One of us fainted and one of us handled her shots like a boss
My daughter Lila recently needed to have some tests run, which meant getting her blood drawn (and not a finger prick this time). My husband and I put on a brave front. “It’s not that bad, ” we said. “It will be over so quick you won’t even know what happened!” And the admittedly awful technique, “We’ll buy you that Rapunzel hair bow if you get through this!”
You know the drill. She sat in my lap. I held her legs between mine and held her arms while my husband tried to comfort and distract her. This would have been all fine and dandy but Nurse Penelope (not her real name by a long shot) was having a tough time finding the vein.
Penelope poked and prodded with no luck. Lila stifled her tears and tried to be tough. The big girl in her came out, and I was both proud and horrified at how she handled the situation. The minutes crawled by with more poking and prodding (albeit it as gently as possible), and still no luck.
Lila cried and squirmed, as Penelope still couldn’t get the vein. Then came the bright lights and blurred circles that come with lightheadedness. Followed by blackness, and the smell of ammonia as Nurse Penelope stuck a cloth up my nose to bring me back to life.
That’s right—I was the one who fainted. Just as Nurse Penelope finally got things under control with Lila’s veins, I crumpled underneath her. My big girl put on her big girl panties and dealt with it…and I didn’t.
I was pretty humiliated, especially when Lila said, “How come you don’t feel good when I’m the one who had to get a shot?” On the way out, Lila wasn’t the only one who got a fairy sticker. They gave me one along with a pat on the back, a wink, and a “We see it all the time.” Except I bet they don’t see it all the time! Have you ever fainted at your kid’s doctor’s visit? That’s what I thought.
Funny how I could get my blood drawn all day long and not pass out, but watching my daughter struggle with it was too much for me to bear. Days later, I couldn’t shake the way this experience made me feel: sick to my stomach with helplessness and full of empathy for parents whose children require extensive medical care. The next time you stand strong next to your child, my hat’s off to you. And I might need to borrow your big girl panties for the next trip to the pediatrician.