Grandma's Lesson: The "Disposal" Bill For a Baby
After my grandma died we cleaned out her papers. We found an "overdue bill" notice from Vancouver's St. Paul's hospital for the "disposal" of her 18 month old son who had died of whooping cough. This was before universal healthcare. She kept that bill for over 50 years.
The few times she told us about little Larry, the son that died, she couldn't get over the sound he made when he coughed and she remembered his little face turning blue. "I don't know if they had vaccines for it back then, but I'll never forget him," she whispered quietly one day. "I wish I could have done something."
She died when I was four months pregnant with my son, but you can imagine how adamant I was that my son be vaccinated. Whenever a well-meaning mom told me some rubbish about not vaccinating I wanted to show her that bill and tell how 60 years later she would regret her decision.