Saturday, June 9, 2012
shots and blood
We have been at the clinic a few times this week. The first time was so Brother could finally get his annual well-child check up. Everything went well. The doctor gave the kids lollipops (which is what they love most about him) and suggested that Brother get some shots after our visit. I had warned him of this very real possibility on our drive in. It has probably been a year or two since he had a vaccine last. And I think I recall the most recent one being a flu shot that I had him get before his sister so he could be brave for her turn (and so he wouldn't freak after watching her scream). We were about to come face to face with his first I-know-what-is-coming shot experience. It didn't matter that I told him that he was getting these shots so that it would keep him healthy. That it would only hurt for a brief moment and that God would heal it. He expected pain, agony. He was nervous. The tech who checked him in cringed when he saw that Brother was in fact getting FOUR shots at one time. Poor Bundle Boy. He was going to have to put on his brave face. Two women lined up their supplies prepared to simultaneously inject him with two and then two more. I had the pleasure of standing by his head and holding his arms down. Babydoll was lucky enough to sit by and watch the trauma unfold before her while she snacked on a cheese stick. Brother squint his eyes and tried to hold it together. I whispered encouraging words in his ear. They wiped his thighs with alcohol swabs and he asked if it was over yet. Not yet Lovey Bug. Then it happened. The sharp pain that made him let out a scream. He thrashed his legs. They stuck him again quickly and then it was done. He cried for about a minute and then was distracted by the stickers they gave him (and his sister) for being so brave. The nurse told me his leg on one side would probably bruise quickly because he jerked suddenly while the shot was being administered. It didn't really matter how many times I told him to remain really still, his body moved in reaction to what was happening to him. We started walking down the hall and I praised him like crazy before breaking the other news. On top of four shots, Brother's pediatrician ordered a lead test that would require his blood to be drawn. He took it rather well but did still opposed the idea. I mean, who wouldn't at least suggest not doing something that we know will cause pain? I sat down in the chair and my firstborn found comfort in my lap. Once again Babydoll took her place in the corner facing the scene. The nurse was really sweet and tried to ease the blow by chatting with him casually at first and then telling him exactly what she was going to do. Meanwhile a couple big field grade officers came and got blood drawn in the same room. They further modeled their patriotic bravery by encouraging a freckle faced red haired boy. I was thankful for their kind words. Attempt number one and the nurse couldn't get the needle into Brother's vein. I wasn't too surprised. The nurse really didn't want to keep trying for fear of traumatizing him so she came up with another method. She had planned to prick his finger and squeeze out drops of blood one at a time until she got enough for them to test. I trusted her experience. Like I did the time before, I held Brother in my arms and turned his head toward me and away from the direct cause of his pain. "Look at me!" I said. He cried with the prick but again the nurse was so reassuring. It didn't take long and he was looking around the room at posters on the walls and talking to other people coming in and out. That is when the real work began. She started squeezing his finger catching drop after drop and scraping it into a tiny tube. The mood was more pleasant now but Brother remained secure in the care of my arms. After several minutes it was almost like he had forgotten what was really happening to him. The process was tedious and draining but it was manageable. Another nurse came in after being asked to come help massage his finger. That is when they noticed. After 10 minutes of meticulously pinching out droplets of my son's blood both collected samples were of no use. They swirled the tubes in the air up toward the light and confirmed that they had both clotted and had to be thrown out. My very first thought was how much Blonde would probably die to be able to have such an inconvenience in her four year old son's regular doctor visits. Oh how we take things for granted! By this point we were in no hurry. They decided to try the vein in the other arm again but gave me the choice of whether to do it now or to come back another time. I decided to push forward so we didn't have to deal with this again for a long time. I turned his head toward me and started singing his newborn lullaby to him in a whisper. "You can cry, but please don't move. Be very still," I said. He let out a loud yelp and the ladies managed to pierce the vein. Five seconds later two tubes were full enough to do the routine tests they needed. The kiddos got more stickers and we were on our way. It didn't take long and the Lord brought my thoughts back to Him. There are chapters of our lives that bring pain. Some come in two swift jabs. It doesn't matter if we know if it is coming or not, we can't expect how it will really hurt. Our first instinct is to thrash and kick and for that it leaves a bruise. We question why anything good could come from something so sudden and even expectantly painful. We think good is wrapped up in lollipops and stickers. But what if we understood that the greater good is found in enduring that pain to prevent something much more harmful? Wouldn't we be more eager to sign up for the quick needle prick as opposed to the long drawn out "illness"? *NOTE: This is not a vaccine debate.* How safe we are in the lap of our Father, wrapped up in His arms. He whispers into our scared faces, "Look at me!" while gently tilting our chin toward his Word and away from the fading cares of the world. "You can cry, but please don't move. Be very still." The pain is real in our hearts. We know it is coming. But there is something about choosing to be still and trusting fully that God has a good and perfect plan for each of our lives. Some seasons of pain are brief. Others seem to linger for years like watching tiny drops of blood slowly filling a test tube. But both are spent in the Father's arms choosing to be still even while crying because our eyes are fixed on Him. Can you even imagine what our Heavenly Father felt when our Savior and Lord, his Son, spilled His blood for us? Overwhelmed.