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We grew up poor, although not quite as poor as your family, but we had nine kids and, of course, no health insurance. And we seldom went to the doctor except for immunizations and broken bones.

I do remember that the last time we had a doctor's visit (yes, they used to come to the house on occasion!) was when the three oldest, including me, had measles at the same time. They used to worry that measles would cause you to lose your eyesight, so our bedrooms were kept dim while we were the sickest.

Thank heaven they have immunizations today for measles, mumps, rubella, spinal meningitis, polio -- if the parents will agree to get the shots for their kids. As for the cost, I believe the health department will give the shots for free or for a small fee.

As for diagnosing, the computer is a good source for basic medical advice as to when to take your kids to the doctor. My mother relied on Dr. Benjamin Spock's book on childcare when she wasn't sure what to do... Unfortunately her father was one of those nuts who thought if you ate right, you'd never get sick, so we never discussed our health when he was around!


I have been following the vaccination issue very closely. As in, many people here refuse to have their children vaccinated and it makes me so angry. I think adults have no compassion for their child's suffering-because there is a lot of suffering in anything serious, much less a cold or flu.

I remember being sick often. My brother and sister and I all had the chicken pox at the same time. And I, too, have hovered over a steaming pot with sheets over my head for countless hours.

I believe, however, that disease is far more prevalent in today's global environment. Larger populations, more travel in and out of the country and idiotic parents who refuse to vaccinate or even keep a sick child home anecdotally exposes those of us who become ill at the drop of a hat to a plethora of illnesses that we wouldn't have been exposed to 35 years ago.

I am vigilant. I am cautious. And I am proactive with my children's health. I think you have to be, especially these days.

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