Via The Globe and Mail, an op-ed by Quebec columnist Mylene Moisan, translated by André Picard: We nearly lost our unvaccinated son to flu. This was supposed to happen to other people. After describing how her 5-year-old fell desperately ill, she writes:
All around us, in the seven other rooms of the intensive care unit, there was non-stop activity. It was quiet during the holidays, the calm before the storm. At least half of our big boy’s neighbours were intubated, the respirators whirring beside them.
All their stories similar to ours.
Each time I sat down in that blue leather chair, I wondered: “Where did that pneumonia come from? How did he get hit so hard, so fast?”
The doctors initially suspected a bacterium, then a virus. Which one? “Hard to say,” they answered. We figured we would never know.
The definitive diagnosis came Wednesday night: H1N1.
“Your son wasn’t vaccinated?”
We lowered our heads. Guilty as charged.
Yes, we had read about the flu in the paper, we had heard about it on TV. We got vaccinated in 2009. We told ourselves that would protect us.
What else was it we said? That only happens to others.
Well, this time it happened to our little guy. Next year, I swear, we’re all getting vaccinated.
So why am I telling you all this? Why would I annoy you with this little story which, after all, happens to countless others every day during flu season?
Because it doesn’t just happen to other people.