By: Margo Rawlings
Local News Editor
Did I have a mental breakdown and throw a tantrum over getting my flu shot last year? Yes. Will I have another one this year? Also yes. While this may seem a little irrational, and even somewhat toddler-like, don’t be so quick to judge! First, allow me to explain the five stages of grief I experience each year.
First: denial. Every year my mother informs me of my flu shot appointment at the latest possible moment, thinking that it’ll save me from dreading the upcoming date. Contrary to her beliefs, it does not. I spend the first quarter of my day in severe denial. I use the entirety of my brain power to convince myself that my mother is mistaken, and this is a mix up. This continues until I come to the unfortunate realization that no matter how much I manifest my mom’s car breaking or a natural disaster occuring, the likelihood of escape is pretty slim.
This initiates the next stage: anger. Words cannot describe the wrath that I feel for anyone and everyone around me. Describing me as “moody” would be quite an understatement. I’ll admit, although I can be grumpy at times, that is nothing compared to the pure rage I feel following such devastating news.
Then, the bargaining begins. One of my most common tactics is attempting to convince my mother not to force me to go. All reason flies out the window, especially when I get desperate, because I will say anything not to get a shot. Oftentimes, I’ll inform my mother, who really only wants the best for me, that I would prefer to get the flu rather than a shot. To this, most people would think I was foolish, but I really don’t think they understand my perfectly rational fear of shots.
After bargaining comes sadness. Along with anger, the sadness really sets in during the car ride to the doctor with the understanding that there is no way for me to prevent this. I will start unashamedly sobbing with a tiny sliver of hope that my mother will feel some pity for me and turn the car around. Unfortunately, this is never the case.
One might think that once I, a 15 year old, got out of the car, I’d stop crying because I am 15, and it is “just a shot.” They would be wrong. I feel no shame in walking into my doctor’s office mid tantrum. As a vaccine veteran, I have created a very specific list of questions for the nurse in charge of such an important job. Depending on the answers I receive, I can then assess whether the nurse in question is qualified to give me my shot. Some nurses just need to understand that I’m not 5 anymore. Little tricks like asking me to look away or surprising me just don’t work. If anything they’ll earn the nurse a nice little death stare from me. In the end, I manage to survive, regardless of the pain, and am rewarded with Cookies and Cream ice cream. However, when next year rolls around, I find myself right back at stage 1, denying all that is to come.