Shot in the Dark

To immunize, or not to immunize. That is a controversial question.

I have read and researched a lot about it and both arguments are valid and very convincing.

What it comes down to is whether or not we want to deal with autism, MS, and other nervous system disorders, or deal with polio, hepatitis, whooping cough, and an array of pox.

Pick your poison, people.

I don’t have the answer. All parents have to weigh the risks and decide what’s best for their family.

The reason I’ve got immunizations on the brain is because there are new requirements and apparently before I can register my son for middle school he has to have a booster shot of some sort. I found this out the day of middle school registration via automated phone call from the school. I knew about the new required booster, but I thought we had until school started to do it.

I know, I know, the start of school is right around the corner (Yay!) and I shouldn’t being putting off all preparations until the very last minute, but if you read this blog regularly you know how I roll.

The phone call was all URGENT to let us know that they had just found out from the school district that “YOUR CHILD WILL NOT EVEN BE ALLOWED TO REGISTER UNLESS HIS/HER IMMUNIZATIONS ARE CURRENT!” Then it said, “I REPEAT, YOUR CHILD WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO REGISTER UNLESS HIS/HER IMMUNIZATIONS ARE CURRENT!”

I got the call twice that day.

They mean business.

So we didn’t go to registration that night because I didn’t have time to run Scott into the clinic that day and wait in line behind all the other procrastinator parents.

Now my poor son is going to end up lockering next to all the other late registration dorks with loser parents.

There’s another reason besides slackerness for putting off immunizations. I had a traumatic experience when I took Madi to get her kindergarten shots years ago.

My friend and I had decided to take our kinderkids together since they were buddies and we thought it would help to have a friend there for moral support.

The whole way there my friend’s little boy was in the backseat crying and chanting, “I don’t want to get shots! I don’t want to get shots!”

Madi was all chipper and consoling, “My mom says it just feels like a mosquito bite. Stop being such a baby, Dalton.”

We sat in the waiting room with a bunch of other whimpering kids which only upset Dalton more. Madi sat down on the floor and cheerfully played with some toys. As I looked around at all these wimpy kids I was all smug and proud of my brave little girl.

When it was our turn Madi patted her friend on the arm and said, “You’ll be okay, Dalton. Just be brave like me,” as she skipped into the nurse’s office.

Then she saw the needle.

Holy howl, Batman!

Madi shrieked and bolted for the door. I barely caught her in time, but her death squawk had scared all the kids in the waiting room even more and the whimperings quickly escalated into wails.

I manhandled Madi back into the office and managed to get her in a somewhat confining pretzel hold on my lap, but she violently thrashed against me and adopted Dalton’s chant in an ear-splitting decibel, “I DON’T WANT TO GET SHOTS! I DON’T WANT TO GET SHOTS!”

The noise from the waiting room got louder and louder.

Desperately, I looked to the nurse to hurry and do the dirty deed so we could get out of there. For some reason, the nurse decided to go with an approach of calm reasoning at this point. She got down on her knees to meet Madi’s eye level and said in a slow, quiet, but firm voice, “Madison, sweetie, look at me. Are you ready to listen? Your Mommy has already decided that you are going to be immunized, so throwing this fit will do no good. Did you hear me, honey? Stop crying. Crying will not help this situation. Please, just calm down so we can talk like friends for a minute, okay?”

Madi didn’t look at her and she didn’t hear a word of “How to Reason with a Hysterical Child 101.” She was out of her head and about to break my arms.

I took my own approach to the situation, “Look, lady! I can’t hold her down any longer, so save the syrup and stick that needle in her NOW!”

The nurse could see where this kid got her temper, so she quickly got on her feet and grabbed the needle. It went in and out in a millisecond and Madi’s hysteria stopped cold. She looked at her arm, blinked the tears out of her eyes a couple of times and said, “That’s it? It felt like a mosquito bite.” Then she giggled a little.

The nurse fixed Madi up with a Barbie Band-aid and a lollipop as I sat panting from exhaustion. I hid my face and quickly ushered Madi past the waiting room where there was a state of pediatric pandemonium.

We met Dalton and his mom out by the car. My friend was kind enough not to say anything. All the way home Madi and Dalton cheerfully licked their lollies and cheerfully chatted about how getting shots hardly hurts at all.

Is it any wonder I put off immunizations?

You’d think I would be the poster mom for anti-immunizations after that, no matter what my medical standpoint on the subject was.

But whether we immunize or don’t immunize in an attempt to protect ourselves and our families from harm, there will always be something to battle against because life is a test.

All you can do is give it your best shot.

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