Hi. So, I got a little ahead of myself for the post I promised you on Friday. It turns out that Claire had her first off-therapy check-up on Friday, and . . . I completely forgot about it.
After visiting doctors monthly and following a strict schedule of medicine for two years, I guess I just signed out. We did get to the appointment on time. Me, Claire, and Avery. The playroom was closed so the kids were pretty disappointed from the beginning. It went downhill from there since we had to wait for quite awhile and I wasn’t prepared with crayons and snacks. But, the cherry on top was the flu shots. All three of us had to get flu shots. I decided, wrongly, not to tell the girls it was coming.
“Can I hold them both on my lap?” I asked the nurse covertly.
“Yep. That’s fine,” she reassured me.
“And, can you do them at the same time?” Obviously, if the girls received the shots at the same time, they wouldn’t have to endure the anticipation of their turn.
The moment before the nurses were ready, little Aves with her sweet voice asked, “Mommy, am I getting a poke?”
She’s been watching Claire get ‘pokes’ for quite awhile now, so the girl knows the signs. Claire on the other hand was oblivious even though I had pulled down her pants for the obligatory shot in the leg. She was busy asking for snacks.
“Yes, Aves. You are going to get a poke,” I whispered hoping Claire didn’t hear. Even if I am sneaky, I don’t lie to my children. Yet.
The nurses counted, “1. 2. 3.”
Simultaneously, they went for it. Avery watched in fascination. She didn’t cry. She didn’t flinch. She just watched.
Claire, on the other hand, panicked and started sobbing while swatting the nurse’s hand. She now has scratches on her leg where the needle scraped her leg THREE times before I got a hold of her hand and the nurse got the needle into Claire’s leg. Claire continued sobbing and shaking until she got to watch me get a flu shot. Misery loves company.
Afterward, Avery was proud to wear her Elmo bandaid and wanted to show it to everyone. It was her badge of courage. She was just as brave as Claire and now she knew! Claire told me that she couldn’t walk to the car because her leg was hurt from the shot.
They both walked to the car just fine.
Once home, I didn’t want to give a poor report of Claire’s behavior, so I told Dustin that Claire was a little more ‘surprised’ by the shot. She continued to repeat this to me throughout the day, “I was just surprised by the shot, huh, Mom?” The girl who has had more than one hundred ‘pokes’ in her short life FREAKED out over a flu shot. I got one, too, remember. It wasn’t that bad. It hurt more an hour later than it did during the actual injection. I told the receptionist about the weirdness of it all – my two-year-old who has no memory of a shot was completely composed while my child who has just kicked cancer to the curb seemed to hit her breaking point over a flu shot. The receptionist laughed and said they have tons of stories of these little cancer kids revolting against unexpected treatments. One 7-year-old boy grabbed his mom’s cell phone, dove under the table, and started dialing 911. He was crying, “They’re trying to kill me!”
I’m not sure what to make of it. Claire also had a poke in her arm for a blood draw. She was pretty mad about that, too. Part of me wanted to defend her. “Can we just be done?! I think she’s had enough!” The other part of me wanted to shake Claire a little bit. “Claire! You’ve done so many things that were SO much harder than this! Why can’t you just . . . grow up?” I didn’t say either. I reminded Claire that she is brave and strong and that she can DO this. She did.
Claire has been chemo-free for 23 days. In those 23 days, we’ve packed up and moved our little family for the tenth time in as many years. I don’t think I’ve really had the chance to savor the lack of medicine yet. I have had the chance to forget that we should visit the doctor once a month, though. I did that quite well.