I laugh that I can keep up with the world by simply looking at my friends’ Facebook status updates. A few recent favorites include “Jeff intercepted a memo reminding Delhomme that he plays for the Panthers” and “Megan is beginning week 3 of (f)unemployment.”
Today, I noticed probably 8 updates about the H1N1 vaccine. They ranged from the funny (Jack SAYS GET VACCINATED DAMMIT) to the mundane (Rebecca is going to her 24 week OB appt and getting her H1N1 shot). It is the latter which really upset me. I am upset because, within 20 minutes, she had 4 nasty comments from people berating her for putting her child at risk, implying that she’s a bad mother, and then it quickly spiraled into a discussion about vaccinating children. No, discussion is not the term. Virtual flogging is probably more appropriate. It was cruel and I can’t imagine how she felt coming home from her appointment to read that.
Then I thought about some of the reactions I’ve had from people without RA to the medications I’ve taken. My favorite was when someone asked me what I took and then, in front of people, shook his head and said “poisons!”
To medicate or not to medicate: that is the loaded rheumatoid arthritis question. And a very personal one at that.
I will be the first to say that I’ve been on some pretty hardcore medication for over 3 years. I have also tried going med free and using alternatives. At the end of the day, I simply have more success on the medication.
Do I read RA blogs that advocate little to no medication? Yes. Do I find value in them? Absolutely. To be completely honest, I’m quite jealous of people who are successfully med free. But after reading the research on the long term effects of uncontrolled rheumatoid arthritis (uncontrolled by meds OR uncontrolled by alternatives), I have decided that, for me and me alone, I need to take the medication and supplement with alternatives.
Same concept with the H1N1 vaccine. For me (and obviously for my friend), benefits outweigh risks. I’m not telling anyone what to do (although I have made the blanket statement at work that anyone who doesn’t get the vaccine, comes to work sick and gives it to me, if it kills me, I will come back and haunt you. Poltergeist style. I say this even though I am getting it. I just have luck like that.)
I will say that I think everyone in the at risk groups should seriously consider getting the H1N1 vaccine. That’s my opinion. Doesn’t mean it’s right. If you choose not to, that’s your decision and I respect that we are all different people.
But, at the risk of hateful comments, I ask that you make an informed decision. That’s all. RA Guy has some great links explaining more.