Ten years ago, when our youngest son was just a few weeks old, a routine hospital outpatients visit to check on his heart condition turned into the start of the most terrifying few days of my parenting life.
He was our third child, so I was pretty confident in my parenting skills and knowledge by then, and when he had slept through the night before that appointment I had smugly regarded it as proof that I was doing everything right when it came to feeding, sleep routines and all the other stuff I had learned with my first two.
Imagine my shock, therefore, when our paediatrician took one look at him, grabbed him and actually ran. With one glance she had spotted what this smug parent had missed. My child wasn't sleepy, he was fighting a brain infection.
Over the next few days he underwent lumbar punctures and other tests, pokes and prods, his body was pumped full of drugs by IV and I prayed, a lot. There wasn't much else I could do, to be honest. I was a mother, armed with just over six years of practice in the parenting field and quite frankly, my degree in comparative world faiths and sociology wasn't turning out to be much use when it came to saving my son's life, other than the fact I knew the name of God in many languages so at least I could hedge my bets with those prayers, I suppose.
Actually, I didn't just pray, I also cared for him, expressed milk for him, I sat with him night and day watching as his tiny frame fought that infection. I read him stories and talked to him, (I didn't sing to him, however, as I am the child a music teacher once told to mouth the words, not actually sing them out loud).
What I didn't do, though, is demand to know exactly what was in the IV line he was attached to. I didn't ask for the list of ingredients of the drugs he was given, nor did I "do my own research" on the internet. I didn't ask the doctors what university they had studied at, or if they had read a study on brain infections I had just found on social media.
In other words, I did my job and let the medical team do theirs.
Happily, our son recovered fully thanks to those doctors and nurses and the drugs he was given. Even my prayers and cuddles probably helped in that journey, but they weren't the hero of this tale, that medical team was. Theirs was a true team effort, not just the medical team who cared for my son, but the scientists before them who had spent years developing drugs and treatment protocols that worked. Thanks to them, I have just been at Stoney Oaks wildlife park last week, celebrating my ostrich-loving son's 10th birthday.
That hasn't been the only dramatic moment in my parenting life. Three children mean a fair few moments of panic and hospital visits, including that time two years ago when my daughter fell down our stairs, landing on her neck. As the St John team dosed her up on some serious "happy drugs" and put her in the ambulance, I didn't ask to see their qualifications, nor did I check the ambulance's current WOF status or ask exactly what was in the drugs they gave her to reduce her pain.
It's pretty obvious what point I am trying to make here, I suspect. Science and medicine - aren't we lucky to have them? We trust doctors and scientists to heal us when we are sick, so let's also trust them to help us not get sick in the first instance.
Right now, we are dealing with a pandemic, Covid-19 is bigger than any one of us and we need to keep it out of our communities. We can all do our bit in this, from scanning or signing in, to mask-wearing, staying home when sick and washing our hands regularly (side note, we should really be doing this always, not just because there's a pandemic around ...) Another thing many of us can do, of course, is to roll up our sleeves, literally as well as figuratively, and get vaccinated.
So please, don't vacillate, vaccinate. Let's let the medical experts do their job, so we can all get on and do ours.