Vaccinations and the Immune Compromised Public

New York County just banned children in public places if they are not vaccinated for the Measles. Holy cow, please do not start freaking out as I have not even said anything yet.

I am 100% for people making their own choices for their family and their kids, that being said, I am also for not becoming deathly ill because of those people’s choices. I made a comment on Facebook about how I am glad this is the case because people who have immune issues should not have to be subjected to diseases that there are vaccines for when they are going about their daily business.

In case you are unaware, when your immune system is compromised that means even if you were vaccinated for the disease it no longer matters, you are at risk because your immune system does not work the way it is supposed to.

It got so many comments, one person in particular told me I should stay inside my house forever. (Thanks for that lady, I wasn’t starting a fight I was just sharing my personal opinion.) Not once did I name call a person, call them stupid or an idiot or say that their opinion was not valid. Other people did, some were very rude actually and I get that you can be passionate about a subject but if you follow my blog than you know that I want to be a better example for my kids on how we should treat people and I do try to live what I am preaching to my kids.

Another person pointed out, rightly, that I did not choose to have the immune system I am currently blessed with, and the chemo medication I take to keep it from eating my brain. (I am paraphrasing here because I didn’t share why my immune system was compromised or that I take chemo medication.)

MS shows up differently for each person who has it, different medications work for different people and the severity of symptoms ranges widely. For me, MS shows up like a giant a-hole villain who is getting paid to make my life a living nightmare. There are days when I get questioned about why I have a service dog because I am walking normal, there are other days where I probably look like a total drunk and it’s obvious that I could not stand upright without him.

Now I think kids should get vaccinations, I am okay with whatever that looks like; the standard schedule, a longer schedule whichever. A kid just spent 2 months in the hospital for treatment of Tetanus for crying out loud, and I know that there are still people who believe these shots are dangerous but science says that is false, also the kid with tetanus cost $800,000 to cure. The shot is free with insurance!

Now if you are a parent who doesn’t want your child vaccinated, fine, please home school them and keep them in your house, because I just realized it’s your choice to make and people with crap immune systems should not have to worry more or become shut-ins because you don’t want to vaccinate your child.

We as people and/or parents, make choices every day, please be mindful of the entire human population when making choices. I vaccinate my dogs so they don’t get sick, my kids because I love them and want them to be as healthy as they can, myself so I don’t die of something stupid. Also, I don’t drive into oncoming traffic putting other people’s lives at risk because I think it’s a better way to drive.

 

Getting My Service Dog

I went through the application and interview process with Freedom Service Dogs and was so happy and grateful when I was accepted. The next step was to wait on the waiting list until they called to tell me they had a dog that they thought matched with me.

What this means is matched for personality and needs. I was asked to come meet my potential service dog. It was love, he was awkward, silly and had a beard that made him look like an old man. It was summer when we met so I was wearing a dress and he got his head stuck in it and all confused trying to get out. It was hysterical. At the end of the meeting they asked me if I was interested in him and I jokingly said he could either be my service dog or they would have to chase a disabled person with a dog to get him back.

Freedom Service Dogs did all the training prior to when I started working with him. He had all the tasks I needed ready in his brain. Now, it was my turn to learn the commands, hand signs and him to learn about me. We had several weeks of training, several weeks of bonding and more than two years later I cannot imagine my life without him. Some days going out is kind of like having a toddle in toe, because you have to get them dressed, make sure you have treats (aka snacks) and know that it will take longer doing whatever it is you’re doing because people will stop you and ask questions.

All of that is worth it though, I don’t have to focus on my feet anymore because he does that for me. If I drop something I know he will pick it up, I know I have my own little support system when I am alone, because he is there to help me.

He is allowed to go everywhere, so if you have a service dog, know the laws in your area. The US has ADA laws that allow you to go everywhere the public goes and bring your service dog along with you. Do not allow people into bullying you not to be somewhere.

The laws, rights and trouble I have run in to will be my next service dog post. So if you are interested in knowing more about that, keep an eye open for that.

The Road to Deciding to Get a Service Dog for My Multiple Sclerosis

Let me start by saying, as of the writing of this blog, I am not receiving any sort of compensation for my opinions so when you hear me talk about Freedom Service Dogs, it is because they are near and dear to my heart and I believe in what they do.

If this is the first post of mine you are reading, then hi and welcome. I have Multiple Sclerosis, it sucks, it sucks pretty hard some days to the extent that I would love it if it was a person I could kick in the teeth. My story of how I came to the decision to apply for a service dog was a very difficult one and I do not enjoy sharing it so hang in there.

Winter of 2015, one year after my official diagnosis, and a few months after I was violently rear-ended in a car accident that resulted in torn hip cartilage that required the use of a walker my husband and I took our kids to the local indoor mall to see Santa. As you can imagine, the mall was filled wall to wall with an insane amount of people and we were trying to leave through the crowd, I encouraged my husband to take the boys ahead of me because I was slow and he hates crowds as much as I do.

As I slowly made my way through the crowd I was shoved aside by two teenage girls trying to get through, mumble to myself something about hating crowds and teenagers are assholes. Fine, moving on, me with my bright blue walker with wheels, just trying to leave the mall. Grown ass man shoves me to the left trying to get through, first of all WTF, second of all, if I was an old lady would they be shoving me? I have never in my life felt so vulnerable than at this very moment, broken, small and in a crowd of people who didn’t give a shit about where I was in their space. At this point I am holding back the tears that are trying to well up in my eyes because I am not weak and I will not let these people break me, there’s a reason I don’t work in retail anymore. Barely holding my shit together but getting closer to being out of this disaster of an outing another set of teenage girls pushed me aside to get by.

Once I left the mall doors and was on my way to the car I started to cry (I could barely walk, I was using something meant for old ladies, I was only a year into a diagnosis that would eventually take everything from me and I just experienced the worst of humanity during the holiday season). This just would not work for me. I started to research after that, what it would take to get a service dog for my MS by the time I needed one. I also set my walker up with flashing bike lights, a warning horn and a cup holder because you had better believe I am not getting shoved around again.

In my research I found that most options for service dogs are buying a Lab type puppy specifically bred for the job and then paying $40,000 for training. Well, I don’t know about you, but I don’t have that kind of cash laying around to pay for a service dog, especially when meds for treatment for MS is already very expensive. Then I happened upon Freedom Service Dogs, I vaguely remembered them speaking at one of my DAR meetings when I first joined but at that time I was not yet diagnosed.

Freedom Service Dogs is a non-profit organization that provides fully, custom trained service dogs to people who need them. This includes mobility, veterans, PTSD, they have also partnered with Disco Dogs to provide service dogs to people with Autism at no charge to the client. They provide you with training with your dog and constant support should you want it. They will also help train your dog for things like if you have MS and go from needing Brace and Balance assistance to being in a wheelchair and needing your dog to support you with that.

Want to know more about my journey to getting my service dog? I will post another blog about the next steps next week.