Friday, October 2, 2009

Germs, Stools, and Flu Shots

Today was Reilly's 5 year-old check up.  No biggie, right?  Oh, it was a biggie.  Having Maddie around all the time means she gets the privilege of accompanying me everywhere I go.  Being that Brendan is 2, he also gets to enjoy that privilege.  My mom has the privelege of being able to help me out when I need it, and today, I needed it.

It was a perfect plan in my head.  Pick up Reilly at 12, get the kids lunch, eat in the car, meet my mom at the doctor's office, Mom, Maddie and Brendan watch a movie in the car with the windows down (it was a beautiful day) while Reilly and I run in and see the doctor.

At about 11:55, as I was on my way to the school, my phone rings.  It was Shawn telling me to see if I could get Maddie and Brendan in to get flu shots while I was at the doctor's office, so we wouldn't have to make 2 trips.  Yeah, easy for him to say--he was sitting in a quiet room with a bunch of well behaved teenagers who were not angst ridden about getting shots in their arms.  So, I agreed, called the doctor's office to see if I was able to do it, and hence began the whining and complaining.  The nurse said that they didn't get the nasal mist this year.  Just the shots.  That's just great. 

I have to admit, I'm a worrier.  I also have severe anxiety when it comes to knowing I'm going to endure something painful or uncomfortable.  For instance, I find it almost impossible to get a glaucoma test.  I can't stick my head in a contraption knowing good and well that this contraption is going to blow air on my eye balls.  I just can't do it.  If I keep my head in it, then I inevitably close my eyes at the exact moment the air puff blows.  It's the suspence of knowing that it's going to happen.  I also can't stand the eye ball numbing drops.  Because I know that I can't feel my eye balls, and that bothers me.  But, alas, I can endure a flu shot.  So, Maddie has this worry/anxiety thing that she picked up from her mother.  I just choose to worry about more important things, like puffs of air....

Anyhoo, for the next hour and a half, I had to listen to things like, "Do they have to give the shot to me?" and "You're going to have to pay money for me to get the shot, and I don't want you spending your money on me." and "I just really feel like I'm not going to get the flu, so can I just skip the shot?"  All of this coming from the person who has taken thousands of shots, thousands of finger pricks, and hundreds of needles and tiny tubes in her back side. 

Normally I'm not a germ-o-phobe, but the swine flu scare has sent me into sort of a panic because it could be much more dangerous for a child with a chronic illness, than an otherwise healthy child.  I spent the 15 minutes in the waiting room with Reilly applying the provided hand sanitizer and kindly reminding him not to touch anything or put his hands near his face.

Everything was going smoothly until they called Reilly's name to "come on back" and told me that the other 2 kids should come back, too.  It wasn't going to take long for his check up, then they would all get the shots.  The nurse took Reilly to weigh him, and I ran out to the car to get Mom, Maddie and Brendan.  I could tell it wasn't going to be pretty when Maddie walked down the hall with tears in her eyes.

All 5 of us get escorted into a tiny and very warm examination room.  As usual, immediately 3 things start to happen simultaneously.  Reilly, who is sitting on the table in his Spiderman boxer briefs, starts talking about something, in which to demonstrate meant he had to put his entire hands in his mouth, and when asked not to do that, immediately rubs his eyes with the previous saliva/germ covered hands.  Maddie is quietly crying in anticipation on the floor, with her blood sugar soaring by this point.  Brendan is running full speed back and forth in this 5x8 square foot room, in which there are 2 chairs, a stool, a desk, the paper covered examination table, and five people.

So being the worn out and frazzled mother that I am, I first asked him to stop (knowing full and well that he wouldn't have any part of that) then I put him in "time out" which consisted of the high stool that I knew he couldn't get down from.  Now at this point I am sweating, both from the heat of the room, and from the disposition of all 3 of my kids.  The sweet nurse sticks her head into our room and says, "I'm just putting the SIX  NEEDLES for the kids' SHOTS in the bin on the door.  I didn't want you to think someone was knocking on the door."  Yeah, thanks.  Way to bring it up.  Now everyone has a precise mental picture. 

You can always tell when the doctor is about to come into your room because you can hear the papers being shifted around as they look through your chart really quickly to know what's going on with you.  As I heard Reilly's papers being shifted, the door knob was turning, and I look over at Brendan and he is in mid air.  He lands on his head with the loudest "bonk" sound that you can imagine.  He didn't land on the side of his head, or his shoulder and head.  He landed flat on the back of his head.  And right as the doctor was opening the door.

So now I have 2 crying kids, and 1 in his underwear, and we haven't even started the check up yet.  A few minutes later, Brendan stops crying only to have a noticable goose egg on his head, but Maddie was still in a fetal position crying, this time on my Mom's lap.  I'm never in the right state of mind to ask questions of the doctor at my kids' check ups.  I'm always trying to keep people from crying, and I'm always sweating from the stress of having a doctor talk to me about my child, but not really listening because someone is inevitably acting up.

When it was shot time, Maddie went first, and started hyperventalating.  When the doctor got her calmed down, she gave her the shot.  It was somewhat remeniscent of the first time I gave Maddie a shot of insulin, but not quite as ear-piercing.  Of course, she looked right at the needle and started screaming, not to cease for probably a minute or two.  Fortunately, my mom had a good grip on her.  I had visions of the letters "HI" on her meter.  Stress and anxiety causes her blood sugar to go sky high, and this was definitely stress and anxiety for her, and for me. 

Unfortunately, Reilly received his kindergarten shots, so he got 4 shots instead of 1.  I heard him say things that I hadn't ever heard him say before.  "Get me away from her!" and "This has got to stop now!" and "I can't believe you're letting her do this to me!"  It was quite unsettling for me.  The worst part is having to hold them down so they can't move, except for turning their heads to see the 4 inch long needles.

Then it was Brendan's turn.  He was sleepy, and sweaty, and had a huge bump on his head.  I set him up on the table and she gave him his flu shot.  He didn't wince, he didn't cry, and he didn't even change his sweet expression from a blank look.  He just sat there and got his shot, and watched the whole time.  I think God gave me him to help my calm my anxious nerves and give me a periodic breath of fresh air in my stress filled life.

When we got out to the car, Maddie checked her blood and she was in the 500's.  That figures.....but at least she won't get the flu!  


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