Today I took the Fiend in to see her doctor for a very belated five year well kiddo check up. She turned five in May. The reason I brought her was because the nurse at her school called the other day to very sweetly remind me the Fiend was way behind on her booster shots. The nurse needed to do her end of the year paperwork and really needed to have updated records for everyone.
This of course meant shots. The Fiend hasn’t had shots for awhile. She can’t get through brushing her hair in the morning without crying lately. I was not looking forward to this trip.
The feeling of impending doom was exacerbated by her extreme overtiredness the morning of the appointment. She had just not been able to fall asleep the night before and was rockin’ the purple circles under her baby blues. Bad news.
We arrived at the office and the Fiend was in good spirits. We were joking around, laughing and snuggling while we waited. She made a new friend. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad.
Her name was called and we followed the nurse down labyrinthine hallways to a small room near a nurse’s station. The Fiend happily cooperated with the weighing, measuring and eye examination. She had her blood pressure checked, her temperature taken and her pulse gauged. Healthy as a horse.
The nurse then made the mistake of asking her if anything was bothering her today. The Fiend is a bit of a drama queen and particularly relishes the role of martyr. She explained to the nurse that her legs were hurting her at school all the time. In fact they were hurting her right then.
The nurse finished her routine and told us the doctor would be in soon. The Fiend began to moan about her legs. I could see where this was going.
When Dr. Jeff arrived in the room the Fiend was slumped down on the table frowning with gusto. Dr. Jeff obligingly examined her legs and declared she simply needed to more careful not to get so many bruises. He went about the rest of the check up.
The Fiend was not cooperative. She wouldn’t answer questions. She pouted. She pretended her legs wouldn’t work because they hurt so terribly.
I told her she needed to cooperate. She didn’t. I told her she was at one. She scowled at me. I gave her the “the only reason I haven’t lost my temper is because Dr. Jeff is here” look. She crossed her arms and looked in the other direction.
When Dr. Jeff was done he told us the Fiend needed six boosters. Six! This was not good.
He left the room and the Fiend and I had a quick conversation in hushed tones about why her behavior was not acceptable. She told me that she was going to have a bad day and not do anything fun at all. I told her that was her choice. She told me it was my fault.
The nurse poked her head in to let us know it would be a few minutes. She also let us know that the Fiend didn’t need one of the shots on the list. That took a bit of the pressure off. But just a bit.
The nurse came in followed by a bigger male nurse. They had the shots. They the Fiend to sit on my lap and asked me to hold her arms down. I felt nauseous. They came at her from both sides. She refused to look away and close her eyes. Then they struck.
For a brief but beautiful moment I thought, “OK, this isn’t so bad”. The Fiend said “Ow” and appeared to be OK. But then a horrible expression came over her face. And then she screamed.
The nurse said, “I know sweetie, it stings. That’s because they were refrigerated. Ready for the next ones?”
I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready for any of it. My baby was sitting on my lapping wailing, tears streaming down her face and I was holding her arms down. Kids get punished for that on the playground.
Round two was no better. The nurses covered up her puncture wounds with band aids and told her how well she had done. And she really had. She didn’t try to get away or squirm around. She just sat very still and sobbed. It was horrible.
She was given a Christmas pencil for her troubles and we made our way back to school. The Fiend sat in the back seat sniffling and wiping her eyes. I felt like the worst mom in the world.
I know that it is important for her to have these boosters. I understand it keeps her safe and healthy. But can’t they get someone else to hold her down while they do it? Or at least give me a drink first?