Call it paranoia, but contemplating whether or not to get the seasonal flu shot felt like a life or death decision to me. I’m paranoid one way or the other. Do I get the flu shot and risk being the second-in-a-million case who comes down with Dystonia? Am I injecting myself with a virus that will not only make me sick, but come back to haunt me later? Or, do I take my doctor’s advice (and that of nearly everyone I know) and just go for it, avoiding a potentially fatal case of the flu for both me and my baby?
The last time I had the flu was 1999. It was gnarly, man. I’ll spare you the details, but let’s just say there were accidents over which I had no control. But that was ten years ago, and to this date, I’ve rarely puked from anything besides an overindulgence in booze, or the bad clams I recently had in Santa Fe. And, I’ve never even had a flu shot.
But now that I’m pregnant, and there’s so much hype about pregnant women being one of the highest at-risk groups, I’m all freaked out. I’m a victim of the media’s conspiracy with the CDC and the pharmaceutical industry…or something like that. I’ve been considering actually getting innoculated. Totally not my style, but there’s that whole “Do the risks outweigh the benefits, or do the benefits outweigh the risks” question. Well, my work was giving the shot out for free today, and it’s not like me to pass up a bargain, so, after a ridiculous amount of deliberation, I finally went down to get the shot. So far, nothing has happened…
Now, a new struggle begins. Swine flu, a.k.a. H1N1 2009. The risks of developing Guillain-Barre syndrome is roughly 1 in 100,000. That’s down from 2 in 100,000 from 1976. I know it doesn’t seem like much, but there’s still a risk.
But, do the risks outweigh the benefits? What if the baby comes out looking like this little guy?