Preparing To Be A Help Meet: Debi’s Massive Overreaction

Preparing To Be A Help Meet: Debi’s Massive Overreaction October 27, 2014

vaccinationby Mel cross posted from her blog When Cows and Kids Collide

This story from Debi’s life is horrible…just horrible.  

“The Death Angel
Most people that hear this story think it was just my imagination playing tricks on me.  It happened more than thirty-five years ago.  I was just a young wife when the Death Angel visited, but I am convinced today, as I was then, that this truly happened just as I relate it.”

Personally, I think she had a panic attack.

“I lived in a small community of mostly young military couples.  All of the families were expecting, or had a baby or two already.  The girl directly across the street was nineteen years old and was married to a soldier of the same age who was in training to go to Vietnam.  Her baby was born a few days before mine.  One cold morning she came over to tell me the military authorities had called her, reminding her that the Health Department had issued a requirement that babies two-and-a-half months old should get started on their vaccinations.  This was a new mandate, starting the baby shots earlier than ever before.  Somewhere I had that there were problems with these vaccinations, especially for such young babies, but who was I to question the Department of Health?  Besides, the shots were free and we could afford that!  My best friend, Carla, who lived next door, also had a two-month-old son, but when I invited her to ride along, she wasn’t interested in getting her baby a shot.  Mrs. Soldier Girl and I took our babies and stood in the cold in a line outside a small trailer that served as the local Health Department, waiting for our babies to get their shots.  We chatted and visited with not a care in the world except to stay warm.  I think back to that day and ask myself, how were we to know what was to come?  Then I wondered, why didn’t we take the time to ask questions, demand information, or seek out advice?  I know the answer.  We were young; we believed that everyone else knew better than we did.  Until that moment neither of us had ever had been put in a position to know just how terribly a thing could go wrong due to a lack of knowledge.”

(editors note: I call bullshit on this story considering we are retired military. Most folks get all their health care, including vaccinations at the medical clinic on base, not at the Health Dept. clinic. Why ignore one of the better benefits of being active duty military family? Getting the sense this is like all those ‘letters’ Debi gets for her books. I could be wrong but this sounds so hinky from the first word.)

Points worth pondering:

  • Debi’s first child is a daughter.  Since this story is about her baby SON, this had to be her second or third child.  Debi could be as young as 22 (if she had Rebekah and Nathan back-to-back immediately after marrying Michael) OR as old as 25(ish) with three children.    She may well be a role-model to “Mrs. Soldier Girl”
  • Mrs. Soldier Girl went out of her way to help Debi.  She passed on information she got from the army and went with Debi.  And yet, Debi doesn’t give her a real name – she gets a epithet. For anyone new to PearlSpeak, an epithet means that character is going to be thrown under the bus.
  • Debi – the older, experienced mother – should be excused for her “lack of knowledge”.  Mrs.  Soldier Girl – who is 19 and facing an extended absence of her husband – well….Debi’s gonna throw her under the bus.
“Mrs. Soldier Girl called that evening to ask if my baby had a big red hot spot where the shot was administered.  He did.  Both of the babies had high fevers.  I knew this was going to be a long night.  As I rocked my son, trying to soothe him, I began to wonder why Carla had resisted getting her son a shot, and I sincerely wished I had listened to her when she tried to explain what she had read concerning the shots.  Finally, the medicine I have my son caused him to sleep.  It was cold in our old farm house, so I nestled my baby boy up to my body and fell asleep.  He cried off and on all night.”
New points:
  • Mrs. Soldier Girl called Debi for advice.  She trusted Debi. 
  • Carla told Debi her fears about getting the vaccination.  Debi ignored her.  Did Debi pass that info back to Mrs. Soldier Girl?  (For the record, I am rabidly PRO-vaccination.  I’m just pointing out Debi’s raging hypocrisy in this story.)
  • I get a flu shot every year.  I get a giant red welt and a 102 degree fever like clockwork and I am in my thirties.  Why do I get the shot?  Better a 24 hour period where I take a heap of Benedryl and Motrin and sleep until my immune system finishes getting ready than a potentially life-threatening case of influenza since I have asthma.  Why were they immunizing children younger?  Because babies were dying or having severe injuries from measles.  Imagine the same symptoms the little boys were having but for over a week – that’s the measles.
“I awoke sometime in the predawn hours, the blackest part of the night.  Other than my newborn’s soft groans and my husband’s light snores, the night was deadly quiet, like when there is a heavy snow that blankets the sound.  I couldn’t say why, but I lay tense and fearful, waiting…for what, I knew not. I was afraid.  I moved ever so gently to lay my hand on my son’s head.  It was burning hot.  I moved my head to his tiny chest and heard a strange, rasping sound.  Profound terror gripped me, causing my whole body to sweat.  Then, as if I could see the shadowy figure, I knew that the Death Angel stood there at the end of the bed.  My body was rigid, my mouth dry; I tried to control my breathing, but could only manage great gasps. I reasoned with myself that I was just an emotional female, and that nothing was really there.  Yet conviction held ground in my mind and soul…I knew what I knew, and I knew that the Death Angel had come to our house.”
I’ve gotta give Debi credit: That’s the best description of a panic attack I’ve ever read.

