Saturday, December 11, 2010

big mistake

On Thursday my school brought nurses in to administer the flu shot/nasal spray for free. Now, of course this is a great opportunity for our families and hopefully will keep our little ones in class longer and keep us all healthier. When I first heard about this "great opportunity" I was worried. On first introduction it sounded like we'd be responsible for leading a line of kindergartners down to the clinic to get a shot. It was even more distressing to hear that we'd be responsible for getting them back to the clinic in January since some children need the shot twice. We might have been able to get Pixie to sit down for a shot once, but twice? Not on your life.

I was skeptical of the whole thing until they announced that most children would get the nasal spray (praise the Lord) and they'd be organizing getting our children to and from the vaccination administration area. Really, for teachers, it turned out to be ridiculously low stress and ran fairly smoothly.

Or ran smoothly for most.

Not being a classroom teacher I was free to pop in and see if they needed any help. "Help" aka: being ridiculously nosy. But you know, sometimes the being helpful will out-weigh the original nosiness. I found one of our assistant principals and one of our IAs chatting with a tearful 3rd grade boy who was absolutely refusing to sit down to get the nasal spray. Now, this was absolutely none of my business.  I'm sure they had it covered. But I decided that since I'd taught the boy's little brother last year that maybe I should help. (ridiculous, right? It drives me crazy when other adults do this to me, yet I couldn't stand back). SO, I take the 3rd grade friend by the hand and ask him to help me with my kinders. He goes with me to pick up 6 nervous five year olds and helps me hold their hands and tell them it was going to be ok as we walked toward the vaciation station. Ha! I patted myself on the back. Excellent, now he'll be stoic for my little ones, he'll help them AND he'll get his own nasal dose quickly. Still hopeful, I asked him if my 5 year olds could watch him- would he go first so they'd see it was all ok?

Yeah. This was dumb. Perhaps one of the dumbest things I've done in my history of teaching.

So I gather my sweet little girls around him as he's beginning to realize that he's been tricked. Suddenly his eyes flash into a deer-in-the-headlights look and he bolts like he's going to run. A nurse caught him and pushed him into the chair while another held his head back. The original nurse stuck the vaccine spray into his nose while he desperately tried to escape- his body literally bucking as though he's the victim of some horror movie. The nasal spray also happens to be in thin little viles that, if you're not watching closely enough, appear to look just like a thin-shot.

 To my five year old girls, already nervous about going to the doctor at school, it appeared that the evil nurses were holding him down in a headlock and shoving thin glass tubes up his nose in order to inject his brain, or perhaps, pull his brains out. From my 3rd grade friend's behavior, it also looked like the vaccine caused his body to go rigid and flail all at the same time.

And here I was, smiling, pushing them toward him, saying, "Look, it's not that bad" until suddenly I'd thrown my body between them and him and tried to distract them.

I was too late.

All my girls burst into tears of horror before they'd even been given the nasal spray.

In my nosiness I managed to add extra chaos to an already slightly chaotic day, and added extreme trauma to what may have other been a smooth experience for my 5 year olds.



magpie said...

Yeah. This was dumb. Perhaps one of the dumbest things I've done in my history of teaching.
You have to have a healthy ego to be a teacher, unfortunately risk gets trumped often by confidence...We've all been there sister ☺☺☺

Suzanne said...

Poo happens. We all put our foot in it sometimes. You know, he may not remember this but he might remember something small that happened in a very vivid way. We never know what's going to stick and what isn't.

I'll keep you in my prayers and wish you well.

John Wills Lloyd, Ph.D. said...

Ooops. Ahh, well. Chaos comes and goes, doesn't it.

I wonder if a "Watch-me" (with an empty or a water mist) could be arranged for the first one?

jwg said...

When I taught for Head Start the kids had fingerprocks for anemia every year. The people who did it weren't very nice and the kids were mostly traumatized. And then we were left to pick up the pieces. That was over 30 years ago and I had managed to block it out until now. Thanks. By the way, what happens next is that some of them will be terrified every time they see a nurse, even for eye exams.