Frogs in Boiling Water

I read this story sometime back. Didn’t know then it could apply to me. 

If you put a frog water in hot water, it jumps out instantly as it cannot tolerate the heat. However, if you put the frog in normal water and slowly increase the temperature of water, the frog doesn’t realize the change and continues to stay in the water even when it starts boiling. It eventually dies in the water.

I realized today that most of us are like Frogs who haven’t realized that the water around is boiling and we need to jump out. Even though we are slightly uncomfortable in the environment we are, we choose to constantly adapt to it rather than question the fact that could it be different.

What made me realize this fact was a visit to the Pediatrician to discuss the vaccination schedule for the new baby on the way. I have been injected with all vaccinations myself and I have made my elder daughter go through all of them as well, ON TIME. In addition, in my large circle of friends and family, I haven’t come across anyone who hasn’t gone through them, in the way the doctor prescribed. I decided to finally question the vaccinations after one close family member had an adverse reaction to them.

When I stepped into the doctors room today, I was 100% sure he would give me reasonable explanation why children need to be vaccinated for 3 diseases right on day 1 of their birth (followed by at least 15 more shots throughout the first 10 years). All the while I was wondering that these 3 diseases must be so life threatening that if we do not get these vaccinations on day 1, our life could be in danger itself. Why else, would someone infect a just born child with the disease itself (which is what the vaccination is). And that too not 1, or 2 but 3 vaccinations together.

The doctor looked at me and smiled. He had perhaps seen hundreds on panic driven, new age mothers who don’t know anything but are trying to prove they know more than the doctor himself. Anyhow, he reassured me that the reason why 3 vaccinations are given on day 1 is not because the disease is life threatening, or the likelihood of contracting the disease in a new born is extremely high. The actual reason is that the Government believes that most parents don’t bring their child back after being discharged from the hospital and hence it mandates that most important vaccinations be given on day 1 itself. 

I looked at the doctor incredulously as if asking him “We are sitting in one of the fanciest hospitals, in one of the most advanced cities of the country. Do you think this notion of the Government would apply here as well? Do you think, I am that kind of parent, who would not bring my child back to the hospital if I was informed the need for it?” I was shaken. Given the history of side effects vaccinations are known to have, I have always believed that they are administered (at the time, and in the way they are administered) because they are absolutely necessary and not because a Government rule chooses to classify all 100% parents as uneducated and careless or without means to get their child back to the hospital. At least the doctors should talk to parents, inform them and let the parents make an informed decision. How can they just assume and decide for us, when we have a choice to possibly delay the vaccination and in return give the chance to our child to develop a stronger immunity?

Couple of hours after the meeting, I am still wondering how many important decisions like this are taken for me and family without we even being informed and consulted about it. Just because it takes more time to provide information and we as citizens don’t know what information we need to have, someone somewhere continues to take decisions on our behalf. Because we are uninformed, and because we trust our society and our Government to have our best interests in mind, we continue to accept these decisions, thereby putting ourselves and our children at risk. Like the frog in the water, we all realize it is getting uncomfortably hot, but our faith in the system, prevents us from questioning it and trying to find some difficult answers. I learnt today – Don’t assume:

·         that the water was always hot

·         that the water cannot be cooled down

·         And lastly, that we don’t have a choice to jump out of the water

P.S. I have decided to read upon all vaccinations myself and postpone as many of them till such time as they are absolutely necessary.