Thursday, November 20, 2008

Lessons from a Flu Shot

Once again today, I saw such a simple picture of my own faith and walk with God played out in Abigail's words. I woke her up this morning to rush, as usual, to get dressed and make it to our appointment for both of our flu shots at the doctor's office. I had talked with her last night about getting one, so she had already had at least one night of possibly unsettled sleep preparing for the impending prick in her leg.

Up until this point, any shot has been an easy shot. She has had all of her regular vaccinations, and I didn't really have to prepare her for what was going to happen. She was blissfully unaware of what a "shot" was, so there was really no point in explaining ahead of time. We would go in, she would get the stick in the gorgeous little fat rolls on her legs, and we would call it a day. She would always let out a cry of pain as she got the shot, but it would be over quickly once she realized there was a treat such as a sticker or sucker on the other side.

I think she has started to understand shots more recently since I had my miscarriage. I have had to go to the doctor more than enough times to have blood drawn out of my arm. Since I don't really want to explain "drawing blood" to her, she would show great concern when I came home with a band-aid on my arm and I would just tell her I got a shot. Then she started incorporating "giving shots" in her play time. She would come up with a pen or something and ask Paul or me if she could give us a shot. We'd say yes, and then playfully say "Ouch!" when she gave it to us. Unfortunately, that playful "ouch" has been gradually stored up in her little noggin as record of "Oh, now I need to remember that shots hurt."

So this morning I was getting her dressed and she kept saying in her sleepy, whiny voice "I don't waaaaant a flu shot." I didn't bother to tell her that I didn't either. I just kept thinking of ideas to make it not so bad.

"Maybe you could hold Baby Hayley, or the nurse could even give her a shot first", I would suggest.

"But I don't waaaaant a flu shot."

"Maybe you could watch me go first to see it's no big deal."

"But I don't waaaaaant a flu shot."

"Oh, but you need to know why flu shots are important. They help fight off germs in your body. Because if you get the flu, you get really, really sick and throw up and get a fever and feel so bad. A flu shot will help you stay well."

"But......." Well, you know the rest.

"Oh, and you can get a sucker from the nurse after you are done."

"Oh. Well, I just want the sucker. I don't want the shot."

Well, la de da. Don't we all just want the sucker and not the shot? Don't we all want the sweet reward, and wish we could skip whatever painful thing we have to go through first? I do. I know that God takes me through trials for my good. I know He leads me places I don't want to go, knowing that it will strengthen me.

Romans 5:3-5
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

I'm not sure Abigail, or myself for that matter, were feeling like rejoicing in our suffering when that needle was being stuck in our skin. But the pain only lasted for a moment. Really, it did. She got her sucker, and I had the true satisfaction of telling my daughter how brave she was. She may not understand that she just endured pain to keep her well, to make her body stronger. I'm not sure I even get that, at least in the spiritual sense. But I know that when a season of sickness hits, we have been strengthened.

When we were headed home, I told Abigail we needed to go by the church to do something. She said, "No, I just want us to go home, sit on the couch, and be brave." Would you look at that? Sounds like someone developed a little "character."

1 comment:

nlamom said...

Shots have been such a bad experience for us that I don't even tell the kids, I let them be surprised....and then make up for it by a trip to DQ later.