Thursday, November 1, 2012

Flu Shots

I've had it up to HERE with flu shots.  And by here, I mean there, because I passed my limit with shots about three years ago and kept going anyway.

image courtesy of Free Stock

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 done a "good girl", Birdie gives her an incredulous look and mumbles something like "you're only giving me this stupid sticker because Mom kept me from kicking you".  More likely, that nurse is handing out stickers to keep her hands busy, so she won't be tempted to wrap them around my little demon's darling's throat.

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?


  1. You can't win, can you? I just don't have enough belief that the flu shot really works to go through the hassle. And that's for me, forget about the lil' ones. I was a teacher too. NEVER got the flu. Of course, I KNOW what happens to me and me alone is merely anecdotal. Now that I've said this publicly, I will be the first to get an extra virulent strain of the flu this year!!

  2. Hilarious! No suggestions, as clearly I am not good at getting young man to his shot either. After literally holding him down, cajoling, bribing, and all sorts of (empty) threats about the severity of the flu epidemic he was sure to succumb to, dr. and I gave up. Mind you, boy is fully adult size, has Aspergers. On the way home, I asked him why on earth he had such a fit over such a small thing. He said, "Haven't you heard shots can cause autism? I can't risk that!"OMG! A little kn owledge is indeed a dangerous thing! So happens his appointment is tomorrow. Hoping for the best.

    1. LOL! THAT"S hilarious! If anyone knows how dangerous a little knowledge can be, it's the parents of an aspie! Hope your appointment goes well!

  3. There are NO flu shots allowed in my house. NONE! In the last 15 years with 3-5 kids, we've had the flu 3 years... and those were the 3 years that someone got the flu shot. I know the science. I know, it's coincidence, but my theory of not having flu shots works so I'll take my chances.

    1. Sounds like your method is working, J. I'd stick with it! :)

  4. Oh how funny. I can remember giving my mother the same hell while getting my flu shots! Newest follower from the hop! Happy Friday!

  5. I have till date not taken the flu shot and neither have my kids and we have till date not contracted it *touches wood*

  6. LOL are you holding your breath for her to let you know that she's choosing life?? Hope you have a dome of healthy over the whole household this year!


  7. You are one brave mama! I love Birdie's thought process and ummm expressive language. ;P. Don't even attempt anything "optional" with Ri. The last time he had to get an IV...he yelled at the nurse "HEY...THAT HURT! STOP PINCHING ME!".

    1. Doh! Our kids sure know how to make the healthcare professionals of the world feel appreciated. LOL

  8. Neither me nor my kids have ever gotten the flu shot nor do I plan on it!

    Thanks for sharing with my NO RULES Weekend Blog Party :)

  9. Flu shot update: He ASKED the nurse for one. Yes he did. Then requested some blood work as well. Only felt the need to eat and eat after while his blood supply replenished itself--his words.You just never know what you're gonna get, you just never know...

    1. Wow! I'd be more than happy to exchange a huge meal for a drama-free visit to get shots! That boy deserves it! :)

  10. I had my first flu shot when I was pregnant. Up till then I have never had one and never had the flu! Who knows what they actually put in those things...haha.

    I found you on the Friendly Friday Blog Hop! I am a new follower on GFC. Looking forward to more!


  11. kids hate shots, but the hate the flu more..ugh! Thank you for joining in the fun at the Thursday Favorite Things hop. Happy Tuesday wishes xo P.S. sorry I'm so late visiting :-)

  12. This is hilarious. I'm sure it is absolute torture for you, and I can't even imagine going through this, but it does make a funny story. Your kids have a way with words!