Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Van & The Flu Shot

Last August when we were van-shopping, we were looking at this green 2001 Mercury Villager. I was tired and cranky and just wanted to be done with it all. The van looked great; it needed the power windows fixed and some new tires, but the AC worked, it ran like a dream, and it was a good price. It had none of the "quirks" that our previous minivan had. I took a quick moment to try to pray and ask God, "Should we buy this van?" but could get no sense of peace about it. I brushed it off, figuring I probably wasn't going to get any peace about anything while I was tired. I went ahead and bought the van.


This van has been a huge hassle since then. In the first two months or so of owning it, we put as much money into fixing it as we had paid for it in the first place. It leaked gas; the AC broke; something was wrong with the steering, it needed a new o2 sensor, and so on. Fitting the car seats in also turned out to be an issue. The latest issue came up when I found out that my registration needed to be renewed in February. To make an excessively long story short, let me say that I have made something like 3 trips to our regular mechanics, 3 or 4 trips to DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles), 5 trips to DEQ (the ones that do the emissions test that is required for registration), and so many trips to three different dealerships that I lost count (let's say, about 3 per week for half of February and all of March) in an attempt to resolve all this. Oh, and 5 attempts to drive to Multnomah Falls (17 miles away) to get in something called a "drive cycle"; the perfect activity in this time of gas price hikes. Today alone I was at Nissan, drove out to Multnomah Falls, and then drove down to see if DEQ was still open. (It wasn't. I'll go back on Tuesday morning when they open.)

So you can see why I say I learned my lesson. 

This last week, Savi had her five-year doctor's checkup. When the nurse asked if I wanted to give her a flu shot, I automatically said "no", like I usually do. And then the thought that I ought to give her the flu shot kept coming to me. The issue of flu shots had been on my mind for some time. I took a moment to pray about it and definitely could not get any peace about *not* giving her the shot, but could get a sense of peace about asking her for the flu shot. Only, I really didn't want to ask for the flu shot. Aside from my normal reasons for saying 'no' to it (my kids don't seem to get the flu, I've heard of the flu shot giving people flu symptoms, it's unnecessary medical intervention with potentially unknown long-term effects), I also just felt really, really embarrassed about the idea of asking the doctor for the flu shot after already saying no. How I could explain my change of mind? "God said so" sounds kinda crazy in a doctor's office, yes? 

But I remembered the van. And I really, really didn't want to have to deal with a hassle like that again. So I screwed up my courage and told the doctor I wanted her to have the flu shot after all. (I said I just had a feeling in my gut that I should, which she told me I should go with.) And you know what? Savi did not get sick any way from the flu shot. I don't know why God would push me to give Savi specifically the flu shot, without pushing me to give flu shots to the other kids. 

I will be very happy to avoid finding out the hard way.


  1. Well I guess better to have learned a lesson the van, which sounds expensive and a ridiculous-beyond-belief hassle, than on Savi's health, right?! I've let Toby get the flu shot the ONE time it's come up but I do all the recommended vaccines so I didn't think very hard about it. Anyway, I'm sorry about your van. I've done a drive test like that before and I gotta say, it did NOT work. I really think the gas companies paid off the auto industry to make THAT the way to reset things.

  2. I *suspect* that Savi would have gotten the flu and then everyone else would have caught it from her, and it would all have come at some crazy inconvenient time.

    I do all the other routine vaccines. They all make sense to me. It's only the flu shot that seemed a little unnecessary for my otherwise-healthy family.

    In fairness to DEQ, every time so far that I've succeeded in taking the van through a drive cycle, the engine light has come back on again.

  3. The real issue is the fact that the DEQ no longer really tests for emissions. I am quite confident that the van would pass emissions with flying colors. However, nowdays DEQ testing is not testing what is actually coming out of your tailpipe. What they test is if your computer says everything is ok. If a flag comes up you fail. Doesn't matter if it is a computer glitch or broken wire and your emissions are fine. I really hate the new system I am sure there are probably people out there who will eventually figure out ways to make them display that everything is fine in a car that is putting out black smoke instead of a costly fix and drive cycle. I think a test for emissions should be just that; testing what is coming out the tailpipe. It should not be a test of your electronics.