Thursday, December 18, 2008


The clinical requirements for my school include rigorous documentation of immunizations for students. Unfortunately I was not able to locate my childhood shot record, leaving me in a tough position.

I've alluded to the fact that I'm against wanton immunization of the population. I believe immunizations are often ineffective, riddled with more risks than benefits, and downright dangerous in some instances. I had planned to write a post detailing my position. I got out all my primary research sources supporting my position. I was going to be intellectually eloquent. I was going to present you with factual information that you've probably never seen before. I was going to expose the myths and lies that the drug companies want you to believe so they can keep selling vaccines. I was going to explain the physiology and show why with our current environment, diets, and lifestyles, vaccinations are about the worst possible thing to force on our sympathetically overdriven bodies.

But then I took a step back. I realized that here I am, hat in hand, begging to be allowed into the nursing profession. At a time when my profession has little regard for my well-being and success, I'm asking you all to take me in, teach me to be a nurse, and then give me a job so that I can support my family. This is a last ditch effort for me, and I'm going to be arrogant and haughty? I don't think so. Maybe the person I was 5 years ago could be ok with being that way, but not anymore.

So, because you didn't ask, I'm going to spare you my personal beliefs and diatribes. I'll leave it as I have personal feelings about vaccines and I am having a hard time complying with the requirements.

This morning I travelled to the local Texas Department of Health office and got vaccinated. I don't have a primary care provider because I haven't needed one since I moved to Texas in 1994--I simply don't get ill enough to go to the doctor. The UTA Student Health clinic doesn't carry the MMR vaccine, so I had to find other options. I needed the Hep B, MMR, and TDaP. I've had two full 3 shot courses of Hep B and still show a negative titer, but I was told the CDC only says to keep administering the vaccine until a positive titer is obtained. My MMR titer was negative even though I had the 2 shot series as a child. And I haven't had a pertussis or tetanus/diptheria for more than 15 years.

My experience at the health dept was interesting. It was not unpleasant, but I do have two observations.

First, I was required to sign paperwork stating that I had been advised of the potential risks and complications of vaccines. I also had to sign a statement stating that I had been given the opportunity to ask questions, and that I was satisfied with the answers I received. Thirdly, I had to sign a statement stating that I had been given a copy of the state privacy practices and they were explained to my satisfaction. Unfortunately NONE of the above was true. It had not happened, and did not happen at any time during my visit. The clinic was not busy. They were not pressed for time. So much for informed consent. My guess is that it has something to do with the demographics of the population normally seen at that clinic. Unfortunately, that particular segment of the public is the MOST in need of informed consent. Disappointing, and probably illegal.

Secondly, the local WIC office shared a lobby with the public clinic. About half the people in the lobby were there to apply for or be counseled on WIC. I think WIC is a great program, and I'm positive it helps untold number of children to be fed. I like that WIC attempts to only provide healthful foods. My observation here was the number of people there to receive WIC that pulled up in Mercedes, BMW's and Acura's. I saw two each BMW's and Mercedes, and one Acura--all late model body styles. Interesting.

After being stuck, they wanted me to wait in the lobby for 15 minutes to be certain I didn't have a "serious reaction to one or more of the vaccines." What a serious reaction might look like, I'll never know. I wasn't counseled on that, or on any after care instructions for my vaccine sites.

I did get a very nice Bugs Bunny band-aid though.


  1. yeah, I've had to learn to suck it up often myself, bottle my opinions and toss them. As I've often said through some of my old struggles, "dance the dance". Sorry you had to, too.

    About the mercedes etc? My dad owned a meat shop in a very poor area. Most of his customers had food stamps, and drove up in cadillacs etc. This was quite the conundrum. I've since learned that these folks can't "own" a car or they won't get the freebies (food, housing etc)so many, monthly Lease cars. There is no giant downpayment or $ commitment. There are very few dealerships that will do this, usually just the high end ones. Often all the extended family will pay for the monthly payment, and that one car will do all the shopping, job hunting etc.

    I can't say that's the same story for those folks, but I thought I'd let you know what I learned.

  2. Thanks Heather. Very interesting about the cars. Learn something new every day.

  3. I'm aware of the generalities of the teachings of chiropractic related to vaccination. Interestingly, my sister was an RN before going to Chiropractic school, so she had a similar but opposite reaction: she couldn't buy what chiropractic was selling.

    Her non-western-medicine-schooled husband tends to lean toward the views of chiropractic on this issue... fortunately they don't have children yet so it hasn't become a bone of contention so far.

    I'm sorry you had to compromise your beliefs to further your goal of becoming an RN. I'm also sorry you didn't have the experience you deserved.

