Study in Coaching and the Needle

We need a phalanx of inoculations. Kids get 7 or 8. Dana and I get something like 12. Seven times we bravely field trip to Mass General’s Travel Immunization and Infectious Diseases Department to get little doses of rabies, Japanese Encephalitis, Yellow Fever, Typhoid, and other unpronounceable critters shot into our bodies. The nurses and staff know us by sight. But that has not made it any easier for a few of us.

We go through the same dance every time. Everyone is stoic and brave-hearted as we get into the car. “Hah,” says one of the kids, “we’ve done this so many times it’s getting fun!” Reserved, slightly timorous laughter follows.

Anxiety increases as we park, crescendos in the elevator, artificially subsides in the waiting room and explodes in “the lab.”

I'm In My Happy Place

Yesterday three of the four kids face the needle with surprising courage. One does not. And the panicked negotiating begins: “if you let me leave I’ll never cry again,” “OK, OK, OK how about I go after you Mom? I’m sure I’ll be ready then.”

In a stern paternal tone, I point out: “you have three choices: 1) we hold you down, you struggle and it hurts, 2) you relax and make it a lot easier on yourself or, 3) you don’t get the shots and you don’t come with us cuz I’ll be damned if I’m taking a kid to Borneo if there’s a risk he’ll slowly die as some worm eats his brain.”

That worked. He chose a modified version of #2: submission with half-hearted struggle followed by the now-familiar revelation, “hey, that wasn’t that bad!”

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9 Responses to “Shots”

  1. Really Dad????


  2. I was really good though!!! I was probably the only one totally calm!! 😀

  3. Just added this site to our iPad home screen so that we can follow your trip and live it vicariously. The concept will be a wonderful reality in just a few weeks. Safe and adventurous travels!

  4. Greg, thanks for sharing the link to this lovely blog with me. You are going to have a lot of folks living vicariously through your adventures! Great for you. See you next year.
    Warmly, Marian (from Amherst)

  5. Be brave!

  6. You are experiencing the first of many trip negotiations and seem to be handling it quite well. I like the three option technique very much and often use it myself. Any less and they don’t really feel like they had a true choice, any more and it gets ridiculous 🙂

    Ten years of planning is finally coming to fruition, how exciting. This website is wonderful and we are going to have so much fun with Robbie and Grady tracking you across the world.

    We will all miss you, but will be here to hear your stories when you return. Bon chance et bon voyage.

  7. haha alex im proud that you were brave! andrew its ok i hate shots too- i cant imagine getting that many…

  8. Way to tough it out guys.

  9. nice technique convincing the boys that everything will be juuust fiiiine. its fine though i TOTALLY spaz when i need to get shots

    miss you all 🙂