What are your Monday mornings usually like? Spare a thought for the nurse who had our family as her first appointment recently. We rolled in, bleary eyed, expecting a fun sort of vaccination-catch-up and maybe a bit of a vague health and safety talk. Bor-ing. Well, it wasn’t long before we were being told in no uncertain terms that we should have our vaccination books all up to date, no excuses, and where WERE THEY ANYWAY? And by the way, rabies isn’t fun and YOU DIE. We had to weigh up the chances of ‘getting licked by a bat’ for example – not your normal Monday morning issues. It was borderline entertaining in a scary sort of queueing-for-a-rollercoaster kind of way. It wasn’t long before Nurse Jane began to succumb to the charm in the room though (!) and she called Colin a ‘groovy pastor’ so we practically became best friends on the spot.
She is SO cool, and has an actual heavy metal rockstar person for a son, who I want to stalk. She has been absolutely brilliant, getting us all sorted out and hiding her deep breathing exercises when we show up every couple of weeks, like a bunch of proverbial bad pennies (remember the head injury?) She has issued us with a whole new set of vaccination books. And, yey, she’s doing more jabs tomorrow..! Because we were all getting on so well, we decided to warn her we have been known to be a bit faint-y as a family (so probably needed even more TLC and attention to be on the safe side!) , and we shared our legendary injection story:
In 2010 when we first went to Lesotho we had to have bunch of vaccinations. Another unsuspecting nurse was settling in to her first day at the practice, and was doing a fine job warning us about dirty water, rural hospitals etc etc. Colin had recently had a knee operation so was taking up a lot of space in the tiny room, what with his crutches and straight leg. It was pretty airless and hot, and we were sitting recovering after our jabs. Little Fin was perched up on the bed, constantly interrupting, ‘Mum…… mum….? Mum can I have a drink?’ and I ignored him like all overly-polite mums do, because I was listening to the nurse. WELL… next thing we know, Fin has face-planted the FLOOR and is sprawled out like the rabid bat mentioned in paragraph one. Colin immediately tried to hobble over, hopping on his one good leg, and picked up his little firstborn. Fin’s eyes were rolled back and he had blood spurting out rhythmically from his chin, like a Monty Python kind of special effect. Nurse panicked (thinking it was some kind of reaction I guess) and ran to the door and shouted “I NEED HELP IN HERE!!!” which in turn made ME panic so I also helpfully fainted. One other child was wailing, I forget who…. but I do remember lying outside on the pavement with the RECEPTIONIST for company!! Ha ha!! And when we finally all stumbled out, leaving the practice with some awful delays and queues probably, we agreed ‘Well, that went well…’. I took Fin to A&E for some steristrips. The nurse phoned later that day, clearly traumatised and apologetic because she shouldn’t have popped Fin up on that high bed. I really hope she stuck with her career because she was lovely. What a first day though!
When we shared this story with Jane a few weeks ago I like to think we helped break the monotony of her Monday morning. We left, triumphant after our injections this time. One child had gone sweaty and yellow, but lay down throughout his jabs. One was still a bit pale but had made it through. But wait, we had spoken too soon ……….it was pavement time again: