Monday, March 12, 2012

Check-up Time

It was time for Monster Man's yearly check-up today.  In a way, he was looking forward to it because that meant he could get his physical for Camp Twitch and Shout completed, making him one step closer to the camp he loves so dearly.  All weekend, we talked about his check-up and needing to get the forms filled out for camp.  I wanted to make sure that he knew well in advance that we were going to the doctor because I know how he can get when it comes to things like doctor's visits and (dare I even say it?!) shots.  I didn't want him to feel like I'd blindsided him, taking him with no warning.  I figured if we talked about it ahead of time, he wouldn't be as anxious about it when it was actually time for the appointment.

Like even the best laid plans, my plans didn't quite work out, either.  I'd made the appointment for the middle of day, at a time when I knew that both Angel Baby and Little Man would still be in school.  With them in school, I'd be able to focus all of my attention of Monster Man.  Little Man, however, started getting sick over the weekend, and he ended up at the doctor's office right alongside his brother.  Little Man, it turned out, had bronchitis, so I was glad I decided to take him to the doctor, but it did mean I wasn't able to focus as much attention on calming Monster Man's nerves as I'd liked to.

As it turned out, Monster Man needed all the help he could get.  When we went into the first room, where he had his vision and blood pressure checked, he started getting worked up about having to have his iron level checked.  Once he found out he had to have his finger pricked, he started to melt down.  We were able to calm him down long enough to get his finger pricked and the iron tested, but that was about it.  By the time that we got into the room, he was in tears because he realized he was going to have to have shots.  I'm actually surprised that the family in the room next to us couldn't hear him raising his voice to announce that "You can give me my shots over my dead body.  You'll have to kill me first," and asking "Why can't they put me to sleep to give me my shots?"  I resorted to giving him one of his anti-histamine tablets, which we use to calm him down when his anxiety or his rage are acting up.  His pediatrician had not heard how upset he can get before, and she could hear him through the door crying that I couldn't make him take his pill and that I wasn't his boss.  Oh what fun we were already having at that point, and the doctor hadn't even walked into the room yet!

For the most part, the appointment itself went well.  Despite his anxiety level, he was able to make it through the appointment and through Little Man's appointment without losing it, right up until the moment when it was clear he couldn't hold off on getting his shots any longer.  At the point when the nurse entered the room, he started crying again, and it ended up taking another nurse holding one arm still while I held the other for the one nurse to be able to give him both of his shots.  It was only two shots, unlike the six that he just knew we were going to "kill" him by giving him.  They were over in less time than it took to give him his pill, not counting the time it took to get him under control long enough to give the shots.  It is heartbreaking to watch him fight so hard, especially since he gets so strong and hard to control!

When all was said and done, though, he looked up at the nurses and me and said "That wasn't so bad.  That was stupid."  He let me know multiple times over the next half hour that he felt really, really stupid for fighting so hard and getting so worked up.

He says that he won't be so worked up next time, but I'm not holding my breath with that one.  I've heard that from him before.  I think the anxiety he gets just builds up so much for him, and it makes the whole idea of shots seem ten times worse than they really are.


  1. Part of this anxiety is a direct result of an abusive pediatrician's office, insisting that he should be totally restrained when he got his first shots as a toddler. NO ONE should have their hands and feet restrained when they are that little - it teaches them there is something to fear. Insist, insist, INSIST that they let you hold your child in your lap and calm him/her before the shot is administered. Any good pediatrician's office who is worth their salt will understand and allow this. If they won't, take your child elsewhere, because they are NOT interested in your child's well-being - only their own.

    1. I am so thankful for the pediatrician he goes to now! She is 100% on track with how to best handle these situations, and the office has always been great about putting the kids at ease as much as possible. The pediatrician he went to as a baby and toddler never made him feel safe like he feels at his current pediatrician's office. When I took him for his first visit there, and he didn't panic like he did at the other office (and another I'd tried between the two), I knew we'd found the best place for him. I love his doctor and the staff!