Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Flu Shot Good, Flu Bad

'Tis the season when parents of young and/or asthmatic children everywhere drag their screaming bundles of joy in for flu shots. What a joy and a delight knowing that I, as a parent, am doing everything in my power to ensure reasonably good health during flu season. Well at least I'm hoping we don't all come down with the flu together. Or rather, if they do come down with the flu, Mr. W. and I can comfort each other with the knowledge that we did our best.

I have had one close encounter with the REAL flu. I'm not talking about those bugs where you are sick for a day or two, but then get back to normal within a week or two. I'm talking about the one minute you're fine and the next you're slammed with a 103 degree fever, sprawled on the floor hoping the world will stop spinning, afraid to pick up your kid because you may pass out on her, and takes a month to recover flu. I also managed to come down with strep throat at the same time. Do you know how difficult it is to swallow antibiotics while trying not to yak and with your throat so swollen you're not sure how well you can breathe? It's up there with changing a flippy-floppy nine-month old's slimy-poopy diaper while containing the poop to diaper, trash bag and wipes. In other words, darn difficult.

All to reinforce that I absolutely do not want my babies to endure that misery, so I push for the flu shots. Since S. is asthmatic and L. is 10 months old, I have added incentive to vaccinate. So yesterday morning, I made appointments to see the vaccination nurse, grabbed the kiddos from daycare and headed off to the clinic for their shots.

Only after I had S. securely buckled in her carseat did I break the news that we were going to the doctor's office for shots. She handled it with usual 3 year old vigor and asked 'Why?' about every 4.7 seconds for the twenty minutes it took to drive to the clinic. We settled down in the waiting room where S. counted the blue ornaments, the red ornaments, the stars and the drums on the lobby Christmas tree. My favorite nurse called us back and set us up in an examining room where I filled out paperwork that authorized the vaccinations and promised that neither kid was sick with the flu at that time. Halfway through the paperwork, S. looked at me and said, 'My throat hurts.'

'Ha ha, you little stinker,' I thought, 'you are not getting out of this flu shot.'

I finished the paperwork, read a story about some kid named Alexander who wasted a lot of money on bandaids 3 times, when S. announced, 'Momma, my throat hurts.'

'Okay, S. open wide and look at the ceiling...' There it was, in all its brilliant red glory, a pair of tonsils about 3 times normal size and covered in puss pockets. I felt around on her neck thinking, it's just the sinus drainage causing that appearance, and those nodes were swollen.

The nurse came back to administer the vaccines. When I told her what was up, she went ahead and vaccinated L. (who didn't even squawk, I'm so proud) and scheduled a work-in appointment with our doctor within that hour. Trying to convince myself that S. wasn't really sick, I told the nurse and the doctor I thought she might be faking in order to get out of a flu shot.

She wasn't.

Now S. gets to spend the day at Grandma and Grandpa's while I get to wallow in the guilties for having doubted my precious daughter. Sheesh, did I learn NOTHING from Chicken Little after retellinging it something like 346 times?


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