This is my first post here. A friend recommended I check out these forums. I'm really needing help and support.
We made the decision a few years ago to not vaccinate. This decision paired our research along with our personal and religious beliefs. We are a healthy family, we have a good focus on nutrition, we are active. We aren't perfect but we try to live a healthy lifestyle.
I have 3 children, and my youngest is in the hospital fighting off an antibiotic resistant strain of bacterial strep pneumonia. We don't know yet if it is a vaccine-preventable strain or not. I know vaccines aren't guarantees of immunity, & I know that of the 27 strains of strep pneumo only 13 are vaccinated against so there is a chance that it wouldn't have been prevented by a vaccine anyway, but I'm still dealing with a lot of guilt and feeling in my gut that it was a strain that is vaccinated against.
We have been moved out of the PICU but we still aren't out of the woods yet. He has amazingly almost fully overcome Atypical HUS that was caused by the strep pneumo, & they are hopeful that they found an antibiotic that he is responding to. He's undergone surgery to place a chest tube to drain fluid around his lungs, a central line for i v access, and had catheters placed for dialysis he needed when he was still battling aHUS. He's had numerous blood transfusions and is black and blue from being poked everywhere. Today he had some fever spikes again, and this evening he had very bloody stool. We are waiting for him to go again so that they can send a sample to the lab.
I'm terrified that I'm not going to leave this hospital with him. I've never been so scared in my life. My husband is amazing and says he supports me and loves me no matter what and doesn't blame me, but I wonder if he'll still feel the same if there are lasting long term effects or he dies.
I'm presuming this is a safe place to post this without getting the "this is why you should have vaccinated" guilt trip. I have enough of that self-imposed guilt, and if I didn't already (which I already did) the Infectious Disease Specialist made sure to berate me in front of my mother about it already which was humiliating.
I'm not a super religious person, but my religious beliefs certainly played a role in my decision to not vaccinate. I am non-denominational Christian. I don't go to a church but I believe in God and take a holistic, spiritual approach to things. I have many friends of many different beliefs systems and I myself believe there are many different paths to the ultimate destination. I am so grateful for medical intervention when necessary and feel that sometimes God does work through medicine, but I felt that vaccinating an otherwise healthy kid and overusing our access to medical technology seemed disrespectful to God.
I've talked a little bit with a chaplain here at the hospital. Not having a church that I go to, I don't have a church community or pastor to turn to and am not looking for a new religion. My family is all pro-vaccine so while I know they aren't throwing it in my face right now, they still have their thoughts about it and are blaming me in some way (although many likely wouldn't have realized the non-vaccinated connection had the ID Specialist not yelled at me in front of my mother. . .when I hadn't even told her she could discuss personal medical info in front of her). I don't know of anyone else locally who doesn't vaccinate to connect with in person.
I'm not sure what to do with this guilt. I know I don't need to decide at this very moment, but of course I'll need to reevaluate whether or not we will do vaccines in the future. Right now I just want my son to get better. He keeps going back and forth. Sometimes I see glimpses of how he used to be- an occasional smile, or he'll say a word or two where he actually sounds like himself- but for the most part he just lounges around, whines, moans, and is obviously still very sick. I'm so scared that he is going to die or never be the same.