If Debi was honestly worried about her son being dangerously ill, she should have called 911 or an emergency line.  I doubt he was, but at least she would have gotten treatment for her panic attack.

“I gave up trying to convince myself that it wasn’t real and I began to pray as I never prayed before.  I pulled my baby up tight to my chest, defying the figure at the end of the bed that dared to enter this room. Time passed as I begged for God’s mercy.  I began to pray aloud,  getting louder and louder as my panic grew.”

Panic attacks suck – and apparently freaking out doesn’t stop the attack.  Good to know.  The next bit always makes me laugh.

“Finally I jerked the covers off of Mike and shouted, “Wake up now and pray!  The Death Angel is in this room!  Pray for our son!”  My startled husband sat up, confused and alarmed. Then he grabbed the covers away from me, mumbling that I had lost my mind.  I jerked his covers off and smacked him on the back as I screeched, “Get up and pray for your son!” By this time he was awake and truly concerned with my sanity. “

I’m guessing that if the Death Angel was in the room, Michael would have seen him(her? it?), too.

 “He tried to comfort me, but I cared nothing for comfort; I only wanted to hear him pray, asking God for mercy and commanding the Death Angel to leave the room.  I told my husband what to pray. He reminded me that I could pray just like he could pray, so why did I wake him up?”

I never thought I would say this, but Michael Pearl makes a good point.  Debi doesn’t want comfort; she wants him to pray – but she can do that as well as he can….

“But he was my spiritual head and I knew that was now was the time for the top command to pray.  Thoroughly chilled, he grabbed the covers to lay back down but this time his normally obedient wife  shouted, “You will never sleep again unless you pray for your son!”
He turned over and tried to see me through the darkness, trying to perceive what had provoked such a passion.  What I was doing was so out of character that he was genuinely mystified and somewhat intrigued.  He wondered if maybe I was right, and the Death Angel was indeed standing there in the room.”

See, hysteria can be passed from person to person – especially in the middle of the night.

 “He reached over me and laid his hand on our son’s head.  He prayed.  As he prayed, I sensed the Death Angel leave the room.  For the first time in several minutes, the constriction in my chest released; I could breathe again.”

Interestingly, even without doing anything, panic attacks eventually stop.

“Our baby fell into an exhausted slumber.  We lay there wide awake , man and wife in the dark, staring at the ceiling, whispering about what happened.  He believed me.  We watched the early morning light slowly begin to lighten our bedroom. 
Suddenly, red and yellow lights darted across our ceiling. I sat up and pushed the curtains open, peering across the street.  The cold thin window pane frosted over and I rubbed it clear to see better. Then I saw the ambulance.  It was parked at Mrs. Soldier Girl’s house.  I still remember the feeling of profound relief that enveloped me.  I still remember the shame that followed.  My son was spared….but hers was taken? I watched as a police car arrived.  Why police?”

If Debi stopped here, I’d have a shred of respect for her.

