I woke up Saturday morning covered in pink spots, today they've clustered on the (ahem) more generous parts of my body and turned an angry shade of red. I changed all the bedding in all the bedroom, but the rash (I like to say it with a French accent like Collette in Ratatouille - "You have a rrhash?") seemed more internally formed - like the itching was a kind of burning along my nerve endings, not an external irritant. The doc on the phone (not my regular doctor, nor the doctor - again, not my own - who prescribed me Amoxicillin for the strep throat I believe I picked up in my daughter's doctor's office - got all that?) said it was probably an allergic reaction to the antibiotic. Now the repulsion I had to choking down the pills for the last nine days made sense. Now I'm sleeping a lot and drinking detox tea and feeling poisoned. Oh Western medicine, you let me down again. How right the nurse had sounded when she suggested warm salt water gargles - "It will kill all the bacteria down in your throat and ease the pain."
With all this complaining, I do now feel the need to share with you "Anatomy of a Scare" from the March 2 Newsweek. Sharon Begley's well-researched history of the supposed autism-vaccine link concludes with this indictment:
"It is bad enough that the vaccine-autism scare has undermined one of the greatest successes of preventative medicine and terrified many new parents. Most tragic of all, it has diverted attention and millions of dollars away from finding the true causes and treatments of a cruel disease."
Most horrifying to me is the reality that frightened and poorly-informed parents are putting their children at risk by denying or delaying childhood vaccinations. Begley writes, "The number of measles cases in the United States reached 131 in 2008, the highest in decades. Last month five children in Minnesota became infected with Hib. Four developed serious complications; the fifth child died."