The salvation of any Island family with needle-averse children in recent years has been the “flu mist,” an alternate form of the yearly influenza vaccine that gets squirted into the nose rather than needled into the arm.
For Oliver the coming of the mist was transformative; flu vaccine time was still an anxious time of the year, mostly because being in a hall filled with other people about to get a needle is like sitting in the waiting room of a particularly brutal airport. But the anxiety was manageable, and thus not a source of seasonal dread.
So much so that we secured permission from Dr. Heather Morrison, Chief Public Health Officer, to allow Oliver to continue to receive the mist into adulthood.
Which is why, when it was announced in September that the flu mist would not be available in Canada this season, due to shortages, my chest tightened.
After confirming with Dr. Morrison that the mist was out, we decided to follow her advice to look into receiving the flu shot from our family doctor, a setting where we could be more in control of the environment, and where Oliver would be more comfortable.
Fortunately we have a family doctor, and our family doctor has an exceptionally talented nurse, Cheryl, who Oliver’s known for many years, and with whom he has a good relationship.
So we made an appointment for this morning.
I chatted with Cheryl on the phone before we came into the office to establish a shared understanding of the challenge ahead.
And then casually mentioned to Oliver, after breakfast, that we had an appointment with Cheryl to get the flu shot (reminding him of her excellent bedside manner, and problem-free blood draw this summer).
And we headed into the office for 10:00 a.m.
About 10 minutes before giving Oliver the shot, Cheryl came out into the waiting room and applied some numbing cream to the injection site; once Oliver’s arm had a chance to numb up, we went into an exam room, Oliver hopped up on the exam table, and he got his flu shot.
No fuss, no muss.
Well, some preemptive muss. And a lot of hang-wringing and worry on my part and Catherine’s.
But Oliver rose to the occasion. Cheryl rose to the occasion. And Oliver’s been vaccinated.