“We quickly dressed and Michael rushed over to see what was wrong and was told the following story:  The baby cried all night.  The young parents only had a couple nights left together before the soldiers was shipped off to war.  When they awoke in the morning the baby was no longer breathing.”

How is any of that different from Debi and Michael? 

  • Both babies were fussy and feverish after shots.
  • Both babies cried all night.
  • Debi and Michael both fell asleep for at least some portion of the night as did the parents across the street.

Debi likes rubbing her mothering skills in people’s faces, but she didn’t do anything different from the younger woman across the street.    But if she admitted – really admitted  – that Debi would have to accept that her baby could have died.  That really bad things could happen to her family as easily as it happened to her neighbors.

Debi can’t accept that.  She retroactively blames Mrs. Soldier Girl – a young mother who trusted Debi.

“At first the poor stricken couple was charged with neglect because the authorities assumed the baby died of cold.  Later, it was determined that it was the common three month crib death that had taken the child.  No one dared blame the vaccination that our babies were given the day before.”

Well, except Debi – the Bible college drop-out.  She’s got the skills to put professional epidemiologists to shame in her mind.

Debi’s got more to say on the subject of health care in general and birth control in particular, but I’m done for today.

AntiPearl: Make no judgments where you have no compassion.” Anne McCaffrey.


Read everything by Mel!

Mel is a science teacher who works with at-risk teens and lives on a dairy farm with her husband. She blogs at When Cows and Kids Collide

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • I work with a nice guy who is blind due to measles. These childhood diseases only seem minor because we have vaccinations and good medical care.

  • Nea

    If the Pearls aren’t allowed to judge without compassion, they couldn’t say a word. All they do is judge… And judge themselves better than everyone else.

    I notice quite a lot that is hinky about this story. Debi gives herself a pass as a young wife but not the younger wife. She says that she believed that she didn’t know anything & should have researched yet skips over that she has both been taught and teaches that women are stupid and should follow authorities. She even privileges her interpretation of events over her lord and master Michael’s, who she strikes and gives orders and demands — now what would she say or do to another woman who treated her husband that way? Tell her she’s an ugly unfeminine bitch what needs to submit more, that’s what.

    And in the end, even SHE admits that the real cause of death isn’t what she was blaming and expects us to take her opinion as greater wisdom.

    Debi: The exception to every rule Debi makes.

    Oh, and a side note? I’ve recently retaken every childhood vaccine except polio. Had a reaction to every one, even at my age (and generous size). But it still beats actually getting the diseases.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    Nea, same here. Had to retake them all and yeah, had a reaction. None of this ‘angel of death’ crap of Debi’s. The closest I saw the ‘angel of death’ was when I got Whooping Cough in my early 40s from some unvaccinated kid at my old church and had a hard time with it due to my crazy out of control asthma.

    Every single thing about Debi’s story screams ‘Bullshit!’ starting with the military wife going to a county health dept through the fact that she couldn’t even keep her children’s birth order straight. This story is spun out of lies to bludgeon her reading audience into blind obedience.

  • Mel

    My twin sister is deaf to to premature birth so I grew up around deaf adults. In the USA deaf community, there is a huge number of deaf adults who were born in the 60’s and early 70’s. They’re known as the “Rubella Bulge” since their mothers contracted rubella during pregnancy.

    We also know several young adults who are deaf and/or have moderate to severe cerebral palsy due to rubella exposure before birth.

    These people are the lucky ones: many babies were stillborn from severe damage…..

  • Melody

    I abhor the anti-vacine message she gives here and how she feels triomphant over the other mother and makes her responsible for her own child’s death. It is awful and may have horrible consequences if people choose not to vaccinate their chilren as a result.

    But I also pity Debi a bit. Because even though she commands her husband to pray the angel away, she does not have that power herself. He is her child’s savior (funnily enough I thought someone else held that position in christianity) and perhaps Debi owes him for that? She owes her husband her child’s life and therefore also her love and loyalty. Anyway that’s what I’m reading here as well. Her prayers will always be less than, and even though she does think highly of herself too, she will forever need a man to do this level of spiritual battle for her. Imagine what a nasty life and position that is… and living with Satan hiding in every corner isn’t that much fun in the first place.

