Sunday, 14 September 2008

Decisions, decisions!

I phoned a Helpline to ask questions about the HPV vaccine on Friday, and I didn't really get any answers. All I got was the feeling that someone is getting paid handsomely somewhere to convince more people to have the jab, and I am not so easily convinced.

The EFG has had an illness when she was about 5, going on 6, called Henoch-Schonlein Purpura. It is a kind of vasculitis where blotches appear on the arms and legs, which, when pressed with a glass, do not go away. This is a serious illness, and she saw a consultant at our local hospital about it. Kidneys are also affected, and all sorts of other weird symptoms which are hard to explain to a 5/6 year old - her ankle swelled up, she had a lot of stomach ache, she was tired a lot and we had to keep getting her urine checked - for weeks afterwards. The other distressing thing for her was that just when one lot of the blotches had faded, a new batch would appear. Now, we do not know categorically what caused HSP in the EFG but she had had an amalgam filling shortly before, and there are some studies which link the two - although I admit that there are plenty which don't. The point is that we just don't know, and since we understand that if it happens again, it may affect her in a more serious way, we obviously want to avoid that. SO, I asked about contra-indications and whether this vaccine was OK to give to children who have had HSP, and they really didn't know. I was advised to go and look on the internet!!!!!!! The only slightly useful thing that I was told was that in children who have had an auto-immune disease, the vaccine may not provide as good protection as it does in other children.

That leaves me with weighing up the situation for myself - do I allow her to have the vaccine, knowing that the protection it gives may not be worth the risk, and there are other risks as well as those posed by HSP. Or do I not allow the vaccine, and pray hard that she never succumbs to the 2 kinds of cervical cancer from which it might have protected her (bearing in mind that there are a lot more than 2 kinds, and she may still fall prey to one of the others even if she had the vaccine)?

I asked about getting the vaccine later, as I also think that it is not necessary to give the EFG the vaccine right now, but apparently GPs are not going to be able to give this vaccine, and should we want to buy it privately, it will cost upwards of £400. The person I spoke to seemed to think that 6 years' of work on this vaccine was enough, and it is safe and we should just toe the line and do it. If you know me, you know I am not like that! I always ask questions, and even then, we often don't "do" whatever it is that we are supposed to do. I am definitely not a herd animal. We didn't do MMR and I don't think that we will do this.......but I am not sure....

Aprt from that, we had another birthday celebration at church this morning, for a seven-year old, to whom we gave the "bumps" - she just squealed with delight and said, "Again!!". The FH has taken the FGs out for the afternoon, visiting relatives and a local show. They'll be back in time for tea. I have had an hour watching a DVD of a favourite TV show from a few years ago, and now I am going to continue to tidy my room - there are clothes all over the bed so the FH will complain if he can't get in there tonight. I am having a bit of a clear out as well so there are a few bin bags up there - one for the rubbish and one for the donations for the charity shop.

I have finished the week in skirts, and even rode my bicycle to church this morning wearing one, although the EFG warned me at one stage that it looked as if it was going to get caught in the wheel. It is a beautiful day here again and the washing is blowing on the line so there will be freshly-smelling laundry to iron tonight - I love the smell of line-dried laundry!

No comments: