Calling the SHOTS!

Shot-phobe Drama Queen in full character!

Well, it was shot day for all of us a couple weeks ago.  We all knew the day would come, it's been a topic of conversation and anxiety for Elizabeth since Mark let her watch another family's videoed immunization experience.  Fearful anticipation has been a recurring theme in this department.

Let's give some background on my little drama queen. Immunizations seem to be a source of horror for every kid's visit to the doctor's office once they are old enough to connect the two.  Elizabeth figured all of this out early... too early.  Seems like, since she could talk, every time I tell her "We need to take you in to see the doctor," her immediate response is, "Will I have to get shots???"  When we went in for her 5 year appointment, two nurses and myself were required to hold her down in order to calm the beast that reared its ugly head.  It was quite traumatic for everyone.  Amazingly, within a second of the craziness, Elizabeth was back to her sweet self, wondering why it didn't hurt as bad as she remembered from the last time.

Hmmm... this mommy thought, maybe she's outgrowing this?

But the same fear and anticipation that plagued Elizabeth, was also plaguing me, albeit for a totally different reason.  I knew there were more shots to come... many more.  I had horrible visions of the nurses having to call in back up again, and onlookers shaking their heads in disgust at how this mother could have raised such a frightened, ill-adjusted child.

I was NOT looking forward to getting traveler's immunizations.  

After much research and a wasted $50 consult at a private 'traveler's immunization clinic', I found that our local Tri-County Health office offered all the necessary immunizations and a consultation for much less.  When I went to schedule the appointment, the woman said there were only time slots for 2 at a time, not 4, so we would have to divide and conquer.  Being the selfless wife that I am :), I decided to take one for the team, and book my shots with Elizabeth, the shot-phobe.

The day came, and Mark and I decided that a nonchalant visit would be better than a fear-inducing discussion the whole drive there.  Mark and Michael went on in, and I distracted Elizabeth with maps on brochures and books in the waiting room.  All was great, until we heard Michael's desperate screams from the back of the office.  Elizabeth's eyes widened, and I thought "Here we go, let the drama begin."

Michael came out, all smiles and dried tears, showing off his bandaids.  "Did it hurt?"  "Just a little, but I'm brave, I'm a big boy.  I got THREE shots!"  Oh no, her wheels are turning.  Stay calm.  Calm is contagious.  Don't let her smell your fear.

They called our names and we walked on back.  Elizabeth was quite quiet at this point, obviously in deep thought.  Luckily, the male nurse that was working with us was FANTASTIC.  No nonsense, but with a friendly ease about him.  He told Elizabeth and I what to expect and why it was important to get these shots.  He made small talk, and then wisely suggested we leave the room while he prepared the needles.  "Okay, who wants to go first?"  "Mom does." "No, Elizabeth, I think I'll help you be brave first, and then will you help me be brave?"  She was not convinced, but the nurse asked her to sit in my lap and look at the pictures on the wall.  He was quick and Elizabeth did AWESOME!  A few tears were shed, but no straight jacket was required.  It was beautiful progress.  We'd conquered the shots, and we celebrated by eating mac n cheese at our favorite joint.
This is my "I'm tough, even though my bandaid is tiny" face.
For me, this experience offered reassurance.  As we prepare to embark on this adventure, it helped me to see my kids overcome and pull together as a team.  We all had our battle scars and were stronger because of the challenge.

Here's a rundown of what immunizations our trip requires...

For the kids:  (they were up to date on many shots due to the shot schedule that their pediatrician follows)
1.  MENACTRA-VFC - for Meningitis
2.  YELLOW FEVER- required for entry into Brazil
3.  TYPHOID injection

For the adults:
1.  T-DAP - tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis
5.  TYPHOID oral series of pills

We also left with a prescription for MALARONE (adult and pediatric versions) to take on a strict schedule when we are going into areas where Malaria outbreaks occur.


  1. With those big saucer eyes she could be a Whoo! I am also terrified of shots though you would think with all of the IV's I've had (10 surgeries in my time) that I would be used to it. The best band aide I ever got was a silver mylar! Looked super cool. Loved it.

  2. Dang, Sarah. You've got some guns now.


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