It's that time of year again when you don't have to look far to read or view some bit of news about flu season being just around the corner. And, with that comes the flu shot clinic on every corner.*
Our pediatrician's office runs a flu shot clinic three times a week during November. It's designed with ease-of-use and convenience in mind, apparently. Rather than burden me, the parent, with a specific appointment time, said office has a system where all you have to do is sign up for a clinic time a mere three or four months in advance and then you're given a window of time in which you can show up and have your kids vaccinated. It's kind of like the cable guy telling you they'll be at your house between noon and 5, except in reverse. You just show up during your assigned clinic time and play cable guy at their office instead of at home.
Today was our assigned day. Our assigned time was between 1:30 and 4 p.m. Because of some pesky details called naps and jobs, I knew we weren't going to arrive until about 3:48 p.m. and was braced for the wait. I picked up the boys at school and once we were all safely buckled I broke the news that we were going to have a special treat of Cold Stone Creamery this afternoon. Right after we waited for hours to get a shot.
I was mentally-prepared for some feedback on this plan but the surprise was that the commentary came not from Andrew but Thomas. Andrew calmly said that he would like to go first and that he would like mint ice cream when we were finished. Thomas had other thoughts.
The first thing he said was that he wanted Juice Stop, not Cold Stone. I assured him we could arrange that. Then, he sat quietly for a few minutes. Very quietly. Strangely quietly. When I finally asked him if he was alright he said, "I no need shot, mommy. I just have Juice Stop."
Andrew helped me explain to him that the shot was to *hopefully* keep him from getting a very bad sickness this winter and he assured us both, in a controlled yet forceful voice, that he "not get sick. Not get shot."
We rode along in silence for another 30 seconds or so before he began telling me that, "I okay, mommy. I no need shot. I okay." That, my friends, is what we call positive self-talk. He proceeded to say that approximately 1,349 more times between that spot in the road and the examination room. It was so repetitive that even Andrew the repeater was laughing out loud with me. He then told the receptionist, "I no get shot. I okay," and then he told the person who took us back to the exam room and, of course, he shared that discourse with the nurse giving the shots as well.
Andrew went first and didn't flinch. Thomas went next and insisted on having the shot in his arm just like Andrew rather than his leg. The nurse started to overrule him but then he started in with the, "I no get shot. I okay" and she relented.
The upshot is his arm is sore - sore like he went to bed with a cold pack on it at his request - and they've been officially vaccinated. Now all that's left to do is buy stock in Purell, hope they got it right this year and repeat the mantra. "I okay."
*I'm certain there are people out there, maybe even people who read this blog, who believe that flu shots are ineffective, unnecessary and possibly even unsafe. To you I say, you may be right. However, Andrew had the flu as a baby and it was horrible and both of my kids have "asthma" right on their medical charts so when the allergist and pediatrician tell you it's a must, I'm willing to give it a whirl.