We took M to have her first vaccinations today. No parent enjoys seeing their child upset, and inevitably, any baby is going to object to having injections, especially when she has no idea what is going on. She was actually very good, although she has been very grumpy and upset all afternoon and evening. It makes it hard to remember sometimes why we do it. But I have absolutely no doubt that we have done the right thing in having her vaccinated against diseases that are virtually unheard of in this day an age. But if course, that is why they are unheard of.
One of the conditions she was vaccinated against today was Diphtheria. In the 1930s this was the third leading cause of death in children in England and Wales. My Nan, who was a child in the early part of the 20th Century had Diphtheria before the vaccine was available. Once diagnosed with the illness, her terrified mother arranged for her to go to a sanitorium, which is what happened at that time. It was a very dangerous condition and she was very unwell. I remember her telling me about the little girl in the bed next to hers, who also had Diphtheria. One day, her parents came in to see her, bringing a brand new very expensive doll as a gift. The girl died later that week. Nan was, fortunately, one of the lucky ones. She was in the sanitorium for a long time, but she recovered. She lived into her late 80s.
I feel so very lucky to live in a time and place where Diphtheria - among many others - is a disease from another generation. This is what I am remembering as I give my daughter Calpol to ease the discomfort she is feeling.