs and even one bout of pneumonia, said, "Oh, why not get the mist? That way she doesn't need a shot."
And I didn't even ask. I just said, upon hearing his advice, "Great idea, let's do it."
My mistake. You hear me? Totally my mistake. Had I done even an ounce of research on Flu Mist, I'd have seen two items, and I'd never have let it near her nose.
1. It is a live-virus; and
2. One reported side effect in children is a bad cough.
Bad cough? Yeah, that's putting it lightly.
A week later, my child has been through two days of fever and the worst cough she's ever had - it's even worse than when she had pneumonia. She sounds like she's been smoking for 50 years. She sounds like my Nana did when she reached the advanced stages of emphysema.
Yeah. It's that bad. None of us have had a good night's sleep in a week. We've been through one round of STEROIDS, which are extreme measures for a kid. She's sitting next to me, at 11:00 at night, having her fourth breathing treatment of the day. This cough has shown no signs of giving up its grip on her little lungs.
So tomorrow, we'll take her back to the same pediatrician we saw last week. She needs to be seen again, and I want him to see what his one thoughtless piece of advice caused. Because my child is miserable, and when she's miserable, so am I. And I want him to fix this.
But you know what can't be easily fixed?
The lives of victims of child abuse, especially abuse like that alleged in the case of Jerry Sandusky. Those kids that he allegedly abused? Yeah, they will never be the same.
And that is shameful. There were people who could have stopped him, allegedly. And they didn't, allegedly.
(I say allegedly very pointedly because this IS America, after all, where you ARE innocent until proven guilty. And I just want us all to remember that...because this case? It's the stuff of a bad Lifetime movie. The allegations are bad enough that they made Charles turn off the news tonight. It can't all be true....or can it?)
Anyway, the parents of those boys? They made a choice, and they trusted someone to care for their boys, to lead them, to teach them.
There was no obvious reason for them not to make that choice. And now their boys have been irreparably damaged by an alleged monster.
It's hard to be a parent. I don't envy those parents their guilt, and my heart is breaking for all of them. And their sons.