    Everything is a battle of life and death in that kind of world; it is filled to the brim with magical thinking. I remember the chick tracts clear as day and the way I worried about offending God, accidently pushing the devil’s agenda, being (made) responsible for other’s people’s salvation or damnation, and I was only a child. It is a horrible mindset to grow up in.

  • I gave up trying to convince myself that it wasn’t real and I began to pray as I never prayed before. I pulled my baby up tight to my chest, defying the figure at the end of the bed that dared to enter this room.

    If the Death Angel is actually visiting her house, doesn’t that mean it is the will of God for someone to die? It would “dare” to enter the room, it would have been sent, I’d assume…

  • Saraquill

    My mom used to work with congenital rubella children in a previous career. My brother and I got all our shots.

  • ConcepcionImmaculadaPantalones

    Many parents around my age (mid30s) got vaccinations but haven’t really seen the actual illnesses the shots were given to prevent. Now that they’ve started their own families, this lack of experience with diseases (affecting them or seeing the effects on others) along with the mountain of “very authoritative sounding medical information” at their fingertips online, has made a good number of them choose a course of action that puts others at risk and makes them seem as crazy as ‘celebrities’ like Jenny McCarthy.

    “Vaccines are bad, they cause autism, and it’s better for the child to get sick and develop their immune system that way.”

    “No, vaccines are important not just for the individual child but for everyone around them, it’s called herd immunity you moron…”

    “I don’t believe you.”

    And then a ton of kids get sick. (sigh) I had whooping cough as a kid and it sucked. I got the chickenpox vaccine as an adult “just in case” because I had been hired for a job as a teacher’s assistant – they gave me a tb test and a two-booster series for the somewhat newly introduced chicken pox vaccine where I got one and then came back a couple of weeks later for the second. I don’t get flu shots because I do a lot of work from home and really don’t spend a lot of time around other people otherwise…it’s kind of weird, but my friend who gets her flu shot around this time of year every year always gets sick several times over the flu season yet I rarely get sick even once each year. Who knows. Avoiding people is great for not getting sick though – highly effective.

  • ConcepcionImmaculadaPantalones

    I think it was just an excuse to thump her husband and make him wake up. There’s no way Debi would actually acknowledge that she was pissed that he could be sleeping when she was awake and worried about something.

  • Anonyme

    *humming*…Death angel, death angel, will you be miiiine, my darling dear, love you all the time. I’m just a fool, a fool in love with yoooouu…”

  • Mel

    That bit confused me, too.

    My little brother David died suddenly after a short but severe illness. I know my parents prayed as hard as Debi did….but David still died.

    Several extremely “helpful” people decided to take it upon themselves to explain to my parents that God took David to warn my parents to get their lives in order. I suspect Debi fits in that category.

  • That is a terrible category of people.

  • That would make a heck of a lot more sense. 😉

  • KarenH

    Yeah, Debi is totally full of shit. There’s no way any military dependent would have been 1) contacted by the Department of Health, or 2) used them for vaccines rather than the military. My son is 32 and born while I was active duty military.

  • BlueVibe

    Did the other mom, who was already concerned, not ask the doctor giving the shots what, specifically, to watch for in case of a vaccine reaction? Why on earth would she not do that (and call 911)? Even my veterinarian advises watching pets for as long as possible after they get shots, even though my pets are all adults, healthy, and have zero history of vaccine reaction. I agree–this sounds fake.

    I always have mild reactions–flu shots make me feel pretty awful for a little while–but I get them anyway because a member of my family whom I see regularly is immune-suppressed.

  • Nightshade

    So praying for her child’s life to be saved was an attempt to circumvent her god’s will…makes more sense than the crappy story that Debi tells.

  • Baby_Raptor

    AntiPearl: Make no judgments where you have no compassion.” Anne McCaffrey.

    Anne McCaffrey is a writer that I hate myself for loving. She had some truly despicable views on homosexuals and played with misogyny a fair bit.

    But I’ve written Pern fanfiction and have my own OC in the world.

    It’s a conflict.

