white coat phobia still firmly in place

I took Catie to the doctor this morning for a check-up and to review her asthma plan. Given the fact that she hasn’t had an asthma attack in almost a year, I feel reasonably certain that she might’ve outgrown her asthma by this point, but I’m also hesitant to take her off her preventative meds before winter. The doctor agreed with me on that one, so we’ll keep doing what we do for now (which is a Flovent inhaler and half of a children’s Zyrtec tablet every morning), and we’ll re-address it next spring or summer.

Oh, we also found out that she’s the average height and weight of a 4 1/2 year-old, which is kind of what I expected. Girlfriend is tall.

Catie and I talked about the doctor’s office quite a bit before her appointment. I thought it would help her feel less nervous about it. I told her what to expect: that the nurse would have her stand on the scale to see how much she weighs, and measure her to see how tall she is, that kind of thing. She said, “I going to be brave at the doctor’s like I did at the dentist.” Then the conversation sort of went like this:

Catie: “Does the doctor have a telescope?”

Me: “A tele… Do you mean a stethoscope?”

Catie: “Yeah, like the one in my daycare class!”

Me: “Oh yeah, of course, she has a stethoscope, and she’ll use it to listen to your chest and your back and make sure you’re all healthy. She also has a special flashlight that she’ll shine to look in your ears, your mouth, your nose & your eyes. But that doesn’t hurt, since it’s just a light.”

Catie: “Do I have to get a shot?”

This is where I kind of flubbed around. I knew she needed a flu shot, but I also was so happy that she was starting to get over her fear of the doctor, and I didn’t want the shot to be the emphasis of the appointment. So I kind of hemmed and hawed, and I told her about how the flu is a very nasty thing that makes us get really sick, and they have medicine that can keep us from getting it, but it means that yes, you do have to get a shot. (Since Catie has asthma, she unfortunately can’t take the nasal mist form.) But I wasn’t sure if she’d get it at this appointment or if we’d do it later (remembering how iffy the availability was last year). And plus, it’s ok because Mommy has to get one too.

This morning rolled around, and she did amazingly well during the whole appointment. She was cheerful, she answered all of the doctor’s questions, she gave high-fives when she did something correctly. All was great.

Then, the nurse came in with the flu shot. And she was still fine and nonchalant about it… until she saw the actual needle.

Oh man. I don’t even have words. There was screaming. There were tears. There was blood. There was me and a nurse trying to hold her leg still so she wouldn’t kick and make it worse. It was awful.

The nurse left, and we took a few minutes to calm down in the exam room before we left. She got a lollipop and two stickers (she was only supposed to take one from the nurse’s sticker drawer, but whatever man, you want Tinkerbell AND Princess Tiana? Fine, lord knows I’m not gonna argue after the trauma you just endured).

Then we went to McDonald’s and got a Happy Meal. She ate about six French fries and announced she was full. I think she mostly wanted the prize that came with the meal.

So, she’s fine. I reassured her that I think she did great at the appointment, and she was so good and so brave, and I’m so proud of her. But it’s amazing how one minute with a nurse can totally deflate all of the good feelings she had about the doctor’s office up until that moment.

Oh well, I guess this means we don’t need to be putting away money for med school in her future. Fine by me.

6 thoughts on “white coat phobia still firmly in place

  1. Hopefully she will remember the stickers and lollipop more than the shot next time! 🙂 I am gearing up for this in November for my three year old. Fingers crossed and Phineas & Ferb toys in the closet for bribery!

  2. I hate when kids have to get shots!!! It is so scary for them, and so horrible for the parents who have to play bad guy! I’m sorry that she can’t have flumist. Maybe next year though, if she has outgrown her asthma. That would be awesome.

  3. I dread taking the girls to the doctor EVERY time. At least with Hannah (and Catie) we can talk to them and explain things and YES bribe them. But with Livie there is none of that. She’s too young and then there’s no explaining after the trauma either. It’s such a freakin nightmare. Catie did great and I’m glad she got over the shot quickly

  4. I’ve had asthma since I was a kid. I always had to go to the asthma doctor and in fact still see the same doctor. When I would go I’d *always* get a shot which I hated. (steroid shot). One time I tried holding my breath the entire exam so I wouldn’t cough and then end up getting a shot. (Like that would work, it would mean holding my breath for 40 minutes.) He saw what I was doing and said, “Honey, you’re still going to have to get a shot. I know you don’t like them. But I promise if you don’t cry I’ll give you dollar.” And he did. It was pretty cool.

    I still get the steroid shot every time I go. I still hate them.

    After I had Guillian Barre Syndrome in 1993 I can never have another flu shot, but I can feel Catie’s pain! I hate hate hate any kind of needle!

    I do give her many props for handling the majority of the appointment very well. So Catie? Gets hugs from me!

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