Saving the Best Till Last

Saving the Best Till Last

From Chicken Soup for the Nurse's Soul Second Dose

Saving the Best Till Last

Miserable comforters are ye all.

Job 16:2

The clinic I worked at in a small rural town had a childhood immunization program. We often had only five clients on any given clinic day, except, that is, when it was time for school vaccinations. Then we could easily have twenty to thirty clients during our three-hour clinic.

One busy summer day a young lady, who would be entering seventh grade, came into our immunization clinic. As soon as she entered I knew this was going to take a while, as she immediately began to cry. I quietly closed the door and instructed her and her father to sit at the screener’s table. I reviewed her records and explained her need for tetanus,MMR, and a series of three hepatitis B vaccines. She cried even harder and tried to leave, but her dad talked her into sitting back down and continuing with the process.

I tried to comfort her, but to no avail. I began teaching about each vaccine and she interrupted. “Do I really need to take all three of those shots?”

I assured her she did, and she bawled harder. I proceeded with my injection routine, explaining everything as I did. When I attempted to give the tetanus booster, she jerked away and covered the injection site with her free hand. After much coaxing, she moved her hand away, received the injection, and melted into tears again.

This scene was repeated as I finally gave the hepatitis B vaccine and, thirty minutes later, the MMR. She clung to me afterward and finally ceased crying—until I reminded her to come back the next month for her second hepatitis B. Her dad assured me they’d return. I had my doubts.

The next month, they were indeed back. I had hoped she realized this was really no big deal, but she erupted into tears as soon as she entered my room again. We repeated her routine of protest, but I finally talked her into taking her second hepatitis B—this time in only ten minutes!

I was surprised to see her back five months later, but not surprised to see the deluge of tears. I tried to cheer her up by telling her, “This is the last hepatitis B vaccination I will ever give you. I promise! But you have to have this one because this is the one that makes the vaccine work.”

She looked at me with a shocked expression. “Well, why didn’t you give me this one first?”

Delores Treffer

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