Ben had already experienced the jabs prior to ones he received on April 18th. He had quite a few, as do most children by the time they are a year old.
We had just finished his birthday celebration and I had traveled out of town on business when Ben and his mom went in for the shots.
Erica and I had talked about this day, I wouldn’t say we were scared, more like we were cautious. We had no idea about autism, but we knew vaccines were potentially dangerous to some children. Every parent hears horror stories and we had heard enough to be cautious. Erica went in with Ben, asked to speak to the doctor and the doctor gave her a good five minutes of his time to comfort all fears and anxieties. His words soothed Erica’s concerns and she signed the release allowing Ben to be injected with an MMRV, HepA, HIB and Prevnar, seven total vaccines.
They took some of Ben’s blood and his Hgb was at 13.3, (normal 10.5 – 13.0) his WBC was 6.2 (normal 6 – 15), his HCT was 40.1 (normal is 33-39). It looked to them like Ben was healthy enough to deal with the viruses his body will be required to fight with in order to build a immunity. Otherwise why would they have injected him?
Of course Ben screamed, he cried, he cried so much he vomited, he was upset for hours. Erica recalls this part of it in her journal.
Daddy left for a job and to help grandmammy and papa move into their house. You had just gotten your shots and we were on the floor in your bedroom and you were crying, wouldn’t stop, you’d been that way most of the time near the end of our day. just picked you up and held you sitting on the floor and I asked you what’s wrong, still breathing hard, sucking your thumb, tears down your face. I said, “what’s wrong, use your words, tell me what” You took your thumb out and pulled backwards looking at me you said, “me mesee daddy” put your thumb back in your mouth and placed your head down on my chest. You wanted to see daddy. I showed you his picture in the hallway and called him. You seemed better after that so we went to dinner. You are fabulous.
“Me Mesee daddy”, the last sentence he would say for nearly a year.
Things sort of started rolling downhill from there, little by little Mister Ben-gee-man started eroding into a different little boy. A week or so after this we babysat my nephew who is a month older than Ben. Ben immediately started acting out in violent and aggressive ways we hadn’t seen before.
It took 5 months before the seriousness of his developmental backslide became important enough to talk to the doctor about it. We made all kinds of excuses and just thought he would work out of it on his own. When we did go in the doctors basically said he seemed to them a healthy little boy. They viewed my wife a little differently, “very preoccupied with Ben’s behavior” ,”mother overly concerned about his speech development” ,”concerned he is not responding to his name but upon evaluation he seems to hear quite normally”, “difficult to address all of mom’s concerns”, “appears to exhibit age appropriate behavior, a little on the hyperactive side”, ” prescribed amoxicillin”
Also in Ben’s chart is these notes from the doctor on Ben’s 9 month well visit:
Development: feeds self, sits without support, crawls, pincer grasps, vision/hearing normal per parents, knows name, gets to sitting, laughs, imitates speech and “Lots of words, “L” sounds, names shapes and colors!”
On March 6, 2007 (11 months) Erica made a note in Ben’s baby journal that said:
Points and says, “I see it” a lot.
Most of those observations of Ben’s development are true today, 24 months later, but not 6, 10 or 12 months later. Ben has just begun pointing once again and he still can’t say the “L” sound also he has just started imitating, in a call and response kind of way, once again.
In this video Ben is imitating Erica. He was 10 months old, 26 months later he can’t do it. Or won’t. Who knows.