Do you know what an injection is?

December 8, 2008

Took M to the doctor today for a regular check up.  The walls in the office are pretty thin so you can hear what is happening in other rooms, which can definitely be disconcerting.  

As we were sitting waiting for the nurse to come in to give the shots of the month I could hear the mother and son next door.  She was intensely quizzing her son on letters and numbers and he was diligently answering all of her questions.  The doctor then came in and she explained that they were moving to another country and that her son needed to get some immunization.  The doctor said the nurse would be in to give it soon.

syringe_2

While they were waiting I guess the mom decided that this was a teachable moment.

Mom: “You are going to get an injection today. Do you know what an injection is?”

Son (in a small, scared voice): “No.”

Mom: “Remember last time we were here they put a pointy object in your arm and took some blood?”

Son (in a smaller, even more scared voice): “Yes.”

Mom: “Well, it is going to be like that, except that they are going to put something under your skin rather than take something out.”

Son: “Oh.”

Mom: “But you are going to be a brave boy and it will be over soon.”

Son: “Ok.”

Now, I know I live in one of those areas where people believe that every experience is a learning experience and in many ways I agree with that.  But sometimes ignorance is bliss.  I mean, is it really necessary to explain to your kid who can’t even read that they are about to have a needle stuck into their arm? Is that really teaching or is that just cruel? I mean, the poor kid was scared shitless.  And is he really going to get into a good college because at 4 he understands what an injection is? 

The nurse arrived and gave M his shots and we left.  As we were checking out and scheduling our next appointment the mother and son came out.  The poor kid had wet his pants.  Do you think it was the shot or the lesson of the day that scared him like that?

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