Thursday, April 13, 2006


Today I walked in to see a patient. There was a mom holding a baby to her discreetly covered breast, while her 3 year old daughter peeked over her shoulder.

"Sorry, we're nursing here," said the mom, and I assured her it didn't bother me in the least, it just might make me miss nursing. The older sister patted the baby and touched her head to his; it was absolutely precious.

Later, as I examined the dog, the little girl got a little worried that I was hurting her pet. I started my standard your-veterinarian-is-the-doctor-for-your-pets spiel. I picked up the otoscope and said, "I'm going to look in his ears. When you go to the doctor, do they look in your ears?"

"Actually," her mom said, "We're Christian Scientists. We don't take her to the doctor. The last time she saw one was when she got checked right after the midwife delivered me."

Hearing this sent an eerie chill right down my spine. I looked at these beautiful, precious children, and realized how vulnerable they were. Here I am vaccinating this canine, and these kids are susceptible to whooping cough, diphtheria, chicken pox, polio, etc. And I thought, what if they have an ear infection, don't you even take them in or give them advil?

I forcefully had to push these thoughts to the side so I could continue with the job I had to do with the little dog. I couldn't think about why the dog was getting regular medical care but not the children. Also, when I mentioned he needed a dental and an X-ray of his tooth with the root canal, the mom did say to the little girl, "...just like when you go to the dentist." So, dental care is OK, but not medical?

The mom seemed really neat, and so was her dog, but I just couldn't bond with her after that revelation. I thought, I wouldn't want her kids to go to my kids' school or play with them, because who knows what either party would be exposed to. When we live in a time and country with so much health care available, why would you risk your children's lives - but vaccinate your dog?


Leigh-Ann said...

I know there are some "conventional" parents who are opposed to vaccinations (my gf inadvertently attracted them to her blog one time... whoops!), but the total lack of *all* medical care seems so frightening.

If it helps, I did read that Christian Scientists aren't forbidden from seeking medical attention or taking medication. However, many of them prefer to "treat with prayer", as their belief system teaches that illnesses are illusions.

I'd hope that most parents would seek medical care for their sick child if and when the problem was beyond the scope of prayer. It might be easy to refuse medical attention for yourself, but I bet it's pretty hard to say "no" to Tylenol when you have a crying child with a horrible earache.

Aunty Norma said...

What a situation ,Jenn. that is quite you kept your reserve I do not know..I can usually 'get into another persons' shoes' but sorry not in this case..I know that Jehovahs Witnesses do not agree with blood transfusions (and to be fair they have been proved right in some cases) but little children NEED the care and guidance from their Parents in the medical matters,but when there is absolute forbiddance..this is the time to worry!!!xx

paula said...

Just doesn't make sense does it!!! The only time I was a bit hesitant to have Luke vaccinated was with the MMR due to all the shock horror stories doing the rounds in the press at time. Also, he has an egg/nut allergy and there was an slight risk of a reaction due to the MMR being derived from egg. We decided to go ahead with it anyway and he was fine. I can't imagine not feeling I could seek medical help if Luke needed it, children don't make these incredible decisions it's their parents and that I think is so unfair.

Bevie said...

That's pretty insaine!!!!!!!!! I definately agree with you Jenn, why not offer your child the best health possible by vaccinating them? I can't understand that reasoning.....hhmm.

Well, you did well under the awkward circumstances....=)And, at least they get their teeth clean...rotting teeth at the age of six is no good!


Emily said...

It's so strange. I've never understood that part of Christian Scientology.

But the irony that they get vaccinations for their dog and not their kids?!? I wonder how they rationalize that one.

Jess said...

Wow, I really liked this post. You are right, it is such an ironic situation. It is definitely a frightening thought. --- I know that it is important to be tolerant of other people, but I can't help but feel this there is some sort of unjustice taking place here. I feel like those children should be receiving the same medical care and attention that Anna and Colin receive regularly. It just doesn't seem fair.

Library Lady said...

Makes LOADS of sense. The dog can get medical care, but her kids can't?

I do want to know whether all those moms in my area who hold "chicken pox parties" are going to do the same if mumps starts making the rounds. Or are they finally going to realize that the risks from the diseases are far higher than the risks from the shots?

Scary stuff.....

Nio said...

I can understand not going to the doctor or filling your kids/self with medications, but I am an absoulte advocate for vaccinations. But like your other commenters, I can't understand this womyn's inconsistency. It seems almost hypocritical.

It makes me wonder if she believe that her dog has no soul. Because if, in her view, he doesn't, then it matters not if he goes to the vet.

People are weird, that's for sure.