It’s one of the hardest things as a parent to watch your child in pain. It’s even worse when you have to hold them down and put them through that pain.
My son was 2 months old, and it was time for his first set of vaccines. He was due to get 5 shots. That’s a lot.
Like most people, I hate shots. I’ve never gotten used to them, even though I got them pretty frequently. During high school and college, I used to travel overseas a lot on volunteer trips during the summers. Each year, I got a new set of shots to protect me from a host of deadly diseases, depending on what part of the the world I was traveling to.
As an adult, you try your best to be nonchalant. But I knew that those nurses could smell my fear. At least I knew the pain was for a reason.
Yet here I was, needing to subject my son to pain and a bit of trauma without him understanding why it was happening. I knew it would be fine, since he wouldn’t remember the experience. In fact, he would forget it ever happened 5 minutes later.
But the immediate experience is still emotionally difficult.
Yet I still did it because I trust people who are a whole lot smarter than me.
I Was a Pre-Med Major
But then I dropped out because it was too hard for me.
I started my freshman year of college as a pre-med major. From there, I had planned to continue on to med school and be a doctor.
Being Asian, my career choices were limited to doctor, lawyer, or computer engineer.
But I actually did want to be a doctor. My volunteer trips overseas had shown me the extreme need there was for doctors around the world. I wanted to work at a hospital in the US, then take trips to volunteer and train others.
So with passion and confidence, I started my biology and chemistry classes. That first semester was rough. I struggled to understand and remember all the concepts being taught. In study groups, I was clearly the weak link.
The semester came and went, and I barely scraped by with C- in both.
I wasn’t a bad student. I got straight A’s in all my high school science classes. I graduated with 3.8 GPA — not a genius, but a pretty decent student. I wasn’t out partying or really doing anything else. I really invested the time to study and do the work, but just did horribly on the tests.
Just a road bump. I was determined to do better. I just had to focus more and work harder second semester. Next up, Anatomy and Biochemistry. I got in more study groups. I studied longer. I tried harder.
At the end of the semester I got a D in Anatomy and an F in Biochemistry. I want to re-emphasize that I wasn’t a bad student, I got A’s in all my other classes that first year. I just couldn’t get a handle on the science topics.
So I came to the conclusion that I just wasn’t cut out for medicine. I still had a passion for it and found interest in it, but my mind couldn’t comprehend the subject matter.
My sophomore year, I switched majors to Community Development and thrived.
I Have Friends Who Are Nurses and Doctors
I would trust them with my life.
I know first-hand how hard it is. I couldn’t even make it through the first year of school. But my friends did. They made it through 5–9 years of school. Not normal school. Hard school. Plus clinicals and residencies.
They are smart. They are smarter than me and smarter than the general public. They genuinely want to help people. They have the intelligence to do it.
Sometimes I go to them with health questions. I’m not sure it if annoys them or not. They’re nice enough to listen to me describe my weird aches or rashes and offer advice.
But if they gave me any medical advice, I would follow it. They went to nursing/medical school. I didn’t. They passed. I failed. They’re the experts.
I Trust Experts More Than Myself
It’s not blind faith. It’s a logical conclusion.
When our son was born, there were a few complications. My wife went through 36 hours of labor which resulted in a C-section. Afterwards, our son was in the NICU for a few days, then came home, then was back in the NICU for a few more days.
It was an intense time, but I was at peace through most of it. I knew the nurses and doctors who took care of my wife and baby were experts. Whatever they suggested, we just said yes. It gave me confidence when they reacted to situations calmly. They knew what they were doing. They studied it. They had done this multiple times before.
Because of them, my wife and baby are alive and healthy today. In what otherwise could have been a very tragic outcome, the nurses and doctors performed exceptionally because for them, it was routine.
So when our nurses and doctors told us our son needed vaccinations, we listened to them.
They went to years of school and have become experts on the human body. I went to one year of pre-med and have read a few blog posts. They’ve treated hundreds, if not thousands of patients. I can barely treat myself when I have stomach ache.
So when it comes to vaccinating my child, I can choose to listen to the unified, collective advice of every doctor and nurse in America who’s gone to nursing/medical school telling me to vaccinate, or I can listen to someone who wrote a blog post telling me not to vaccinate.
I Held My Son Down for 3 Seconds of Pain
It was quick, though it felt like an eternity.
This nurse was an absolute pro. He had 3 needles in one hand and 2 needles in the other.
So with one hand I held down his shoulders and the other hand I held down his waste. Immediately my son knew something was up and started struggling and screaming.
In one swift motion that seemed like a blur, the nurse stuck 3 needles in one thigh then 2 in the other. My son let out a bloody scream as his face got red and tears streamed down his eyes. In less than 3 seconds, it was over. Then in a few more seconds, the nurse had the bandaids on.
I picked up my son to comfort him and gave him his bottle, and the crying instantly stopped. A few minutes later as we walked out of the hospital, his eyes were darting everywhere as he giggled at random things.
3 seconds of pain, and my son would be protected from dangerous diseases for several years. Over the next year, we went to the hospital a few more times to get the rest of his vaccinations.
My friends who are doctors and nurses vaccinate their children, and recommend to others to vaccinate their children. So I vaccinate my child because I failed medical school and they didn’t.