I recently got my covid vaccine and that made me remember a moment from my childhood.
I have always been scared of needles. I can give them to patients but when it comes to myself, I hesitate.
I had to be around 4 or 5 years old, when this incident happened. My mom had told me we were going to the doctors for a check up. I didn’t know that I was going to be getting a shot that day.
I remember as soon as I saw the needle, I immediately got scared and started to cry. The nurse tried to calm me down but I wasn’t listening to her. I wasn’t interested in getting a lollipop afterwards. All I knew at the time that it was going to hurt me when I got the shot.
This was back in the eighties. After seeing that I wasn’t calming down and I wasn’t going to let her give me the shot, the nurse then told me that she was going to have to get another nurse to hold me down. Back in the eighties, the nurses were allowed to hold down the children to give them their vaccines. I’m not sure if the nurses can do that today. I don’t work in pediatrics so I’m not sure.
The nurse went outside the room and returned with another nurse. That nurse stood in the doorway and was looking at me. The first nurse then said that this was the nurse that was going to hold me down if I didn’t cooperate and let her give me the shot.
To this day, I remember how the other nurse looked and made me feel. This nurse scared me. She looked very mean and was a bigger lady. Even though I was scared, I knew that I didn’t want this other nurse to touch me. I was scared that she would hurt me even more than the shot would hurt. I felt so powerless in that moment because I couldn’t get out of the situation. The only options were to allow the first nurse to give me the shot or get held down by the other nurse and get the shot. Either way I was getting the shot, whether I wanted it or not. If it were up to me, I wouldn’t have gotten the shot.
I allowed the first nurse to give me the shot then. Afterwards the nurse gave me a lollipop and called me a good girl. I didn’t feel like a good girl, I felt like I couldn’t trust any nurses. The lollipop didn’t make me feel better.
To this day, I still get nervous when getting a vaccine. I know that vaccines help eradicate viruses. I know that vaccines are mandatory for children. I feel like there could have been a better way to go about giving me the shot.
One time, I was supposed to get the flu vaccine. I was in my early twenties at this time. I got so nervous that I walked out before getting the vaccine. I had already paid my co pay for the doctors visit. I was just too nervous.
I’ve seen some recent videos of how some nurses get creative in giving kids their vaccines. They make it fun for the little kids and the kids aren’t scared. I wish that a nurse would have done that for me when I was little instead of telling me that I was going to get held down.
Now that I’m a nurse, I do understand that doctors offices are really busy. If even one patient takes up a lot of time, then that means less time with other patients or the staff will have to stay later. They might see up to 40 or 50 patients a day.
Have you ever had a childhood situation like this one? How did it shape you into the person that you are now?
That childhood situation actually made me a better nurse. I don’t want any of my patients to feel the way that I felt in the situation that I was in when I was little. I want them to feel like they have a choice in their treatment. I don’t want them to feel powerless. That was one reason that I wanted to be a labor and delivery nurse and then go into pediatrics. I didn’t want any kids to feel like I felt in that childhood situation. Maybe I could prevent that by becoming a nurse. Unfortunately I wasn’t hired for any positions in labor and delivery or pediatrics.
Now when I get any vaccines, I just don’t look at the needle. I know its going to hurt a little bit but I still get them. Even when I need my blood drawn, I can’t look at the needle. I can give my patients shots but I just don’t like to get them.
I recently accepted a job at a covid vaccine clinic. Hopefully I won’t have to let anyone practice on me. I have to teach people how to give vaccines at this job. This will be interesting.