Today I welcome a wonderful guest post from Courtney of FoodMedicineChildren.com. Have you ever stopped to think how you, a natural minded mama, would handle a trip to the emergency room with your wee one? Read on for an enlightening story…
When I was a young mama with a small family, how to handle the hospitalization of one of my children was not something I ever really considered to be a possibility. It wasn’t that I was a complete stranger to hospitals, or opposed to life saving medical intervention. What to expect during the hospitalization of one of our children just wasn’t on my radar. That all changed the night one of our children went into unexplainable respiratory distress. Up until that evening this child had never even wheezed during a respiratory illness. I could tell she wasn’t doing well from my own health history, I knew this reaction well. This was not the time for lobelia, sea salt and bio-allergy remedies, it was the time for oxygen and drugs. I quickly rounded up some really basic supplies like pure water, some healthy snacks, natural health essentials and headed out to the small country hospital 40 min away.
When you first arrive at a hospital your full on 100% family emergency becomes a run of the mill emergency. You meet up with a staff that routinely deals with situations like yours and much worse. Long before you will see a doctor you go through hoops. If you drive yourself you may encounter an unconcerned slow intake process during which you are tempted to panic. Be prepared that the questions about vaccines, insurance and lastly why are you here again will all be covered; and most likely in that order.
When you enter that system they are thinking worst case scenario and have a huge range of options for dealing with your child. To navigate it all and only receive the minimum amount of intervention to get your child stable, you need to remain calm. This may seem obvious, but it is bit of a challenge considering the environment you are in. The more natural minded you are, the stronger your convictions are, the more challenging the experience will be. If you are a person who is drawn to evidence based care and minimal intervention you need to be on guard, of your tongue! You may be temped to talk to them about your different health cornerstone and over share, I caution you not to do that. The fields of emergency and pediatric care are the least touched by progress in regard to alternative approaches to health. Essentially you have entered a new land where there is totally different culture from your own “green” home culture and you need to be as discreet and aware of those differences as possible to have a peaceful experience.
If you have ever had the pleasure of visiting in a foreign country outside of a packaged resort there is an edict that you don’t go about your travels trying to influence their culture with your own views. If you did it may offend them and cause a deep misunderstanding. In a way the same is true for a natural minded family in a hospital. These folks have spent a lot of time in their fields and worked hard at their training. Our lifestyles and the health enhancing value of how we live doesn’t even register in their mindset or with their experience. They are used to seeing sick people, prescribing drugs, monitoring vitals and observing changes in a patients condition. You may have the rare blessing of getting a nurse or doctor who knows about natural living and can in some small way at least acknowledge its merits. Most often you will be in agreement about the healthy foods, you’ll loose them at the vaccines issue.
For the most part you need to be prepared for being in a foreign land, where no one understands your language.
I urge you to specifically know your states vaccine exemption laws. You may live in a state where things are tighter than you realize within your personal community of mama’s and babies. For example I live in New York where we only have religious and medical exemption to vaccines. The ground I stand on is very restricted in comparison to a state where philosophical exemptions are allowed. I know this and communicate appropriately, I encourage you to do the same. In a hospital setting your child not having vaccines will always be looked at as the reason why they should be thinking the worst!
This will cause them to ask questions or suggest certain procedures that you know are not required. Many hospital do have it within the Patients Rights statement that you sign coming in that you have the right to refuse recommendations and choose what you will agree to while in their care.You might find yourself having to decide to do certain things just so as not to raise too many red flags and opt for the lesser of the evils presented to you. That my friends is another post entirely! Back to the matter of vaccine status.
Remember the people you will be encountering in the hospital really believe in vaccines as a the standard foundation for medical care and disease prevention. This is dear reader is the place where I feel my words can serve you the most. This is the issue that has the most potential to cause you major stress and possibly cause you to overreact. Guard against it, stand firm. That judgement you are feeling, the questions that are being asked are nothing personal. They are standard reactions coming from a health mindset that they were taught in nursing/medical school. Even though the communication may feel combative towards you personally, it’s not. That’s not to say it’s easy to deal with or not combative, just that it has little to do with you personally. So you must remain grounded and know how to hold your ground without fear.
Easier said than done! If this is hitting home to you, you may need a natural health mindset tune up! You might want to do some E.F.T. (Emotional Freedom Technique) to take down the emotional charge you feel about this issue. Rescue Remedy is a personal favorite, practice role playing with a supportive person in your life or simply talk to yourself in the mirror, whatever you have to do to get comfortable responding to questions about vaccines without emotion.
If your family does any sort of program you may have had to fill out some sort of vaccine exemption form already. When I fill mine out I always use this phrase “Our family claims our right for a religious exemption in regard to vaccinations.” This is empowered language that informs whoever is receiving this letter that I know our right to refuse vaccination.Even though they may have their strongly held opinions about vaccines, or may not agree with our choice we are still within our rights to make this decision. When you encounter situation like the ER or doctors remain grounded in your rights. When you are asked “Is your child up to date on all their vaccines? The response “Oh no, we don’t believe in those.” or something to that effect sounds extremely alarming to a medical professional. The statement “Our family claims our right for a religious exemption in regard to vaccinations.No,they are not .” I’m certain is still met with judgement, but the tone of my statement communicates that I’ve done my research and know my rights.You certainly don’t have to use those words, just keep it as business like as possible. Stand firm in direct communication and answer the vaccine questions with a laser focus, embrace the silence and know that this moment will pass, it’s nothing personal, soon you will see a doctor.
Keep in mind that while it is possible that your child may have contracted some sort of condition that there is a vaccine for, it’s also possible that they could have gotten said disease even if they were vaccinated.
In my case it had nothing to do with a vaccine preventable disease so when they would make the statement ” Because she has no vaccines ….” I would kindly direct them back to dealing with the matter at hand. Which was getting my child’s condition stabilized.
Hopefully you will never need this information I just shared!
In the case that you do and your child’s condition doesn’t improve while in the ER, they be admitted. Then you’ll have to navigate the mindset of the pediatric nurses and doctors during your hospital stay. There are many noteworthy strategies for that coping with that situation as well and I look,forward to sharing them with you in upcoming posts.
About The Author
Courtney Sullivan is a natural health strategist and founder of FoodMedicineChildren.com, a site dedicated to helping people connect with the story of clean food, natural health solutions and raising healthy children.
Courtney shares tips from the farmhouse kitchen and the fields of the family’s sustainable farm that make clean eating and non-toxic healthy living easier to navigate. She lives with her husband and six beautiful children on Humble Hill Farm, their 170-acre sustainable farm located just south of Ithaca, New York. Aside from feeding people, the farm was founded to be a resource for people to reconnect with where food actually comes from, see what it takes to grow it and to experience cooking & consuming it on the farm at the Farm Stay.
Here is where you can find Courtney!
- Blog: http://www.foodmedicinechildren.com
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