Emily had her four year checkup recently. This was our first well visit with the new pediatrician. I was curious to see how the pediatrician would handle my concerns about some of the immunizations that Emily was supposed to get. So far everyone at this practice has been great, but when it comes to immunizations, you just never know how a doctor will react. I wasn't sure if I was in for a fight.
Emily was supposed to get 4 immunizations: Varicella, DTaP, MMR and IPV. My concern with the immunizations stems back to the last time she got these 4 at once. She got a really bad rash and had a pretty rough time for about 2 weeks afterwards. I think the main culprit was Varicella, but since she got all 4 at once, it is hard to be certain. My other concern was about the DTaP vaccine. Emily has never received the full vaccine. Her old pediatrician and I originally had concerns about the Pertussis component causing seizures for her and didn't want to take that risk. So she has always received DT and I wanted to make sure the new pediatrician was aware of that.
The appointment didn't start out great. The nurse didn't quite know what to do with us. When she called our name and we came around the corner, she looked at Emily like "how on earth am I going to do this?". As she walked us to our room, she kept looking back at Emily with a very confused look on her face. It really warms a Mom's heart to have someone look at your child like that. We got to the room and she asked if Emily could stand at all. I told her No and she said she wasn't sure how to get her weight and height. She said she would check with the doctor. She asked a bunch of family history questions and then started to leave, but then said "Oh, well I guess I can take her blood pressure". Don't get me wrong, she wasn't mean in any way. She just seemed thoroughly confused. I am guessing that she has a routine for these appointments and we just didn't fit into the usual mold. She just didn't seem to know what to do with herself.
The doctor came in and started gushing over Emily (doesn't every Mom love when that happens?). He could not believe how much she had grown and said she looked great. He talked about all of the other appointments we have had and asked how things were going. He asked how Emily usually gets weighed at Children's. I told him they have a scale that allows us to push her wheelchair on it. He thought that was pretty cool, but of course they don't have one in his office. So he said you must weigh yourself and then hold her and subtract your weight to get hers. Exactly! He did his exam first. He was so good about working around Emily. He did a few things in her chair, then listened to her back when I was holding her and then finished his exam with her laying on the table. When it was time to get weighed, he asked if Emily would mind if he held her. I said no, figuring he would hold her while I weighed myself. I was wrong. He said that he would weigh himself and then the two of them together. I would have never expected that. That act alone would give him a doctor of the year award in my book!
We talked about the immunizations and I told him about the concerns that I had. When I told him about Emily's previous reaction, he said it sounded like a reaction to Varicella. He was really good about the whole thing. He was willing to do just one vaccine that day if that made me feel comfortable. His office did not have the DT vaccination, so we were definitely going to skip that one. As for Varicella, he said we could do some bloodwork to determine if Emily had the antibodies in her system. He said a certain percentage of people have the antibodies after the first vaccination. If Emily was one of them, we would not have to do a repeat shot. I was all for that! So we just did MMR and IPV. Emily was such a trooper about the whole thing. She jumped when she got stuck with the needles, but that was it. She didn't cry at all. She is so strong!
The other thing the doctor asked about was a flu vaccine. I told him that Emily received the shot last year and then had a seizure for the first time in a year. So I had my reservations about repeating that vaccine. Since Emily has a seizure disorder, he didn't really seem concerned that the two were connected, but he also didn't make me feel like a crazy, paranoid mom, so I appreciated that. He said that she was definitely in a high risk group and her exposure to other kids didn't help matters. So he recommended that I get the shot. He didn't push the situation, but he wanted to make sure I understand his concerns. I told him that I would get the same "lecture" at an appointment coming up next month and that his concerns were duly noted. He seemed satisfied with that.
Emily was weighed and measured while we were there. I am not sure the measurements are entirely accurate, but they are close enough. She weighed 38 lbs (73rd percentile) and measured 42.5 inches (94th percentile). No wonder most people think I am lying when I say that she is only 4! We did also get the results of the bloodwork. Emily does show the Varicella antibodies in her system, so she does not have to get a second shot. As for the DT vaccine, we have to go to the health department for that. He told me to wait at least 4 weeks to do that. I had to give a new immunization certificate to her school and figured I would get some questions about the 2 we skipped, but so far, no one has voiced any concerns. I am just thankful that our girl continues to grow and thrive.
Here is a video of Emily giggling on her birthday. She has a very ticklish back and seems to get "paralyzed" with her arms like you see here. It is pretty comical. Enjoy!