Wednesday, February 20, 2008

What woo means to me

Sometime the pain caused by woo isn’t in the harm of the treatment itself, or even the delay a harmless woo can cause in seeking real medicine. Sometimes it’s in the guilt and self-torture that woo inflicts upon those who use medicine.

My wife (who has used the handle Charity Brow) sometimes has trouble with forgiveness, and that goes double for herself. Back in the days when we first learned about Son#1’s condition, my sister (who is extremely smart and generally very level-headed) had been sharing some of the anti-vaccination woo with me, and I bought into to it, at least somewhat, for a while. Naturally, while looking into Son#1’s condition, we came across the putative vaccination-autism link, and since we did have him vaccinated, Charity started blaming herself for his condition.

Naturally, as time passed and I looked deeper into the putative connection, I found that the connection was not real, that autism-spectrum disorders seem to have genetic links. I remembered that Son#1 was never normal in behavior, even as an infant. Of course, when they are three months old, every thinks that a baby entertaining itself, paying focused attention to things, not requiring attention or contact, etc., is a good thing. You never think that might mean he has a problem later on. Of course, I don’t know if there is a connection or not, I only have my anecdote that his symptoms where evidence that early, I don’t know if there any studies on the infancy behaviors of autism spectrum children. Still, between that and the science, it’s more than enough to convince me that there was no connection to the vaccines.

Charity knows in her brain that there is no connection. However, she stills feels guilty, still feels responsible, still can’t forgive herself. She stills cries about it, or gets angry with herself over it from time to time. I don’t need any more reason to despise the practitioners of woo than that. For me, it really is personal.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have had a similar "Survivor's Guilt" for miscarriages I've had even though I know I didn't cause them. I constantly went over every food I ate, step I took, etc. and convinced myself that it was a combination of coffee consumption and bike riding!