The Andromeda Pain

Given how much she talked about it on the ride home from school the past couple of days, suffice to say that Katelyn definitely internalized this week’s lesson about germs.

Ideal segue to my usual annual preparations to make sure she got her flu shot (in addition to myself, naturally).  These things are easier planned than done.  Now I had to tell her.

Anxiety…suffice to say, the stress level was increasing as both Amber and I had to break the news to the girl that today was the flu shot.

Oh yeah, the news did not go well.  Lots and lots of talk about being brave.

Still, armed to the teeth with incentive fruit snacks, with bravery boosting stuffed dolls, and the required Disney Princess bandaid, we set off.  Traffic on the trip south, while mild compared to the weekdays, was somewhat clogged, thanks to construction, but mercifully, there was no line at the doctor’s office the way there had been two years ago during the H1N1 scare.

Kate and I signed in at the desk and waited.  She amused herself with the office aquarium, while I sat and stared at whatever I get to read on my Droid.  She fish watched.  I people-watched.  And people heard…

A mother behind us, talking to her kids.  Apparently, she’d watched Contagion way too many times.  She is chiding her kids to keep their hands away from their faces, to not spread germs, to not get sick–because there were sick people all around them in the office!  

Frustration wells up in me.  This is the shot clinic.  Kate can’t get her flu shot if she was sick.  I had to wait until this weekend in the first place thanks to a cough that took hold inside Katelyn in late August and lingered only until this past week.  My daughter is not sick, nor, does it seem to be, anyone else, or their kid, in the office at this point.

That doesn’t stop this mother from continuing to run her mouth about getting germs from her kids’ hands.  Katelyn is done with the fish tank and wanders back to me to play with a waiting room table toy that the woman’s daughter had only just finished playing.  Meanwhile, Mom is angry with her girls.  They have not touched their faces, one has touched Mom’s face.  She promises time out and loss of privileges when the girls get home.  I try to steer Katelyn away and back to the fish tank, especially when Katelyn overhears the words “germ” and wants to share all that she learned this week.

The mom goes on complaining to her daughters about their dirty hands, whining now about how no one will take care of her if she gets sick because she takes care of everyone else.  I am fighting the urge to say something, even to point out that the doctor’s office has a “well” waiting room for people who are not sick.  Then I think of something worse…

For a moment, the imagined scene–I turn to the girls and remove my Cal cap:  “Girls, if you touch your face too many times, THIS (pointing to my head) will happen!”.

But I do not.  They call Katelyn’s name for her turn as I dismiss the guilty pleasure.


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