Friday, July 07, 2006

Just the vacs, ma'am

Woody is doing very well again. It does look like they are going to put off his extubation attempt until late next week, however, because of his vaccines.

It came as quite a surprise when we got told that Woody needed to be vaccinated, because while it is normal for a two month old baby to get vaccines, Woody is hardly a normal two month old baby (I mean, we still calculate his age in gestational weeks, and considering that he is just now at 31 weeks 4 days, that seems pretty young). Our second surprise was in which vaccines they wanted to give him. In addition to the DPT and the HIB and the polio, which are fairly normal, there was also Hepatitis B, which doesn't exactly seem like something he's at a high risk of developing (they gave us a brochure that indicated that risk categories included intravenous drug users with shared needles and promiscuous sodomites)

But, as I figured, it was probably best to get all of them, because let us not forget that while certain conspiracy theorists believe that vaccines cause autism (which I will note that numerous studies show that there is no evidence of this claim) they actually prevent massive amounts of disease and suffering, and I have no interest in causing young Woody any more suffering that he has to already have. On the other hand, I remember last year when I got a tetanus booster right before going turkey hunting, I was sore for a good two weeks after that, so I bet he is not very happy with it either.

I suppose this is as good a time as any to say what we're planning on doing when it comes to the circumcision question. Woody will have, as noted, surgery on his hernias either right before or right after going home from the hospital, and the nurses pointed out that since he's going to be under general anesthesia that is a great time to get the circ done. Except for the minor problem that there's really no good reason to do one. Circumcision has, yes, shown some positive benefits in places like Africa that have high rates of heterosexual AIDS transmission; it tends to reduce the risk of men picking it up from their partners. There have been some findings of increased rates of urinary tract infections (UTIs) in kids without. But weighed against these two dubious benefits* is the fact that getting a circumcision done is itself a lingering pain for a guy who's had pain for his whole life up until now, and is an elective surgery that can have negative consequences for his later sex life, done at a time that he cannot consent or have any say in the whole process. I also suspect that much of the pressure to do circumcisions has to do with the fact that most men here (the US generally, and the upper Midwest, specifically, where the rate of infant circumcision remains the highest) were circumcised and the need to come up with reasons to justify it to make it not seem like we were unnecessarily mutilated.

I decline to perpetuate that particular pattern. Woody shall remain uncut unless he gets older and decides he wants to do it himself.

*I say dubious because each has a non-circumcision alternative; for AIDS condoms work better. For UTIs research shows that teaching the kid to clean under the foreskin works at least as well. There is no medical reason to do general circumcisions, and the risk of one of the rare conditions that indicate therapeutic circumcisions is not great enough to justify it.


At 2:52 PM, Anonymous jared said...

On the circumcision question: What weight do you, Nathan, give to the notion that you may "want your son to look like you", down there?

Backchannel if this is inappropriate for the Blog, but I am curious as I've heard this reason proffered by a few otherwise ambivalent, or circ-leaning, fathers.

At 3:00 PM, Blogger Nathan said...

I think the 'look like you' is another one of those reasons that are given to justify the circumicision done to the dad and not the son. I'm not sure how much he'll be studying my wang, but by the time he can converse with me about it I'll be glad to explain what's different.

At 6:18 PM, Anonymous Kate said...

Nathan, I'm really glad you and Maggie have decided not to cut little Woody. Way to be.

Probably TMI, but my roommate is a gay boy and within the gay community there's an increasing interest in uncircumsizing , which is a long and arduous process which involves recreating the foreskin by stretching the skin that's already there. Ouch.

At 11:44 PM, Anonymous jared said...

I that that "similar appearance" is both a father and son thing, regardless of "length of study". And even if it is mainly a father concern, why is appearance distinguished from morals, ethics, values, etc.? You will mold Woody in many ways, in your image.

Ability to explain difference aside, there may exist a relative pain advantage to being cut earlier rather than later.

Just engaging dialogue...

At 2:32 AM, Blogger Bill Hooker said...

I decline to perpetuate that particular pattern. Woody shall remain uncut unless he gets older and decides he wants to do it himself.

Yer a good man. (~Despite what everyone says.~)

At 9:02 AM, Anonymous Dad/Granddad said...

On the uncircum thing, more power to you! Do what's needed, not what's expected.

At 5:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a thought: I know some children who have had medical problems and needed to get circumcized later in life (and some doctors tend to neglect mentioning these cases). I think that it may be easier for children to bare that pain as a baby and not have to remember rather than it would be having to miss baseball practice for a week because it is too painful to walk. Sometimes it may also be difficult for a kid (keywork being sometimes)to stand self consciously in a locker room with all the other circumcised boys. None of my business but I just figured I'd play devil's advocate :)


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