Posted by: husbandandfatheroffour | April 21, 2017

SHOT-N-AWE

It’s 2009 and the day started off as an ordinary fall Saturday, everyone happy go lucky as we were going to head into town and out for lunch.  Our kids were then 12, 9, 8 and 6. They were all laughing and getting along with each other and we, the parents, were lovingly gazing into each others eyes.  When your day starts off like that what possibly could go wrong?  Right?  Well there was one little hiccup in the road that the kids didn’t know about that morning.  One thing we had to do before we could go to town and get lunch.

“Nothing big,” I told them, “but we have to make a pit stop real quick before we go into town.”

“OK.” They answered with a smile.  Oh how we loved those smiles and how little did we know that this little pit stop would end those smiles not just for the day but for the weekend.  In fact I am not sure if some of those smiles hadn’t been lost forever.

We pull up in front of the elementary school and the kids looked puzzled.  They looked even more puzzled when they saw tons of other kids going in too.  They asked what was going on and I told them I would explain when we get inside.  As we walked up the sidewalk toward the entry doors the kids were between excited because they saw friends and nervous because they didn’t know why we were there.  That all changed to nervousness quickly once we entered and they saw some kids coming out crying.  It was now time to tell them what was going on.  They were there to get a shot.  It was the H1N1 craze and all kids and first responders were getting free shots so on the side of precaution we decided to get them theirs and I would also get mine since I was a first responder at that time.

“NOPE!  I am not going to do it!” My youngest son said.  Well the other kids heard him defiantly tell me no so they followed suit in telling us no, except our oldest daughter who was trying to be brave.  I was able to calm them down and told them the needle was very small and you barely feel it and I would even go first.  I finally got them to agree.  I might have said something a little mean to build their confidence like those other kids were just being big babies.  Who would have thought that once they entered the gym doors the thought of looking like a big baby didn’t matter at all.  I know what my wife and I saw and that were a few kids here and there crying but what our kids saw was every child in the gym screaming in pain with tears flowing down their face.

I told them it would be alright but before I could finish they were already starting to back up towards the exit while adamantly saying one word over and over, “NOPE!”

The two of us were able to coral them back this time and get in line.  I watched two different kids get the shot with out a whimper.  I said, “Look kids watch this next one get their shot.  I watched many now get a shot without crying so watch them and you will see everything will be fine.”

The nurse grabs the needle, grabs a chunk of skin in the back of the arm and then sticks the child just like the ones before, puts the medicine in and then pulls the needle out.  It seemed to go in slow motion for a second and the child seemed fine and I started to smile at the kids and just about the time I was going to tell them, “see I told you it won’t hurt,” the child let out a murderous scream.  Legs kicked, arms flailed, and tears rolled.  You would have thought the nurse just cut that kids arm off.  The kids look at her, look at us, back to her, and then back at us again and it started.  They started screaming bloody murder like they had just gotten the shot themselves.  I am pretty sure they even had phantom pain because they grabbed their arms like they hurt.  Before I could even grab them, the three youngest all took off in different directions.  The bleachers were down and they shot towards them but all at different locations.

They were screaming as we chased them as if we were attempting to abduct them.  I am sure every other kid at this time that was crying had now stopped to take in what was going on.  Every other parent watched in disbelief.  Up the bleachers from one end to the other and back down the bleachers they ran.  Across the gym to the other side weaving in and out of all the other people just to keep away from us and the whole time they did this they were screaming and crying.

Finally, after what seemed to be several minutes, we caught the two boys.  A couple minutes later we captured the youngest.  Finally we had them in our grips and started walking them toward the nurses again.  Their next strategy was to go limp and start flopping around like a fish while screaming, “You’re hurting me, you’re hurting me!”  I scoped the room and now there wasn’t a single person not looking at us.  I am even pretty sure some were shaking their head with thoughts of us needing to take control of our kids.  “Well guess what I have control of his arm and right now that is good enough,” I thought.  I figured everyone is already looking at us so I decided to start dragging the floppy fish wanna bees.  After a few feet he looked at me like, “Are you really doing this?”  I looked down at him and said, “One way or the other you are getting this shot even if I have to give it to you all myself!”   This seemed to work, as they stood up and starting walking, still very nervous but walking none the less.

Calm had taken over slightly while we waited in line.  The kids got to witness a few kids before them get the shot and not cry.  Their older sister got her shot and told them it didn’t hurt at all. Things were looking up.  “Next,” the nice nurse said with a smile as she looked at us but the kids must have saw Nurse Ratchet because the screaming, crying, and flopping started all over again.  I dragged both my boys to the chair with me and my wife took our daughter.  I sat down and forced each boy to sit on one of my knees.  Because of this I could only hold them around the waist which then allowed them to start throwing their arms and legs in all directions to keep the nurse at bay.  With this behavior I had to change my strategy up so I wrapped each of my legs around theirs and then wrapped my arms around theirs trapping their arms against their body.  Since they were only 8 and 9 and on the small side, I could do this but it was still tough.

The nurse comes over with the needle and just about sticks my youngest son when he gets an arm loose and starts to scream even louder, “You are a liar!  You are a liar!  You said you would go first!”  I told him he was right so I told the nurse if she could give me the shot first so they can watch I would appreciate it.  “I want to show them it doesn’t hurt,” I told her.   She smiled and said that was fine.  It wasn’t a happy smile it was more of, “Whatever gets your family the hell out of here,” kind.

The nurse grabs a pinch of skin on my upper arm and sticks the needle in.  The boys are intently looking at me and with those eyes on me I started to kick my legs and scream that it hurt so bad.  Total fear took over in their eyes.  Fear so bad that they were paralyzed and couldn’t move and on the verge of passing out.  I started laughing and told them I was kidding that I didn’t feel a thing.  I am pretty sure the nurse wanted to stick that needle in my eye after that.

Finally everyone got their shots and we get back in the van to go get lunch.  It is nothing but complete silence. Looking into the back seat, hoodies were pulled over heads and glowering, wet eyes gazed at us from under the hoods. We asked if it hurt bad enough that all the kicking, screaming, and crying was worth it.  After asking a few times, and us poking fun at what happened, we finally got an answer about half-way to town…with crooked smiles they said, “No.”

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