Shot in the Dark

Before I left for Québec last week, R got fairly sick.

Now, I’m not talking “rush him to the hospital STAT!” level of sick – he was more snotty than usual, and whiny, and coughing, and running a mid-grade fever.  But, of course, this was the last thing that we needed before I was going abroad for a week, and since I was at home (ie, the Monster was at therapy downtown), it was delegated to me to go take R to the doctor.

Fortunately, it turned out to be minor, but looked worse because it was two things colliding – he had a cold, coupled with an ear infection that was spiking his fever.  But because he’s three, he can’t really accurately communicate what’s bothering him, and so it was touch and feel, and the doctor was quizzing me on what the symptoms were.

Humor, in this case, is that on the list of the symptoms was, “Has he had a rash?”

“Are you asking me if he has Measles?” I asked, a little bit incredulously.  (I also pointed out that no one he knows has come down with it, and there haven’t been any reported local cases.)

Of course, she emphasized, she wasn’t asking about the measles.  But it got us back into talking about vaccination… which leads me to stuff going on on-line.

Now, I’ve hashed it out here time after time after time.  We’re pro-vax as a family.  All of us are up to date – even R and the Monster – save perhaps for the fact that we’ve been a little… delinquent on getting the boys their flu shots.  (I’ll own up to it being laziness rather than a reluctance to get them caught up.  And R’s had his now that he’s healthier.)  The practice that sees our kids is very pro-vax – they share a lot of the same pro-vax memes as us on Facebook – and knows we’re also intelligent and reasonable about the limits of vaccination, such as the fact that no vaccine is foolproof.  (Ergo why I’d been concerned if she was asking about measles.)  A little understanding of science and recognizing where we’re out of our depth goes a long way.

But what I’m watching on my Facebook and Twitter feeds are folks really battling it out about pro-vs-anti.  Even in groups that are normally calm and quiet, where we can discuss things rationally, it’s suddenly cropping up as a hot-button issue, on par with politics, sexuality and religion.

I’m of two minds, when these things come up of late:

  • People are going to hear what they want to hear.  I’ve yet to see anything anti-vax that would sway me to come over to their position (least of which is the average anti-vax poster being unable to spell properly).  And yet, I have to imagine that if I were anti-vax, none of the arguments on the pro-vax side really would sway me either, since our side keeps hammering down on the “if you don’t vax, you’re stupid” bit.
  • Most people aren’t coming online to be swayed – we’re coming online to influence others. Let’s be honest – even my Tweet feeds are more for me to promote myself, my beliefs and what I’m doing at any moment.  They’re not generally invitations for folks to challenge my views. 🙂  (I do like to think that, at least where the blog and its twitter feed are concerned, most of my tweets are relatively inoffensive and hardly pushy.)

But what I am certain on is that it’s not productive for the groups I’m in at all.  Online has a great potential for supporting one another in various ways – whether we’re talking the local Autism Parents FB group that I belong to, or the Dad Bloggers FB group that I mostly lurk in and laugh at/with.  Power struggles between groups hasn’t ever been productive in the slightest way to offer support to the members, especially when the members are largely (but not entirely) anonymous…

But that’s a post for another day.

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