My Child’s Fear of Getting Shots Makes Visits to The Doctor Feel Like a Special Ops Mission

I don’t know which is worse. My daughter’s fear of getting shots or my fear of hearing that she needs one. Call me a wuss, but bringing her to the doctor when there’s even a chance that she’s gonna get poked, is like being at a bullfight … when you’re the matador. 

In other words, I’d rather stick needles in my eyes, which is of course totally ironic.

Look, it’s not just miserable for me, it’s miserable for the nurse who must administer said shots, the other little patients who are set off by the possible whizzing by of a frantic 7-year-old and the wretched ear-shattering noises she’s making, not to mention their parents and the doctors, who must explain that, though it sounds like it, there is in fact, not an amputation occurring.

I start to ask myself…

Really how bad can a bout of the flu be? Chicken Pox? The Mumps? My husband, who’s never been to one of these “awesome” visits, or any that I can recall, says my fear or her getting needles is unfounded. By that logic, I could claim that anything I haven’t seen doesn’t exist, but it wouldn’t make it true. Please, there’s no such thing as Africa, everyone who hasn’t been there knows that.

The first thing my child asks at the onset of a stomach cramp, a headache, a sore throat, a paper cut… is: “Will they give me a shot for this?”; “Mom, do they give shots for red ant reactions, rashes, bee stings?”

She’ll start to cry if you mention the word needle in any context and she’s catagorically decided she will not be having babies because she once overheard me discussing an extensive blood test that pregnant women get.

Heck, after she’s gotten a shot, when the nurse says, “All good, you don’t need another one of those for five years” she glosses right over that reprieve, when kids decide the process wasn’t THAT bad, and continues to cry at the thought of the needle that she’s due to get FIVE YEARS FROM NOW!

I’m guessing many of you know where I’m comin’ from. You know the “needle dance” you’ve done “the chase.”  You’ve seen every nurse and parent trick from the telling of a joke, to the “let me pinch your arm to show you how it will feel,” to the “we’ll go to this fast food joint or get this toy after,” to the “watch your sibling go first,” to the “it doesn’t hurt as much as (insert semi-painful occurrence here).” They don’t work.

In the end, I have to hold her on my lap, arms wrapped around her and squeeze like a boa constrictor – to keep both her body from jolting, and tears from coming out of my eyes (at the thought of the stress this is causing her … and me).

The last time we got a shot was around her birthday and I strategically planned to get her an iTouch5 on the way home. I’ve never seen her shape up so fast. See, I found the answer in my pocketbook, where lot’s of answers lie. Sadly, most of us can’t, myself included can’t whip out that kinda dough the other 364 because of a flu shot or vaccine. Unless, you’re Angie and Brad. If their kids have an aversion to something, I imagine they could fix it tout suite.

“Just try the Brussels sprouts and you can get another iPad mini.”  “Go to the dentist and we’ll pay him to be your man servant for the rest of the afternoon.” “Make your bed everyday for a week and we’ll rent out Disney World.” You know, something like that?

So, my husband will definitely be in tow at the next visit, for moral support, oh and for a lovely, I told you so moment. Wait, scratch that, I’m sending her to Brad and Angie for her next round of shots… Yo, Angie, she’d really like to go to Paris.

Please tell me I’m not alone?


17 thoughts on “My Child’s Fear of Getting Shots Makes Visits to The Doctor Feel Like a Special Ops Mission

  1. Jenn Plummer

    Ohmygodyes. I made the mistake of asking my mother-in-law to take my 9 yr old to his last check-up so I wouldn’t miss work. When the needle came out, he managed to get out of the exam room, through the waiting room and down 13 floors. I ask my self ‘what the hell was everyone thinking letting a kid run out of the exam room, and the office?
    Yeah, she’s not taking him next time.

  2. Karen Hansen

    I feel ya! Wait til you hit the HPV vaccine. Three shots. My daughter was a junior in high school at the time and I literally had to lie on top of her and grab on to the table to keep her still despite the fact that she agreed (in theory) with getting the shots. Each time we got to the office she turned into that same four-year-old running shrieking down the hallway.

  3. Carpool Goddess`

    Oy. I know your pain (no pun intended). The doc used to have two nurses, one for each arm, give the shots to my daughter at the same to get it over with as quickly as possible. The screaming was too much – mine and hers. We’d celebrate after with chocolate slushies from Coffee Bean.

    1. Jenny from the blog Post author

      Ohhhh your celebration is way better. I have to drive thru Micky D’s and get a milkshake and a toy which by the way, cost as much as the happy meal whether you get the actual meal or not!?

