This week is National Volunteers Week. The hospital has put out food treats for the volunteers. I was going to start my job since I had stopped by McDonald’s on the way to the volunteer office, but one of the staffers asked me to stay to meet the CEO of the hospital.
He showed up and made pancakes for the volunteers who appeared for breakfast. It was the first time I had ever seen him in person. He seems engaged with the people and very personable. I liked him. I guess he is really trying to stay in touch with the people who actually run the hospital. I applaud that. He’s not staying in his office trying to run things from afar.
He had an ease about him that made it easy for the volunteers to talk with him. I was impressed that he felt it was important to honor those who give of their time and effort for free. The material I needed to pass out to the mothers was in a cabinet directly behind him. When I approached the cabinet he insisted that we have our picture taken together. Why not take advantage of a photo-op?
There was a much larger number of new mothers on the floor today. I average speaking to 10- 15 women. Today there were 28. I’ve learned to take more Spanish packets to the floors than English. Today I was down to my last English packet. Fortunately the last patient spoke Spanish.
I’m glad I’ve formed a speaking relationship with a couple of the nurses. The form we have the patients fill out was not picked up in one room yesterday by another volunteer. I asked one of the nurses to help translate. I couldn’t make the mother understand me and I couldn’t understand her. The nurse came into the room and helped me obtain the form. The mother did not know the address of the apartment she wanted the reminder postcards to be sent to. Her husband came last night and wrote it down for her. That has happened more than one time when the mothers can’t provide addresses or phone numbers right away. I don’t say anything or ask any questions when that happens. I don’t really want to know.
There was one woman today who did not fill out the reminder form. She said she was Muslim and they didn’t believe in immunizing their children. That was the first time I had heard that. I have had other Muslim mothers fill out the form. I’m wondering if they believe they shouldn’t immunize their children as well or not. They don’t refuse like this woman did. Perhaps they don’t care to express their beliefs. Perhaps not all Muslims feel the same way.
When I left the room I talked with the same nurse and told her what had just happened. She said she was sorry to hear that. Evidently there has been an upturn in the number of pertussis or whooping cough cases in pediatrics. This is a disease that was almost eradicated and is now making a come back. She said enough unvaccinated children are now around to start forming a pool. The disease is being passed around through them to others.
Infants are the least protected and most vulnerable to the pertussis bacteria. It can be and often is deadly.
There is still controversy among some patients as to the safety of vaccinations. I understand that. But to take the chance that my baby would die from the disease as opposed to taking the chance he may have developed other problems was a choice I did not wish to make when my son was a baby.
The nurse told me they are really pushing getting the parents to consent to giving the first DTaP vaccination before the baby even goes home.
When I chose to write about this today I discovered that what I thought was a childhood disease can affect adults as well. Evidently over the years the protection wears off. I guess I’ll add that to my list of questions the next time I see my doctor. He keeps pretty good track of what I need. I know it’s been quite a while since I’ve had a tetanus shot. I’ve never questioned whether it’s a DTaP vaccine they give to adults. Maybe it’s time I find out. Namaste. Attic Annie