‘Refused’

“Refused the flu shot” is what was written in large, bold letters at the top of my daughter’s (I call her Beauty) medical record the other day.

We’ve been taking her to Cincinnati’s Children Hospital for her check-up evaluations and screenings. When the nurse called us back, and before weighing her, she asked if Beauty had the flu shot. I said no. She asked, “Do you want us to give her one?”. I said, “Um, no thanks”. It was while the nurse was measuring Beauty’s height that I glimpsed at her file and saw the nurse’s note.

Perhaps I am knit-picking, and I admit I have little trust in the pediatric medical field (at least in what I have use of them for-which is not an actual illness), but this note really rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe it was where I was freshly aggravated at reading those stories of parents losing their children because a hospital accused them of medical negligence.

Beauty is 10 and has never had the flu shot and has never had the flu. Children we know get the shot every fall and they also get the flu before “flu season” is up. I never get the flu shot. Our son, 4, has never had it. Hubs just got one, but that is because he accepted a position at the hospital-sponsored health club and had to. We are physically healthy. Beauty was enrolled in public school for one entire school year plus two months of another. Our family was the sickest during those months than we have ever been, though not with anything serious. Since I brought her back home, we have not been sick once all winter.

Honestly, a small note saying something like, “Flu shot offered. Parent opted out”, would have be sufficient. The large, black handwriting at the top of the form, and underlined, hit a nerve. When you also home school a special needs child, one learns to be wary, even if you do everything properly.

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