Thursday, April 8, 2010

The choice to vaccinate

Today was not supposed to be that stressful. I decided to work from home so I could more easily sort out my passport application and then later take the boys to their annual pediatrician appointment. The first part of that went smoothly. The rest? Well, I'll just say it shortened my lifespan. By ten years. And that's a conservative estimate.

I managed to muddle through my day, attend my meetings and even get Big Dog and Little Dog to the doctors office on time. This is no mean feat when you have to pick up children in two opposing directions from our house and bring them to a third location about equidistant between the other two pick up points. But I did it. And while I probably should get some kind of "Awesome Time Management and Trip Scheduling" award for it, I know I won't. It's just part of that whole "mom as unsung hero" thing we deal with every day. Even the bulk of the check up went well. The boys listened and followed instructions well. Ok, apart from the eye exam that Little Dog more or less told the nurse was taking too long and refused to participate any longer. I'm not sure how accurate the final assessment was given his attitude about the whole thing, but they didn't refer us to an optometrist, so I think I'll just call it good enough. When we got to the room and the doctor, a resident who was working in the practice that day, came in without our regular doctor, the boys were completely charming and cooperative. I know, it sounds completely unreal, but it happened. I promise.
Then midway through the appointment, Big Dog reminds me that he doesn't like shots and didn't want any. I told him to ask the doctor if there were any vaccinations required today. So he asked, and the doctor told him that he'd need to check, but we began a discussion of why we do vaccinations. The doctor and I both explained that vaccinations help prevent diseases that are way worse than the little stab and that even though no one enjoys vaccinations, they are an essential part of staying healthy. And they bought it. Especially Big Dog who found out a few minutes later that there were no shots due, so he was off the hook until he was 9 or 10. Score! Little Dog was not so lucky. He needed three boosters, but the propaganda campaign paid off. He was willing to get the shots and just wanted to get them done.

We finished the check up, talked to our regular doctor and then the nurse came in. Right before she arrived, Little Dog recanted. He no longer wanted shots. He just wanted to go. I reminded him of the importance of vaccinations and he agreed again, but with much less vigor. So when the nurse came in he climbed into my lap, we rolled up his sleeve and he got a jab. And then the screaming started. He no longer wanted the other shots. He was mad. He was begging with me, "NO, mama, NO!" and I had to hold my baby still while the clumsy nurse stabbed him twice more. It was so bad that Big Dog started crying out of sympathy and as the nurse prepped the third shot he yelled at me, "Mama! Little Dog doesn't want any more. Can't you hear him say it?"

I felt like hell when it was all done, and Little Dog was pissed. He was crying and shouting and telling me he didn't love me anymore. He even hit me then threatened to hit me again "Hard-so you'll cry too!" He was mad. I hadn't listened to him and I even held him firmly in place while the wicked nurse gave him the shots. In his mind, I was the problem. Even knowing that the shots were for his health and well-being didn't help me from feeling like the worst mother in the history of shitty moms. So I did what I do best, I caved and resorted to bribes. We got to the car and between the tears and reprimands from the boys, we agreed to head to Target.

When we got there we headed directly for the toys. On the way, Little Dog passed a rack of swim trunks featuring super heroes and demanded we head back. I, being fully steeped in guilt, did as he asked. We decided against the swim trunks and opted for new Batman t-shirts. When we headed off to the toy aisles, Little Dog clung to the side of the cart, holding on with one hand, his feet on the lower bar, the other hand whacking at the clothing racks. Yes, I know this is unsafe. Trust me, I know. After asking him to stop, he looked at me, glared, then wound up to give the rack one more monumental whack! And when he did, he had wound up so much, his other hand lost its grip and he fell, right off the cart and bashed his head on the corner of a clothing shelf foot. It was immediately clear he was injured. I swooped in and checked his scalp for a cut, I kissed and soothed him and I thought we were clear and counted us very very lucky. This was apparently a bit premature, a few minutes later he complained that something was hurting his ear and when I looked, his perfect little ear was bloody, purple and bloated.

I told the boys we needed to get Little Dog to the doctor to have his ear looked at. The screaming was almost instantaneous. Little Dog began howling, LOUDLY, that he did not like the doctor and he did not want another shot. When I told them we'd get the presents later, all hell broke loose so I ended up just rushing through the nearest check out lane to quickly buy the toys and get back to the car. Naturally this had to happen at rush hour, so the trip across town that usually takes 15 minutes took more than 30, and as I drove, Little Dog began to nod off in the car. Now I know precious little about head injuries, but I do know that you are supposed to watch out for kids falling asleep after a blow to their head. I kept telling him to stay awake and he kept telling me "I was just tired!" or "I was just being quiet. I like to be quiet!"
Finally we arrived at the ER at Children's Hospital and got checked in, and in the way of all injured children, he immediately began acting perfectly well and not at all like the cranky, sleepy, seriously injured kid I had rushed across town.

3 hours, 5 doctors and at least one Disney movie on the in room TV later, we were headed home. Mr. Dog joined us and we had waited out the observation period together. In the end, yes, he's fine. His ear, while swollen and purple, did not need stitches and the bruise did not need to be drained. In fact, he is complaining more about his arms being sore from the shots than he is about his ear. But while he may be perfectly fine, requiring only a check in with his primary doctor in a week to ensure things are healing up ok, I am now completely emotionally drained. I believe I require extensive wine therapy to recover. In fact, I'm working on that right now.

On a side note, a huge shout out to Children's Hospital. If your kid is hurt, sick or needs care, this is the place to go. Not only do they have top notch doctors for your child, they are damn nice to a mom who feels frazzled and guilty and weepy watching her boy suffer an improbable injury.

8 comments:

chihuahua5 said...

Sooooo glad little dog is OK and glad you keep vino well stocked in your abode

Fremont Mama said...

You know what I love about your blog...I can relate to so much of it and it makes me feel normal. Thank you for that!

mamamilkers said...

Oh my goodness! How scary! I am glad everything is okay in the end.

Juli Ryan said...

Crikey. Stupid shots. Relieved Little Dog is ok. Breathe...

Katherine said...

OH scary!

geekymummy said...

Poor little love. Hope he is feeling better. What a day!

mamikaze said...

Bribing is an essential part of any well-child exam. We have a milkshake promised to any child who receives a shot.
I give you the award "surviving two kids checkups and a freak accident" award." Your prize is a milkshake.

kimberlee said...

ok this totally made my cry. real tears. for all of you.

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