Sunday, November 29, 2009

The needle and the damage done

We are just now home from getting our H1N1 vaccinations. I don't think I ever want to go through that again. Except, oh yeah, we'll need another flu shot next fall. Sigh.

The screaming. The crying. The hysterical assertions that she didn't need the shot. The eyes of every other parent, (not to mention every kid and nurse) on our little spectacle, no doubt congratulating themselves on having far better behaved offspring. Saying that Rachel is a bit scared of shots is kind of like saying that the Leafs are off to a bit of a slow start this season. Or that they soufflent les chèvres just a little bit. (That's for you, Josie ♥.) Rachel is petrified.

I know this, and I had it all planned out so she wouldn't be scared. I bought two Emla patches, which contain a topical anesthetic, and told the girls they were magic patches. I said if they wore them for an hour before the shot, the shot wouldn't hurt. The girls were good with that. On the way there they were arguing about who was going to go first. Both wanted to.

But when we got there, the cracks began to appear in Rae's facade. She molded herself to my legs and buried her head in my stomach. "I don't want to get the shot" she said. I explained about how we didn't want her to get sick and about how the magic patch would mean that it wouldn't hurt. Turns out it isn't the pain she's worried about, it's the thought of something sharp going through her skin. Like the time a teeny tiny splinter was stuck about a nanometre into her foot, with most of it out and able to be grasped, and she carried on as if she'd been gut shot and wouldn't let me touch it for nearly an hour and we missed skating.

So we waited until she composed herself. Leah and I had our shots (the patch worked really well for Leah). And we waited. And I cajoled, and I reasoned and I said we weren't leaving until she had her shot. Finally, about a half hour later, in response to a bribe of being allowed to spend some of her birthday money on a new DVD right after the shot, she allowed it to happen. And I still had to hold on to her in case she decided to bolt at the last minute. After it was over, she gave the nurse a hug, so I guess she doesn't hold grudges.

Then it was off to the store for the DVD. We purchased one and were almost home when another emotional eruption occurred in the back seat. Emily, Rae's most beloved Webkinz spaniel was not in the car. I remembered Rae carrying Emily out of the community centre where the flu shot clinic was held. Emily must have been left behind in Walmart. More floods of tears as I turned the car around and headed back to the store. Against all odds, we found Emily, still sitting in front of the display TV showing Snow Buddies that the girls had stopped to watch for a minute while we were shopping. Disaster averted.

Since we've been home, things have been back to normal, and no one is complaining about sore arms or anything. So all is well. Until next year.


  1. Oh boy, that is traumatic. And you are so much more patient than I am.

  2. Oh man. I think I need to call my mother and ask for an apology... I was like that.

    Glad you all survived. "Soufflent les chèvres..." bloody brilliant.

  3. That does sound stressful - here in the UK the shots are only for high risk groups and up to age 5 for now, so we haven't had to deal with it yet.

    Good choice on the helps/distractions - Snow Buddies is C's favourite movie and Emily must have looked like she was part of the display for it!

  4. , Jen, it was pretty traumatic. I'm glad it's over.

    Nat - I was thinking of you when I picked the title of the post, lol. And I can't take credit for 'souffle les chèvres', that's from my friend Josie.

    UK Jen - The high-risk and younger kids were the first ones vaccinated. The program is now expanding for everyone. I have to admit that for a public health program (shots are only done through clinics run by the city, not by family doctors) it is working really well. They have a website that's updated several times a day, and they are using Twitter and RSS feeds to keep people up to date on wait times at the clinics and so forth.

    We were all very glad to get Emily back.

  5. does that mean blows goats? that's how i'm translating it.

    we haven't done the shot yet - the son of a good friend has special needs, a form of autism (he's 5) and it took 3 adults to hold him down for the needle. her re-telling of the story, and your story, has scared me away from the clinics!

  6. Ty was never in to the dramatics, he would just avoid the shots as long as possible and then pass out in the middle of them.

    Sorry to hear you had such a rough afternoon and hope the wine made the evening better:)

    And really, that phrase will never get tired. Never.

  7. Yes Karen, that's the correct translation. It comes in useful in both offical languages!

    The clinics are really well run. Kanata was doing walk-ins and it was very quick and efficient. Except for Rae's dramatics.

    Thanks, Jo. The wine did help. And you're right, that phrase will not get tired. Ever.

  8. Whoa. That's some trauma. You have the patience of a saint you do.

  9. We got them early on, since Angus has asthma, and the EMT guy said he would give them to me and Eve too. Angus was nervous but okay. Eve didn't quite display the same pyrotechnics she did for the flu shot last year, but she did try to bolt at the last minute. I'm surprised Rachel was the only one freaking out, when we were there it was every second kid. As we were walking out, Eve looked at one wailing thrashing boy and said "at least I wasn't as bad as him". Sounds like you handled it better than a lot of other parents did.

  10. My fear is that Cass will get bigger and I won't be able to hold him next year....

    Must look into those patches. Clever Mom, you!

  11. Jazz - thanks, it was fairly traumatic. I tried for patience because she was truly distraught, if she'd been a horse, you would have been able to see the whites of her eyes. She wasn't in control and needed talking down.

    Biblio - I am just praying this gets better with time, because the 'magic patches' were all I had left to mitigate the fear, and they didn't work for Rae. Well, they worked in that she didn't feel it, but they didn't help with the fear.

    Days - I'm worried about not being able to hold Rae next year either. I heard about the patches on CBC1 one afternoon driving home. You ask the pharmacist for them, they are behind the counter, but don't need a prescription. They were about $4 each -- small price to pay for making vaccinations less painful. It worked really well for Leah.

  12. Anonymous11:53 AM

    I want an entire outfit made out of magic patches. Wouldn't that be cool? Walking through life completely numb? Bullets bouncing off my chest; springing right back up after being run down by a Mack truck; being oblivious to knife-wielding muggers....

  13. XUP - I think you want to be the Terminator.

  14. Got mine at work from the school nurse. Painless...but funny to watch the library aide get so squeamish that she had to lie down.

  15. ah poor little thing. I got mine yesterday and it didn't hurt a bit but I was very brave. nobody bought me a DVD after tho'.
    p.s. Love that Neil Young reference. :-)