Thursday, July 31, 2008

Good Shooting!

Well, Abby and I began our four year tradition of registering her for high school this Monday. Other than standing in long lines with hundreds of other newbies and their newbie parents, the day was fairly uneventful. She got what appears to be a great schedule and we didn't have to pull a "Daniel" and wait in line to beg a counselor for a schedule change. What a relief! The only snag that day was one we had already anticipated. The school nurse confirmed that Abby had to have a shot before she could go to school.

So on Tuesday I sent James and Abby out the door bright and early to get her shot at the county health department. Meanwhile, I headed to the next town over to get my hair cut. Unfortunately James and Abby forgot to take her shot records with them and by the time they came home and returned to the shot clinic, the line was too long and she couldn't get her shot that morning. You know what that means. I had to take her back in the afternoon.

Now the reason I sent James with Abby in the first place is that she doesn't do very well with shots and I thought she might do better for him than for me. Now my plan was foiled. Abby and I headed off for the afternoon shot clinic a little after 12:00. The clinic didn't begin until 1:00, but I had a sneaking suspicion that we needed to get there early. Sure enough, they put out the numbers for the clinic at 12:30 and they were gone by 12:35. We got number 6 and continued to wait among all the other restless kids and tired parents. I decided the wait was far worse than any shot could be, but who was I to decide this? Abby was the one facing the needle.

When they called our number I had to take some completed forms and Abby's shot record to the front desk. This is where I got the bad news. Abby needed not one, but two shots. In fact, they highly suggested two more shots for a total of four. Sorry, but I know my daughter and I knew there was no way she could endure four shots after sitting there for an hour and a half. She might get up and storm out when I told her she needed two, in fact! But, alas, she didn't. She took the news like a trooper and we continued to wait.

Now I get to the real point of my story. You see Abigail desperately hates needles. She doesn't just dislike the pain. She can't stand the thought of the needle going into her skin. She has major, major problems with shots and blood tests. The only thing I can liken this fear to is my own dislike of possums. Yes, you read correctly, possums. I can't stand possums. Of course I am not required by law to go anywhere near a possum on a regular basis, so I don't have to deal with my fear very much. But if someone did require me to sit down and hold two possums for even a few seconds, I am sure I would behave much the same way Abby did when she had to sit down for two shots. I would try to beg off, whimper, whine, and shake. That's exactly what Abby did. She tried to be brave, bless her heart, but she just had a terrible time of it.

That was the one downside, I figured, to taking her to a crowded public health clinic for her shots. Would the nurses be frazzled, impatient, and even mean? You know the typical caricature of a public health nurse? I was a little concerned. But guess what? Turns out two of the nicest nurses I've ever met gave Abby her shots. (That's right, I said two. Though technically the second one didn't have to do anything. She just popped in, I assume, because she could hear the tears and whining and knew something was up. She just talked to us and tried to distract Abby a little.) As a mom, I was so grateful for nice, caring, professional, and empathetic public health care nurses. Who would have thought? Abby took far more than her allotted time to receive her shots, but the nurses didn't seem bothered by that at all. Even when I apologized for taking so much time and tried to hurry Abigail along, they hushed me and assured Abby that she could take as long as she needed. I felt sorry for all the folks still in the waiting room, but I felt so grateful for two nurses who were completely focused on helping my daughter work through her fears. What a blessing.

Just goes to show you, blessings can pop up in the most unexpected places. In fact, that's what makes them blessings to begin with, I suppose. We left that day thankful that Abigail doesn't have to have another shot for 10 more years, unless we opt for the other two optional shots they recommended. I'd kind of like for her to get them, but right now we've done all the shots we can handle. (Before you write me a comment telling me I should get her those shots, consider whether you're willing to go with my extremely needle-phobic daughter to get them! I'm telling you, it will wear you out!) We ended the day with a trip to Starbucks (whatever happened to ice cream?) and headed home for naps. Blessing, yes. But very stressful still!

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