About a week ago, I had my annual physical with my OB/GYN. I know, TMI. But it pertains to this story.
While speaking with the nurse practitioner, I asked about getting Alyssa the HPV vaccination. Ginger, the nurse practitioner (not her real name but very similar to her real name, which is even weirder than Ginger, just saying) said that their office doesn’t administer the vaccine but that our family doctor, who happens to be in the same office area does.
She also emphasized that it is very important to get the three shots that give this vaccination before a girl (or boy, boys are encouraged to be vaccinated to…end PSA.) is sexually active. I told Ginger that Alyssa is eleven a couple of times but she kept coming back to the emphasis that it needs to happen before sexual activity. Yeah, I finally said. I know, which is why I’m asking about it now, when sexual activity is the last thing on her mind. She’s ELEVEN and still thinks boys are gross, thank you Lord!
So I made the appointment with our family doctor.
I gave Alyssa a heads up about a week ago, letting her know she had to go in and get a shot because it was in the best interest of her health.
She wasn’t happy with me but got over it pretty fast. MY girls are pretty cool about this kind of thing. They understand that sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do because it’s for our own good.
The morning arrived and Tom gleefully reminded Alyssa that he’d be bringing her to town that afternoon so I could take her to the doctor to get her shot.
She frowned at him as only a preteen girl can frown at someone and went about her day.
I left work about a half hour early, met Tom and the girls at O’s eye doctor to get her glasses bent a little to fit her face better.
Then we headed off to our family doctor where Alyssa was all ready to get her shot.
Except…we were ushered into the consult room where the nurse looked over Alyssa’s records and informed us that Alyssa was behind on a couple of other vaccinations and did I want to just get them done today?
She told me that in Indiana all sixth grade students need to be vaccinated against Tetanus and Meningococcal.
Alyssa’s eyes widened and I saw that she was fighting tears. As the nurse spoke, her face got more and more tense.
“So we’re talking about to three shots at this point?” I asked, giving Alyssa my most sympathetic look
The nurse said, “I’m not done. She’s also due for an MMR booster and her HepA booster.”
Alyssa made a choking sound. “Five?” she said, incredulous at this news.
I mean, seriously. Can you blame her? The poor kid has herself all pumped up to receive on shot and she’s hearing this nurse tell her she needs five.
“I’m sorry,” the nurse was kind enough to say. “But yes. Five.”
I asked, “Is there any reason we shouldn’t give her all five today? Is it bad for her to have all of them at once?”
The nurse told us that there was no reason not to give her all the shots that day. They wouldn’t interact, she’s young and strong. It was better to get it all over with.
Alyssa maintained her composure, not even a single tear made its way out of her eyes.
The nurse left for a few minutes and then came back with reinforcement. She’d brought another nurse with her so that they could do the shots together.
She got two shots in her right arm and three in her left. She remained calm and barely flinched with each of the five shots.
And get this. When we left the doctor’s office, Alyssa was kind enough to tell me that she didn’t blame me for allowing this to happen. She blamed the nurse for bringing the awful news about needing all five shots.
Then, in her graceful way, she admitted that now that it was all over, she was glad we’d gone ahead and done it all at once instead of spacing them out over the next few weeks.
I didn’t have the heart to remind her that we’ll be back in a month and then again in six months for the next two HPV shots. That reminder will come soon enough.
Sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do because it’s for the greater good. This time, it was for Alyssa’s greater good. Even she understood that.