    On the bright side, you can file this experience under "what not to do as a nurse" for the future.

    I'm sure there is, in that clinic, a phenomenon of altering standards of care to cater to the majority demographic. Lack of informed consent, not inviting questions, and non-provision of follow-up instruction are indeed illegal. The fact that 95% of a clinic's clientele doesn't give a crap is no excuse.

    I'm curious; did you actively solicit information? It's hard for me to believe that any healthcare provider would ignore a direct question or request.

    My hope for the future of healthcare is for patients to become active participants in their own healthcare experience. Not all nurses (or doctors) agree, however: it takes away from their beloved sense of power and control. Admittedly, it can be frustrating at times when patients are "internet-educated." It takes time and patience, but I'd rather patients have accurate information than end up medical martyrs.

    It's an unfortunate reality that insurance (or lack thereof), a litigious society, poor salaries, and steadily worsening understaffing issues have begun to create a "fast-food environment" in healthcare.

    And really, who ever returns a Big Mac?

    (stepping down from my soapbox now)

    Oh, and I'm not calling you a "medical martyr!" You have a long way to go before you're there :) But I've seen many of them, and not a one is actively engaged in their healthcare.

  4. MIS--Interesting indeed. I had a very medical point of view on vaccines before going to chiro school. My oldest daughter is fully vaccinated. I didn't buy into what they tried to spoon feed us at chiro school, and so I did my own research. It took me over a year to come to a conclusion, I would estimate I have several hundred hours of reading everything I could get my hands on about vaccines, the human immune system, epidemiology, and the process of developing drugs. Much of what they teach about vaccines in chiro school is just as misinformed as western medicine (IMHO). It's emotional rants based on research that's no longer pertinent.

    It's a valid point too that you make about me not requesting the said items. In my case, it's not a big deal, I well aware of the risks of what I had put in my body today. And I definitely agree with you about the educated and empowered patient. In an ideal world all patients would take an active role and actually participate in their health care. I also agree that this threatens many MD's who aren't used to being questioned. As a chiropractor I am routinely asked questions that people tell me they are afraid to bring up with their MD.

    But back to the issue at hand--in the health department, again I think the segment of the population most likely to seek care is also the segment least likely to be well-educated and informed.

    I hope I didn't come across as complaining, or accusing. That wasn't my point at all--I really was just making observations. I understand the challenges that face health care and health care workers today, and unfortunately I don't know that I have any earth shattering solutions.

    And finally, I hope I didn't sound like I was 'taking one for the team'. Nothing could be further from the truth. This post was about humility. For me.

  5. Not at all, Drofen! You didn't sound accusatory or complaining. I figured you were just observing. I got the humility vibe!

    I just like to wax idealistic about is a flawed system, but there's worse out there.

    I'm really glad to hear you did extensive research before swallowing "spoon-fed" information. We definitely think alike!! You'll be an excellent nurse.

  6. It made me sad to read you had to toss your beliefs aside all for the sake of helping your family. You are a strong man and I admire you for doing what you did. You've been on my mind lately. I hope that all is well and that little Drofen is not keeping you both up too late at night. :)

  7. If you're going to become a nurse and enter the bowels of the evil medical establishment you pobably leave yourself little choice. At least you're aware that vaccination is not in the interest of the INDIVIDUAL. It's a good start.

  8. I guess things have changed somewhat since I went to nursing school over 10 years ago. We had the "opt out" option- if there was some major medical contraindication or religious belief.

    I personally am on the fence about vaccinations, but when I do have children will have them vaccinated because its hard to ignore how infectious disease is no longer the number one killer of Americans since the advent of universal immunization.

  9. Christy--thanks for your thoughts, we appreciate it. Baby Drofen is doing super well. As of this morning he's back to his birth weight--he's gained 6.5oz just since Monday, haha!

    Prince Centraxis--One of the biggest revelations that helped order the chaotic and seemingly conflicting mess of research about vaccines was that the word "health" has many definitions. Most of the pro-vaccine research defines health as the absence of the disease in question. Nothing could be further from the truth IMHO. It's a self-serving point of view--it makes their research look conclusive. Of course there is a reduction in the disease with vaccination, but at what cost? Even the WHO defines health as "not merely the absence of disease, but..."

    The other revelation that freaked me out a little bit is discovering who exactly runs the CDC (who makes up the vaccine schedules,) and what the chain of command is within that organization...very scary when you know the truth.

    Labor Nurse--I tried to concientiously object to the vaccines, but the nursing school administration was adamant that the vaccines were required. The only exception would be if I were pregnant. Honestly, I'm just not ready to make history like that...

    Thank you everyone for your comments, I truly appreciate the civilized discussion.