  • Mermaid Warrior

    Pretty much. If vaccination rates dropped enough and some of the nastier diseases came back on a larger scale, trust me, anti-vaccine sentiment would start to fade away.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Yeah, that jumped out at me as well. If she was married to a Soldier she had TriCare, and the baby would have had it as a dependent either way so long as Soldier was the father. They had no reason to be going to the state.

    I had TriCare for 4 years. It isn’t perfect but it’s way better than Debi is implying credit for.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Does the Angle of Death work for Satan? He seems to have free reign in their minds.

  • She wrote my absolute favorite line in a work of modern-ish fiction, apart from Lord of the Rings. In the Menolly books. “There’s something wrong in not appreciating one’s own special gifts. Know your limits, yes, but don’t limit yourself with false modesty.”

    I *needed* that line oh so very much. The idea that I deserved to acknowledge that I have *gifts* in any form or fashion, that I’m *good* at things… for all that she might get wrong, I needed that from her.

  • Astrin Ymris

    Re: “…Anne McCaffrey is a writer that I hate myself for loving. She had some truly despicable views on homosexuals and played with misogyny a fair bit…”

    I think she recanted those views later. ‘Moreta’s Ride’ has a same-sex couple, as did a book she co-wrote with Elizabeth Scarborough.

    Also, she re-wrote the short story with the raped-and-loved-it scene into a series, so that he tried to rape the protagonist, and she knocked him out cold.

    We’re all products of our social programming. Some of us are eventually able to overcome it!

  • Nea

    My grandfather made sure I had BOTH of the polio vaccines, he was that concerned about making sure I was covered.

  • Part of the whole “birth order” thing might be an unconscious tilting in her mind towards an infant *son* being more valuable than an infant *daughter* and thus more worthy of being saved, more of a loss in death.

    It’s still spun so strongly out of whole cloth that you can practically see the woven edges, but that might be WHY she chose that gender for the child.

  • Astrin Ymris

    That, and trying to cash in on the “Madonna and Child” vibe for herself.

    It’s kind of hard to imagine Mr. First Time Obedience being so patient and longsuffering about being woken in the middle of the night. I wonder if this is a wish-fulfillment fantasy of Debi’s?

  • He was openly employed by God to kill all of the firstborn of Egypt. Maybe it’s a freelancer???

  • That is how it reads. Weird, right? Everyone’s supposed to depend on God to know what he is doing. Perhaps he had some grand plan for that, and Debi managed to derail the entire thing…

  • 1fifty

    Just a point to mention. If her husband was sent tio Vietnam, then you’re looking at earlier than 1975. 911 didn’t exist back then. There was no 911 to call. You had to look up a number in the phonebook for an ambulance. Which was often very rudimentary. In small communities it was literally the funeral homes sending a hearse with a stretcher, oxygen, rolls of tape and gauze, and a radio. Rescue squads were only just coming into being. CPR as a protocol didn’t exist either for what we now call first responders.

  • Laura Turner

    I abhor the idea of spiritualizing a panic attack! Deny human psychology and blame it all on the demons!

  • BlueVibe

    If the baby died in the night, the mother had a few hours in which to act. She could have called the neighbor for help in finding medical aid since two people can call around faster than one.

    My main point was: If she was so concerned in the first place, why would she not watch the kid until she was absolutely certain it was out of danger? (On the other hand, if this story actually happened but it was SIDS, there wouldn’t have been warning signs. But it also wouldn’t have been vaccine-related.)

  • B.A.

    This reminds me so much of my fundie co-worker. The only MD she goes to is for her epilepsy,She only goes to holistic practioners (which is fine,as long as it’s used properly),and comes to work sick. She looks down on those of us who take medication for various conditions,like myself. She doesn’t believe me when I say I cannot get off of my thyroid medicine,or I’d get seriously ill. I don’t even mention my birth control or others. I even started using my own hand sanitizer instead of the one on the table that everyone else uses.

  • B.A.

    Agreed I would’ve told those people where to go.

  • quietglow

    That sounds like typical sleep paralysis. In fact, it sounds exactly like sleep paralysis, down to the certainty that there is a frightening supernatural being in the room.