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I'm not talking about the flu shots for myself, but the ones for my kids. I'll get my flu shot every time it is available to me, because the pros of the shot outweigh the cons. For me. When it comes to Princess and Birdie, however, I cannot envision a single scenario or incentive that would make the headache of getting them vaccinated worth it. No lotto winnings, no promise of luxuries or prizes-- no one could possibly incentivize that experience enough to make me go to a flu clinic with my daughters ever again. Ever. I have given it my best efforts in previous years. I mean, come on-- protecting your child from a preventable illness, in my opinion, is what any good mother would do! W-heh-helllll.... I am done with being a good mother by this definition. It. Ain't. Worth it-- their immunity to the flu, I mean. I'd rather spend 10 days of my life nursing a flu-ridden child back to health, than spend the 40 minutes it typically takes to get through the flu shot clinic. I am being completely serious. Those that know me well know I do, on occasion, resort to the use of hyperbole when describing certain events, and my husband was sure this was one of those times. This is not one of those times. I really would rather deal with fever, sweats, chills, body aches, and vomit for over a week, than sit at the flu shot clinic with my children for less than an hour. Hubby finally came along last year so that he could get the full experience, too-- and now he knows I was not joking. When I mentioned it was flu shot season again in October, Hubby suggested that instead of getting the free shots that our healthcare provider doles out, I might ought to look into the nasal mist vaccine, which would cost us about $70 for the two girls. Seventy dollars versus free, and we both felt like we would be getting a terrific deal if there was no drama at vaccination time. It is THAT BAD!
Here's how a trip to the flu shot clinic typically goes down on the Crazy Train.
Once I have properly steeled my nerves (which can take days), I load the Crazies up in the car and head for the clinic. This alone is a painful experience. I have test-driven several variations of this part of the trip. I have tried telling the girls in advance. I've tried telling them in advance and promising some bribe if they are good. I have tried springing it on them and promising a bribe in the parking lot. I have tried carrying the bribe along, so that they can look at the prize they are trying to earn. Every version of telling them the shot is coming has an upside and a downside. If I tell them early, the drama begins in the car and the drive over is just as stressful as the flu clinic itself. If I spring the news of the shot on my angels in the parking lot of the clinic, they direct their drama at me rather than the clinic nurses. Oh, and the bribes don't mean a hill of beans to them. It's ugly.
What's the drama, you ask? How bad can it be, you ask?
Well, well, well, well, well.
When my girls hear the words "flu shot", panic instantly contorts their pretty faces into frightened, yet equally evil-looking masks of horror. They start to breathe faster. They become twitchy. They start whining, which shifts into moaning, followed by self-rocking and crying. Once we are in the clinic and waiting our turn, the crazy really gets kicked up a notch-- the name calling and inquisition begins. Words like "sadistic witches" and "torturers of small children" begin to be used in reference to the nurses administering the vaccines. Once we are in the chair and face to face with whichever poor nurse drew the short straw, the name calling escalates and the nurses become "dealers of death" and "hateful devil-spawn". Birdie demands to know "You mean to tell me you don't feel bad for injecting me with death?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?!! I HOPE YOU ALL DIE IN A VERY PAINFUL WAY!!!" Oh, and all of this is going on while I have my legs wrapped around her legs, and my arms wrapped around her arms. On top of that, she is gnashing her teeth and trying to wriggle free because she intends to do whatever it takes to get out of there. Meanwhile, I am trying to apologize to the nurse without getting bitten myself. When it's over and the saintly nurse offers her a sticker for being
And then I do it all again with Crazy Number 2, who is in an absolute frenzy at this point after listening to her sister. It's unbelievably excruciating.
Last week, based on my previous experiences, I announced to my girls that I would not be making them get their flu shots this year. Do you really blame me?! Birdie was immediately suspicious.
Birdie: Why not?
Me: Because I'm tired of the drama. You can just get the flu, as far as I'm concerned. The flu has got to be easier to deal with than you two at the flu clinic!
B: *narrowing her eyes* Why did we get a shot all the times before, if you don't care that I get the flu?
Me: I thought getting the flu would suck worse than getting the shots, but I was obviously wrong. Having the flu is no fun, but neither is taking you to get your shot. I'll take my chances.
B: Take your chances... Oh my god! *gasp* Mom, can you DIE from the flu?! Are you risking my LIFE?!
Me: Well, it's not very likely that you will die from the flu, but it does happen. Usually only very unhealthy people die from the flu.
B: If I have the flu, I will be very unhealthy, Mom! I can't believe this. You're unbelievable.
Me: That's not what I meant. I mean people who are already really sick with something else are usually the one's that die of the flu.
B: Usually. Hmmph. So you're saying there's still a chance I'll die?
Me: I suppose, but it's a super-duper small one. I'm totally not concerned. It's more likely that you'll just feel like total crap for a week. You'll feel too bad to even watch tv.
B: Oh. So there is still a chance. So, if I decide I don't want to risk my life by not getting my flu shot, what will I get if I go through with it? Is there a prize in it for me? Will you reward me for choosing life over death? I am considering doing the right thing here, but I need to know it'll be worth it.
Me: *rolling my eyes* Sure. You let me know when you're ready to "choose life", and I'll make the appointment with the nurse. And her needle.
I haven't heard back from Birdie yet, and it's been nearly two weeks. Big shocker, right?! I guess she decided to take her chances, after all.
Any suggestions on how to make the vaccination process less painful for everyone? What are your thoughts on flu shots in general?