Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Shot In The Heart, And You're To Blame

When we moved to Wisconsin back in October, we had some difficulties getting my daughters’ vaccination records to move with us. Our first visit to our new pediatrician’s office was for Toddler’s 15-month-checkup. I was unsure which vaccinations she was due for, but I thought, “No problem!  That’s why they keep records of these things.  Right? RIGHT?”


When our doctor in Wisconsin reviewed the records we brought with us from Ohio, they couldn’t figure out which vaccinations she received. You see, the vaccination chart was on the SECOND page of the girls’ records we brought back from Ohio, but our new doctors’ office would only scan the FIRST page of the records into their electronic systems.  The rest of the documents in the girls’ charts went into some strange land of limbo known as “storage,” accessible by neither man nor beast. 

Because I couldn’t say for sure which vaccinations she already received, I went ahead and told the staff to skip the vaccinations for this visit, we’ll get the necessary vaccinations once we have all the records straight.

Fast forward three months, and we STILL didn’t have a clear vaccination record for either of my children.  By this point I was so fed up that I just said, “Go ahead, just give her whatever vaccinations she missed from her 15-month checkup, along with whatever she’s due for today.”

“M’am, that’s going to be six shots.”

“Really?  Hmmmm.... is it dangerous for her to get that many?”
“No, there’s no danger.”

“I may regret this, but lets just do them all and get it over with.  It’ll suck for today, but she’s so little she probably won’t remember.”

Poke. WHAAAA!!! Poke. Poke. WHAAAA!!! WHAAAA!!! Poke. Poke. Poke. WHAAAA!!! WHAAAA!!! WHAAAA!!!

I regret this. 

Not only did it physically hurt her at the time, which broke my heart, but she remembers those jabs. Now she is terrified, utterly, utterly, terrified.  All a doctor has to do is look at her to reduce her to a trembling wailing heap in my arms.  If I even go to lay her down on the scale to get her weight and height measured, she clings and trembles as if I were trying to baptize her in a fountain of acid. The poor thing desperately clings to me, shaking with terror, if I even try to lie her down on one of those plastic changing tables in the McDonald’s bathroom.

She remembers.

I ruined her.

And I felt like CRAP about it.  How could’ve I willingly exposed my baby to such pain, that it would stick around as one of her earliest memories?  But as I was wailing and gnashing my teeth over this, my Mom came up with the best reasoning I’ve heard yet. 

“Honey, lots of people are afraid of the doctor.  Who’s to say that she WOULDN’T have developed such a fear, no matter how many or few vaccinations she received?” 

So maybe I didn’t ruin her.  Yet.

Sorry Toddler.  Mommy loves you very much. Even when your 5, 15, 25 years old, if you need some one to hold your hand at the doctor’s office, I’ll be there.

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Lindsay Schultz @sayschu said...


Now I'm wondering if my little one hates the McDonalds changing table because it's like the doctor's office. I hadn't thought of that. He goes to the doctor Thursday, pray for us.

When I was little, my dad always asked me if I wanted him to beat up the doctor. Even if I was miserable, it would make me laugh.

Fox in the City said...

Ah holding them down for shots is one of the worst parenting duties ever.

I totally agree with your mom . . . it is something she may have developed all on her own . . . no need to feel the wonderful parenting guilt about it.

My kids are definitely not fans of the doctor which is too bad because he really is a sweet man.

Angela@BeggingTheAnswer said...

@Lindsay - Beat up the doctor! Your dad is so awesome.

@Fox in the City - I'm glad to know I'm not the only mom who feels like hell every time she has to hold her kids down for a vaccination :)

Betty Fokker said...

Even IF it was a bad mistake, did you really think you'd get thru parenthood without making a couple (dozen) of them?

I tell myself that A LOT. So far it doesn't help, but I thought I would share anyway, in case it helps you.

Husband said...

Ang, that might be bad but it could be a lot worse. Image if it was like when preschooler had to get stitches ever time.

Angela@BeggingTheAnswer said...

@Betty - It never hurts to be reminded :)

@Husband - Don't remind me about the stitches. I don't think I've recovered.

chemgirl said...

vaccination records haunt you for YEARS....

I had to get extra vaccinations when I immigrated to the US and then when I went to college in the US they wanted to prove my vaccination records as well.

One in particular.. the mumps vaccination I had gotten as a child and gotten a booster but I needed a special booster to immigrate to the US.. (we're now at 3 mumps vaccinations)..

but then when I went to university they wanted the proof that I had the vaccination as a child.. which I couldn't prove as my parents didn't keep my records..
so I had to get it again!

4 mumps vaccinations total.

At least I know if there is an outbreak of mumps.. I'm all set!

I like to think that I'd be the last survivor in the world if somehow contracting mumps turned people into zombies.. ala Legend.

Janie Jones said...

I think it's pretty normal for wee ones to be afraid of the doctor and have "shot" anxiety. We went through that faze. For a while it took 3 adults to hold down my daughter for one shot. Now she's 6 and she still doesn't like them (well, honestly who does?) but has decided that being a big girl requires some dignity. Some, anyway. And, the promise of ice cream if she doesn't cry or fight the nurse.

Marianna Annadanna said...

You didn't ruin her! She'll be fine. You love her and she's not going to die of the plague, which is a good thing.

Btw, my word thingie is "hateress" which I think is like the goddess of hate or something.

Sassy Sister said...

I don't remember the exact age but I remember crying so hard getting a vaccine that my contact lens fell out. Soooo, I was old enough to wear contact lenses and clearly too old to be crying while getting a shot. Later in life, I gave birth to 3 children and came to know the true meaning of pain. Foolish me.

I'm Angela! said...

@chemgirl - that is crazy! I never knew mumps vaccines were such a high priority. At least you're protected from mumps, and possibly a zombie attack. YOU NEVER KNOW!!

@Janie - Oh dear, I can totally picture Toddler needing 3 or more people to hold her down if she still hates shots as she gets bigger. I better buy stock in an ice cream company or something.

@Marianna - Hatress? That's AWESOME!!!

Angela@BeggingTheAnswer said...

@Sassy Sister - I remember when that contact thing happened! Yes, childbirth puts pain into perspective, doesn't it?

FranceRants said...


poor kid. i feel for her. and you.

ChiMomWriter said...

It'll be okay - Regardless of 6 shots, you're totally at the age of doctor fear. It's like a switch that gets flipped. They suddenly realize what happens there. It'll suck for a couple of check-ups, but then the appeal of stickers and stuff like that takes back over.

(I bring a flashlight with us so my daughter can pretend she's a dr, too.)

Angela@BeggingTheAnswer said...

@ChiMomWriter - I totally forgot about the sticker thing. My older daughter doesn't like the doctor, but she'll do practically anything if there's a sticker in it for her.

Jamie said...

We just did 5 year old shots - it's never easy no matter how big or little they are. I don't remember the 'shots' I remember the icecream I got because I got a shot!

visiting from lovelinks

mamamash said...

Then I'd find out who the dweeb was who only copied the first page of the records and give THEM five shots. To the nads.