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BOTD 8/7/14 "Back To School Checkup" A Leti Production

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David M. Katz

Back To School Checkup
A Leti Production

You have two kids, Mark 12, Derek 10.

You have an appointment with their doctor before they go back to school. The doctor's assistant calls back and tells you that they both would need some shots (vaccines.)

They both have had shots before and, even if they did not like them, they understood that they had to have them. In light of that you tell the boys what is going to happen while you are in the car on the way to the doctor.

Mark is not happy, but accepts it. Derek starts crying and keeps crying all the way. Once at the doctor you have to practically carry him inside and he keeps crying.

Mark - 12
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Derek - 10
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What do you do?

Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.


I explain to the doctor what the issue is, and encourage him to give the injections ASAP. Once that's out of the way and Derek realizes he's still alive, they can enjoy the rest of the visit as much as possible.

Getting the shots isn't negotiable, and punishing for being scared is mean. Just be matter of fact and get it done.


Editor Extraordinaire
I'm puzzled as to why Derek is having this extreme reaction when in the past he's been pretty much okay with immunizations. Did he have a bad experience last time? I'll do my best to calm him down, perhaps promising him a treat afterwards for cooperation. I don't expect him not to cry or anything like that, but I would prefer to have him calm and cooperative. One thing I hope is that there isn't a long wait. I know from my own experience that anxiety can build very rapidly while waiting, and for some reason it seems to take an eternity, even once a person is in the exam room. I also know from experience that yelling at a kid, becoming angry or otherwise not showing support only makes things worse. An awful lot of kids would be better off by far if their parents were banished and the medical personnel allowed to handle the situation.


John Boy

Keep him distracted while the vaccines are administered.


I'll trust my medicine man to handle the situation. Seriously, at 10, I don't think I can do much butbeing there for him.


I think it would be kindest to get it out of the way ASAP and afterward explore the 'why' of it. As Kat said, there's no good to come from becoming testy with him. Much as I might like to know why he's so upset now I think all that conversation will do is magnify the situation in his mind.

After he survives his shot I'll get both a treat and perhaps we can then look toward a 'coping mechanism' for the future as he DOES need to complete his immunizations.


Yup! Geter done asap.....then move on with the day!

I will try to find out what brought this on over some icecream....agree that me getting testy will only make things much worse.

Hugs kal


What a load of old softies!!

I'm going to tell him that unless he wants something that'll really make him cry he needs to stop the blubbering fast and behave like his brother.  Evil or Very Mad


Well he's going to have to go through with it even if he has to be held down but I'm sure the staff are accustomed to coping with frightened children.

Having tried to calm him with all the usual platitudes and the "reward for being brave" in the car I'm about to tell him that I've heard you don't even feel the needle going in on a still smarting freshly spanked bottom - and offer him the option.


This is the reason I don't mention shots until shot time. Unfortunately, with so many older brothers and a regular schedule, most of my boys have a pretty good idea when they have to get them. On the other hand, the only times I've given shot-related spankings is for teasing little brothers about them (an advantage of not only having known my pediatrician for 20 years, but having spanked him as well).

In this case, with the damage already done, I'm going to get Derek's attention and distract him by talking about his favorite subject. He'll probably start up again when we have to go to the doctor's office, but that's about all I can do for now.

"In the end, it's just a story. But if you ask me, it's all true."


There must be another way? Some vaccines these days can be delivered orally than by injections, and this may be an alternative for Derek. Perhaps a week before hand, you could ring the healthcare worker up and see if it is possible for Derek to be given the vaccine orally. If this is not possible and he has to have the injection, then your healthcare worker will be prepared in advance and while Derek is having the procedure, he or she will then be able to put him at his ease.


Not sure why this should be . By 10 kids usually just about take injections in their stride. I will try to to cheer him up by promising icecream afterwards. Of course if that brother of his has been winding him up...


Actually Square, despite all of his adventurous spirit Darren HATED the Novocain injection prior to stitching.  I'd say he finally became 'accepting' by the time he was 15 or so but when he's arrive at the house with a new deep laceration and his mother would say the dreaded words "that needs stitched up!" he'd burst into tears and beg not to go.

He never accepted it quietly though.  He'd whine the whole way to the hospital and would cling to Lyn or me hard until the ordeal was over.


Ice cream! Ice cream has to be the answer!

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