Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Immunization Ordeal

We have just returned from what is probably one of the Top Five Worst Three-Hour Periods Of My Life.

It started before we left. Sonshine had taken out the garbage last night, and I discovered he hadn't put it in the can, so I tried to tell him what to do in the future when he can't get it in the can, and he flipped out and started screaming about how Princess wouldn't help him. I was afraid he was going to throw one of his signature twenty-minute tantrums, especially when he started violently attacking Princess. But thankfully he decided to master himself and calm down enough to hear the helpful tips I was trying to give him.

Our first errand was to go to the Health Department to get a shot record for Bagel. When Bagel was born back in Logan, I asked where his shot record was, and they told me they're no longer using those antiquated yellow cards because too many people had lost them and didn't bring them with when they got their immunizations. Instead they were using this newfangled computer system and anytime I wanted a copy of the shot records, all I'd have to do is ask the doctor to print one off for me. Maybe this was very convenient for doctors and health department workers, but this proved to be entirely unworkable from the parental end. Everywhere you go, people demand proof of immunization, and you can't be at the mercy of the doctor's office to get that info. So our first stop today was to get one of those yellow cards for Bagel, because he had never had one and needed shots today. That was all right, except that Princess and Sonshine had chosen to be mean to each other, even as I was telling them that they could choose to be nice to each other and forgive their past trespasses instead of feuding for all eternity, and Bagel decided to run the other way no matter which direction we went.

Our second errand was to the library. Our DSL went down last night and I needed to use the library's computer and pick up a book they'd put on hold for me. Bagel decided he was a kitty cat and went crawling around the library rubbing up against random people's legs. Someone had left a rubber chicken outside the library, and the kids had a great time stepping on it and making it squeak. Bagel had such a great time that when I pulled him off it and went to put him in the car, he screamed till he had an asthma attack and threw up all over his shirt.

The last stop of the morning was the doctor's office, where both Bagel and Knuckles were to get their shots. Bagel should be through with shots by now, but we got behind, partly because we were changing health insurances when he was a baby, and partly because with the yellow card that we didn't get comes a little schedule card that tells you when the kid's supposed to get which shots. The first sign of trouble was that Bagel fell asleep in the van on the way there, so I knew he was tired. He wouldn't get on the scale and had to be weighed and measured the way they do the babies. The nurses gave him a paper cup of water which thrilled him to no end, but Sonshine kept knocking it over and spilling it, then refusing to help clean up the water, then doing a three-eighths job of it, leaving wet paper towels all over the floor. I thought he was going to throw another one of his tantrums when I made him finish the job, but he didn't. The doctor examined him and prescribed the inhaler we asked for (he'd been on nebulizer treatments, but those are not portable, and besides they got him so worked up that they were of limited value). Then we waited and waited... and waited and waited and waited... for the shots. During the wait time Bagel got really, really fussy and had to be restrained. Sonshine was literally climbing the walls and was all over the furniture, and he tried to give Knuckles a "titty twister". Bagel, now hungry as well as tired, was screaming and trying to bite and pinch.

And then it was time for the shots.

I held Bagel's top half down while two or three nurses (I couldn't really see how many it took) held down his bottom half and administered the shots. During the shots he bit my finger and I couldn't pull away without compromising the immunization process, so I just had to suffer. Then it was Knuckles' turn. I tried to hold him too, but Bagel was biting the backs of my knees so I had to leave Knuckles to the nurses and restrain Bagel. We collected our prescriptions and immunization cards, and a nurse helped carry Bagel out to the van, where I wrestled him into his carseat, buckled the straps, and started driving home. Even though he was still screaming and writhing, I was relieved that it was over. I was letting the 60 mph drive down the state road relax me.

That was when I looked over and saw Bagel at my elbow, begging me to hold him.

I immediately pulled over to the side, put on my hazards, and strapped that kid into his carseat so tight that if he so much as moved, he'd strangle himself.

Now we are home. I put Bagel straight into his bed and he's sleeping now, although he'll wake later and will probably be pretty fussy because he'll still be sore from the shots and I won't be able to let him play outside because we haven't filled the prescription for his inhaler yet. Knuckles is justifiably demanding to be nursed.

I dearly hope the rest of today contains chocolate. Chocolate, and naps. And books. Lots and lots of books.