The following post is from Jennifer, a lifelong educator:
I was so sick last week that I thought I had pneumonia. When an x-ray ruled it out, the doctor sent me to the lab for an influenza nasal swab. Thinking the test would be a quick touch with a Q-tip, I dozed in the chair until my name was called.
The nurse gave me a heads-up as she verified my personal information. “This test will make you cry, you know.” What!? I thought you were going to touch my nose with a Q-tip!
“Is it painful?” I asked.
“Not really painful, just extremely irritating. But it doesn’t last long,” she assured me.
A minute later, I understood her warning. She opened a long, narrow tube and revealed a miniature toilet brush – at least, that’s what it reminded me of.
As anxiety about the upcoming procedure began to rise, the nurse said, “You need to sit on your hands.” I looked at her quizzically. “It will keep you from grabbing my hands to pull the instrument out of your nose.” Oh, joy.
I settled myself on my hands, tilted my head back and took a deep breath. In a couple of seconds, I wasn’t officially crying, but tears were involuntarily flowing down my cheeks, just as the nurse had warned. It was soon over and I heard myself breathe a sigh of relief.
As I left the office, I reflected on how well this particular nurse had prepared me for that short burst of hurt. She did two specific things that helped me through the procedure:
She gave me some advance warning so that I could prepare myself.
Silly as it sounds, I found that I trusted her because she was willing to tell me I would cry. Our kids are that way, too. They don’t need all the details, but if it’s going to hurt, we are wise to give them a couple of minutes to get ready.
She gave me something specific to do during the process.
Sitting on my hands not only kept me from touching something I wasn’t supposed to, it gave me some measure of control during the hardest part. I had to make myself stay on my hands which gave me something else to focus on. Telling our kids to squeeze our hands, hold tight to a stress ball, or count to ten gives them something to do besides scream.
This nurse reminded me how we can help our kids get through a tough visit to the doctor’s. And, yes, the test came back positive for influenza. At least I didn’t go through that for nothing!
Have you had any emergency trips to the doctor lately? How did you help your kids get through it?
|Jennifer is passionate about children and education. She homeschooled her two sons for five years, established and directed a Christian school in Maryland for 20 years, and currently teaches in a public school in a Chicago suburb. She loves investing in relationships and delights in every moment that she spends with her family.|