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Tiny Gift

August 20, 2011

My son took the top of the bug spray with him when he went outside to play.  We like to make sure that our children use bug spray because they have such terrible reactions to mosquito bites.  Soon he came back inside and handed me this tiny gift, a yellow flower just the right size for the “vase” he put it in.

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He starts kindergarten on Monday.  We have his new bookbag packed with his school supplies and some ideas for what he wants in his lunchbox.  I met his teacher on Thursday.  I filled out all the paperwork that he brought back from open house and even had to take him to the doctor on Wednesday for a last minute polio vaccination that had been overlooked.

The varicella vaccination that he got at his 5 year check-up was really scary because the nurse could not get the plunger in the syringe to go down, so she had to stick his leg 3 times.  He tensed up and screamed and had us both in tears.  I promised him that he didn’t need another shot until he was 12 years old, but then the school nurse called me when she noticed that he still needed a polio booster.  Somehow it was overlooked by everyone at the checkup.  So on Wednesday I told him we had to run some errands.  We dropped off books at the library and a prescription at the pharmacy and then I told him that we had to go to the doctor’s office.  He asked who had the appointment and what it was about, but I didn’t tell him.

We got there about 15 minutes before the staff was ready to take him, so we played in the waiting room with the toys.  Then I whispered to him that he needed an “immunization” because he didn’t know that word yet.  I was hoping not to scare him.  He nervously asked if it was a shot, and I said it was.  Then he started screaming and trying to get out of my arms.

I asked for a lot of help holding him down on the table.  I think 4 members of the staff were in the room helping me, apart from the nurse who administered the shot, but I couldn’t see because I was crying.  It was over very quickly of course, and we wiped our tears with tissues and got our suckers and stickers and silly bands and hugs.

We immediately took the updated immunization record to the school nurse and hung out in her office for a few minutes, looking at photos of her grandson and a scorpion encased in a glass paperweight.

I am relieved he still thinks I am deserving of this tiny gift.  I am filled with love for my sweet boy.

  1. August 21, 2011 2:16 am

    My oldest son was diagnosed with a liver disease at the age of 18 months. The following six months got him two separate hospitalizations, a liver biopsy, and weekly doctor visits with lab orders for blood work each time. At 18 months, he recognized the hospital lab and would tense up every time we passed it, even if we weren’t going inside for his blood to be drawn. His veins were tiny, and the lab technicians were rarely able to get blood on the first poke, so it was always a traumatic experience that left us both sweaty and in tears.

    Eventually the visits to the pediatrician and liver specialist grew further apart, but as an appointment approached, he always wanted to know if they would draw his blood. I never wanted to lie to him, but I hated to have him worry himself sick over it. I think I finally told him it was a possibility (it was ALWAYS part of the appointment), but since I wasn’t the doctor, I couldn’t say for sure. I’m not sure if it ever helped him feel more calm, but it didn’t seem fair to spring it on him, and the doctors didn’t need to seem any more villainous than they already did.

    I apologize for the length of this comment. It isn’t really relevant, but reading about your experience made me remember back to that traumatic period in our lives, and I wanted you to know that I empathize with you. I know how hard it is to hold a child down while he’s screaming. It’s heartbreaking, even though you know it’s necessary. I was sure Alex would develop a needle phobia, or at least a lifelong hatred of hospital labs, but about the time he turned 6, he went in for a draw and didn’t make a sound, and hasn’t been bothered by needles since. Hopefully, your son will overcome his immunization trauma, too.

    Hugs to you both!

  2. August 22, 2011 1:23 pm

    What a sweet present to receive. As yet, we don’t have our own children, but I have about 2000 children at my schools. A number of them (particularly in the lower grades) like to give me origami, wild flowers and such bits of innocence. It makes me feel a little like a child and a lot like someone honored highly.

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