October 20, 2009

Flu Vaccine Fright Fest

On Monday, the H1N1 vaccine has hit the streets of Vegas and local moms are wasting no time getting their dose. Currently, the vaccine is only being offered at one location in the Vegas Area, and only to the highest at-risk group (child caretakers and children under 5 years old). I saw the lines out the door on the news yesterday and even though it didn't look at exciting as an American Idol casting call, I decided to grab a place in line this morning. It was going to be a long morning of waiting and I didn't want my kids to know what was going on until the last possible minute.

"Come on, kids. Get in the car. I've got an errand to run."
"Where are we going?" asked the ever vigilant Pixie.
"We've just got to drop by an office for a minute."
"What for?"
"I need to get some stuff."
"What kind of stuff?"
"Who wants a cookie?"

That distracted them until we got to the Public Health Department. A long line of grim looking mothers pushing strollers was already spilling out the doors and trying to fill out medical forms in the high wind. I took my place in line.

None of the kids seemed to know they were the intended targets and stood around with bored expressions. One mother had brought a portable DVD player and had distracted my section of the line with a cartoon. The line inched slowly forward. We finally made it inside, around the reception desk, and towards a greeter. At this point, the line was siphoned down a thin hall. An attendant in scrubs made her way down the line talking to each mother. My time was running out. Pixie caught sight of the woman's clothes and turned to me with apprehension. "Mom... what is this place?"

The jig was up. No sooner were the words "flu shot" out of my mouth that my two children began screaming and scrambling for an escape. Luckily, I'd had the foresight to buckle them into the stroller. "I DON'T WANT A SHOT! I DON'T WANT A SHOT!" they screamed, and in seconds, the children waiting in the hall with us had caught the whiff of terror. All around us, the pleading, screaming and whimpering began in earnest. The woman with the DVD player glared at me. The line inched forward.

After a quick consultation with the nurse, I was relieved to hear my kids could simply get the flu mist squirted up their nose instead of a shot. With this information, I was finally able to calm them down. We were approaching the end of the hall when we noticed the noise coming out of The Room. A high-pitched tremor of not fear, but absolute terror. Apparently, we were approaching out final destination. I pushed the stroller in.

I was now lined up against the back of a large conference room with about 20 other moms, waiting our turn at one of the vaccination stations. There were about 15 women administering shots and each one faced a blue-faced, apoplectic child. We had to stand there with our kids and watch our fate play out in deafening reality. At this point, the waiting children were too terrified to cry, they just stood with wide, wet eyes, as the children at the vaccination stations demonstrated their best Halloween night screams while being stuck full of needles.

It was our turn. I got my shot, then brought Pixie to sit in my lap to get her nasal spray. "No shot, right Mom?" she asked with confidence.
So when the nurse pulled out a long, skinny device with a pointed tip and brought it towards Pixie's face, all hell broke loose. It sure looked like a shot to me. In order to administer the spray, the nurse had to stick the mister up both nostrils and squirt. I had my leg wrapped around Pixie's lower body, one hand holding her head tight against my chest, and the other pinning her arms down. She was screaming just as loud as every other poor kid we'd seen in there. Then we had to do the same thing with little two year old Cher. There is no way that the nasal spray was any less terrifying than a shot. I'd say it's much worse. But finally we were done.

"And don't forget to come back in a month for another dose," called out the helpful nurse, just as we were leaving. Another round of fresh screams. I booked it for the door at the end of the rooms, desperate to get my kids out of The Room of Terror. As far as Haunted Houses go, this one pretty much takes the cake this year. I'm all Halloweened out.


Mrs. M said...

Sounds horrible. I'm going to brag just a little here and say that according to my 4 year old, his flu shot didn't hurt. (Mine did though.)

Crystal said...

Hmm. My two-year-old and I both got the nasal mist, and you should have heard the screaming and yelling. She was pretty cool with it, though.

Seriously, after she saw me snuck that stuff up my nose, she had no problem letting the nurse do the same to her. Maybe because we were in a quiet doctor's office without any other screaming kids.

Michemily said...

Nasal mist? Are you serious? I wonder if I should get vaccinated before I come to visit for the holidays . . .

Molly said...

Reminds me of this trip to the doctor: http://aldridgelorton.blogspot.com/2009/05/bad-mix-of-day.html?zx=a100659bd944c634

Wendy said...

You are a brave woman. The Health Dsitrict, the eternal waiting, and then getting TWO kids to take the vaccine? Brave, brave, brave. I hope you got yourself a cookie after that.