Don’t Take It Personally

Around this time last year, I mentioned that G has a phobic fear of needles that triggers his most physically violent behavior.  He hits, kicks, headbutts, looks for things to throw and tries to run away.  Fortunately, this reaction cropped up at the very end of the vaccine schedule.  We took him for his kindergarten shots and discovered we could only get 2 of the 3 because the 3rd needed to wait until after his birthday.  So we got the two, which he found shockingly painful, and when we returned for the 3rd he completely freaked out.  We got it done, but it was incredibly difficult.

When it comes to the seasonal flu vaccine, we either skip it and take our chances, or we search out the flumist.  Last year, we went the flumist route and drove 100+ miles to my mother’s county where the health dept had it stocked.  It went very smoothly, G was very interested in how it worked and was relieved not to need a shot.  He was very cooperative and I really thought I had the issue figured out.

With the H1N1 vaccine, the first batches available in our county were the nasal variety and were reserved for the highest risk group, 2-4 year olds, but future batches were uncertain.  Given G’s reaction to shots and my desire to have him vaccinated, I kicked into advocate mode.  I spoke several times to our health dept, shamelessly playing the Autism Card and eventually wore them down.  They agreed that if there was any nasal spray available after their walk-in clinic for the 2-4 age group, then I could make an appointment and get G the first dose of nasal spray.  I figured chances were good that they would get at least one more delivery of nasal vaccine by the time of their next clinic and we’d be good to go!

 I had prepared G for the visit to the health dept and he was agreeable.  Until we arrived.  From the moment we sat down and I started filling out the paperwork, he started getting worked up.  He got tense and fussy and started repeating that this was going to kill him.  I got him calmed down and thought we were back on track but the second his name was called he jumped up and started running out the door.  I got him corralled and walked him into the exam room.  We explained the procedure to reassure him, but it was too late.  He was screaming that it was poison and we were trying to kill him.  He tried running away again.  I got him on my lap and the nurse told me to hold him down.  I had his arms crossed over his torso, my legs wrapped around his  but couldn’t do anything about his head, which slammed into my mouth.  Then he tried to headbutt the nurse.  He got free and tried to trash the room.  After about 20-30 minutes of this, the nurse gave up and said it wasn’t going to work.  We left unvaccinated.

I was crushed.  I worked so hard to get special permission for G so that it would be easier on him.  I felt betrayed and unappreciated.  It was very difficult for me to remember that he was not in control of his actions, that he was in a severe fight-or-flight frame of mind that had nothing to do with logic.  Situations like this are so difficult.  I believe in vaccination and believe that this vaccination in particular is important.  But G’s needs are in direct opposition.  What’s a mom to do?  Should I ask for a sedative of some sort to be prescribed?  Should I bring him in and have him held down for the shot, which is one dose instead of two and requires less cooperation than the nasal spray?  Or should I give it up and keep our fingers crossed that we don’t get sick?

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Published in: on October 20, 2009 at 9:26 am  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. What an awful day for you..We lucked out when it came to vaccines. It was looking in the ears that set one of my boys off…trashing the room, hitting the doctor..
    I do so know that feeling-when you plan everything out, thinking you have got it all covered,and it just does not work out. I find myself eating lots of chocolate on those days..
    I wish that I had a solution for you..(besides chocolate) Is there a way that you could take him to that clinic a few times-just to pop in, look around..get him used to it? Could you practice at home with saline? Does the clinic have any resources you could use-such as books about staying healthy? I’m just throwing things off the top of my head..

    • Chocolate works for me! The saline spray is a good idea. Maybe if we practice they’ll let us through the door during their next clinic. 😉

  2. […] I wrote here  about our first disastrous attempt to vaccinate G for H1N1.  It was so traumatic (you know, for […]


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