This morning as I paid our deposit on our summer holiday I realised that it was time to check up on the family’s travel vaccinations and see whether we need any top ups or new ones. Getting injections is nobody’s idea of fun but I have to say that as a family we are particularly pathetic about it. Husband blames it on me as he says that the “cowardice in the face of needles” gene comes from my side of the family and I am afraid he is probably right.
Apart from falling off a chair once during a blood test (I didn’t actually pass out), I am fairly stoic about being injected. Although I have to admit that while I sit, waiting to be called in, the urge to bolt can be almost overwhelming. I imagine myself saying, ” I am so sorry, I think I left the bath running. I will be back in a few minutes,” and then hightailing it out of there, never to return.
My brother and sister on the other hand, are fainters. They have both passed out during or after their vaccinations on numerous occasions. Every time my long suffering mother would warn the doctor or nurse that they would probably faint, the response would be “Nonsense, they will be fine!”. This would be followed by silence as the jab was given and then a thud or a crash as one or other of them would hit the ground or a trolley full of medical equipment. Once my sister passed out on top of my mother (who is only 5′ 1″) after removing her newly pierced earrings and nearly swashed her like a bug. So I suppose it was to be expected when my own little darlings were less than brave when injection time came around.
When Teenage Daughter was about eight, she needed a blood test and I decided to take her to the doctor first thing in the morning with her brother, foolishly thinking that I could drop them at school straight afterwards. We were the first to arrive and as we went in to the “extraction room” my heart sank. Instead of the usual smiling nurse there was a very grim faced woman setting up her things. Surely the sensible thing to do with a nervous child is to talk to them and hide the enormous needle and syringe you are setting up? But no, this sadist waved the injection around in front of Small Daughter who had begun edging towards the door. Suddenly, with no warning the nurse grabbed her arm and began hitting it, obviously trying to raise a vein. Daughter squeaked and tried to pull her arm away, to no avail. The nurse swiftly inserted the needle while Daughter began to shriek like a tea kettle. Small Son looked on in horror and after putting his hands over his ears, ran out of the room into the waiting room full of people shouting “no, no, noooo..”.
The blood letting seemed to go on forever but after what was probably only a minute, the nurse finally took out the needle. Daughter kept on roaring and as we passed back through the group of people waiting their turn, I could see a desperate father trying to stop his own son from running off after hearing the sounds of horror coming from the extraction room. As we left, the receptionist suggested that I ring ahead next time so that they could arrange for us to have the bloodtest/injection in a room further away from the waiting room so we wouldn’t upset the other patients. After that, instead of taking the children straight into school, I took them for an extended hot chocolate and croissant stop, to calm all our nerves.
Ever since then, any form of injection is a major drama with the need for bribes or threats to get either child to the doctor’s surgery. Things are a bit easier now they are both at boarding school because if they need a vaccination, they are whisked off to the “San” with their friends for support (much more effective than Mother) and I just get the recriminations, moans about painful arms and gruesome details on Skype.
I have to admit that I was pleased when one of my friends complained over coffee that two out of three of her brood had passed out at their last vaccination and she had been forced to hang around the doctor’s surgery with them for over an hour to make sure it wasn’t an adverse reaction, while trying to explain to the nurses that this was a fairly normal occurrence.
It is nice to know we are not alone in our fear of needles and I live in hope that Teenage Daughter and Son will grow out of it, but I suspect that is wishful thinking as I am still waiting to grow out of it myself.