  4. Auntie Em

    The great thing about a fear of shots is that you can use it to your advantage. Doesn’t want to take her medicine? You better take it or else you’ll get a shot. Don’t want to eat your broccoli? You’ll get malnourished and they’ll have to give you a shot. Don’t want to get a shot? Then they give you an IV which is a shot but the needle stays in. (Not that I’ve EVER said any of these things to my own kid!)

    When motherhood gives you lemons…..

    1. Jenny from the blog Post author

      Auntie Em… I’m not above lieing cheating and stealing to make my kids stop complaining, crying or worrying. I think it makes us good moms, plus getting them it eat broccoli??? Brilliant.

  5. Debbie

    It doesn’t get better. I have to call ahead to find out if my SEVENTEEN year old needs any shots for her annual checkup. (She did – and she squeezed my hand so hard my rings left dents for an hour.) All I can say is thank HEAVENS for the Flu MIST!!

    1. Jenny from the blog Post author

      Debbie – It’ll get better around pregnancy… somehow the thought of worrying about getting a shot when a baby is being made seems trite. Or you’ll be calling her OBGYN ahead too.

  6. Kylie

    Oh, you are not alone!!! Thank you for writing this, because I thought I was alone on this. My daughter once shrieked so loudly and wildly that the vaccine almost expired (it can only be at room temperature for 30 minutes). I had to do the straight-jacket hold on her. It was hours of drama before and after the doctors visit. Ugh.

    1. Jenny from the blog Post author

      I’m sorry, that line cracked me up… that it almost expired!!! Yes, it can be daunting and it seems there is no end in site. Though my son was the same way and one day he was like …”eh, I don’t know what I always got all worked up about, it doesn’t even hurt.” Double milkshakes for that kid!

  7. Paula K

    I think I used to be your kid. I’m 53. No kids of my own, but I HATED needles. I’ve come to the conclusion that I have a low pain tolerance.
    I used to be the queen of ear infections & had to get so damned many shots. My parents were stunned when I got a tattoo. And then volunteered to be guinea pig for a friend learning acupuncture. And now I go get shots every 3 or 4 months in my back for the arthritis. 😛
    So, maybe she’ll grow out of it. My mom, aunt & a nurse had to tear me off a sink once when I was about 13 because the a**hole doctor came around the curtain while he was squirting the air out of a syringe. I have NO idea what the man was thinking!

  8. Frankie

    I’m a child of the fear of needles. I hated the shots the gave me especially on my ass and it hurt to walk after said shot. I would be restrained and screamed my head off every damn time. Fast forward 20 some odd years. I wanted to have a baby, first thing that came into my head THEY WILL STICK A 50 FOOT NEEDLE IN YOUR BACK AND YOU WILL MOVE BECAUSE YOU ARE A WUSS AND YOU WILL BE PARALYZED!!!! My mom also had fear in her eyes and told me that I wouldn’t be able to do this. First I asked myself do I want to be cut open awake or do you prefer to bite your tongue on the epidural and feel no pain and no cutting involved. That got me going then I said to myself women have been giving birth SINCE FOREVER and end up having MORE! There’s gotta be something in this for women to continue this. In my mom’s time you didn’t know the sex of the baby and no drugs. HOLY CRAP and much respect to my mom to pop 2 babies out her hoohah! October 2012 I found out I was pregnant and something came over me. I was calm (Had to do it for the baby) Blood tests? ( OMG! Frankie you have to be calm for the baby. It was mantra every damn doctor’s appointment). It helped that the nurse is a bad ass for taking out blood. June 22nd 2013 contractions started and I was rushed to the hospital. When you are having contractions needles don’t seem so bad (BIGGEST FEAR THAT THEY WON’T GET THE EPIDURAL IN ON TIME! I heard so many horror stories on this) . Anesthesiologist who performed my epidural? Bad ass and why cant they draw blood from my back so much better than the arm (crazy huh?). And out popped Isabelle aka Izzy crying and I felt like a champ and conqueror of the dreadful needles. I freaking made it. I guess what I’m trying to say in this long winded post. As your daughter gets older and realizes what she wants and has the support she can do anything involving needles. I know I did and to have mom say that I was a bad ass delivering my baby is the best thing ever.

  9. MsKatrina

    I was a runner as a youth and I am an avoider as an adult. When asked whether I would rather get a shot or give birth again, I always chose give birth to the astonishment of the questioner. But phobias are not logical. And needle phobia (trypanophobia) is a real thing.

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