Thursday, May 13, 2010


I am sent to check a 12-month-old before her immunisations. I kneel down next to her in the treatment room and get a bit of a history from Mum and Grandma. The little girl wrinkles her nose and gives me a cheeky grin. She’s been well apart from getting ‘the snuffles’ last week, but she’s over that. She reaches for my stethoscope and I hand it over (they’re unbreakable ... right?). She’s feeding well, eating solids as well as formula, and she can feed herself but not with a spoon. She demonstrates by placing a good portion of my stethoscope’s tubing in her mouth – it makes her drool. Yes, she’s feeling well in herself, she’s a very friendly and happy girl. She reaches up for me to hold her, reaches for my ID, my pen, my earrings. I need to check her over. She is happy for me to take her temperature, listen to her chest, look at her tonsils. She is all good for immunisations.

And now the horrible part. She needs three injections – one in each arm, one in the leg. There is only one nurse at the clinic today, so I offer to help out, and after being coached thoroughly in paediatric immunisations (don’t go in to the bone!), I give one of the arm injections. My happy little girl screams, cries, and then looks at me accusingly, and I feel like the worst person in the world.

Then she is given a jelly snake – she actually licks her lips before eating it – and everything is right in the world ... I am forgiven. And as I’m wiping drool off my stethoscope, I’m glad we’re ok.

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