Yesterday YoungestGirl was supposed to be getting her second and final chickenpox vaccination. We chose to vaccinate both girls privately; the immunisation isn’t offered as standard on the NHS. We chose to do this for a couple of reasons: firstly chickenpox can be a really, really unpleasant (and in rare cases, fatal) illness, and secondly the cost (£120 per child) is reasonably small compared to lost nursery fees and/or time taken off work to care for them. In Australia and the USA, the jab is part of the standard childhood immunisation schedule – without them, in some areas, children aren’t allowed to start school.
YoungestGirl managed to avoid yesterday’s injection by accidentally hurting her neck (t-shirt-related injury, don’t ask), and leading me to worry it could be meningitis (stiff neck, lethargic, in pain). She lay on my lap all morning, happy just to be cuddled. This was not normal. There was no temperature, but she was very unhappy. She ate no lunch. I don’t think this has ever happened before.
By the time I got a nurse’s appointment, YoungestGirl was screaming in pain and I got a lecture from the nurse about managing her pain appropriately. Strangely, the nurse was less forthcoming on what you should do when your child refuses Calpol from either a syringe or a spoon, and when you do actually manage to get it in their mouth, they spit it out again immediately. But her lecture was otherwise quite robust.
The nurse asked us to wait for an hour to see the doctor, just to rule out anything else. I asked what else, and apparently “a broken neck” was one of the things we would be ruling out. I really thought it was highly unlikely that you could break your neck with a t-shirt, but I’m not a medical professional.
Two miracles happened back-to-back straight after seeing the nurse. MIRACLE 1: I found a small sachet of travel Calpol in my changing bag. It might have been a few
years months out of date, but it was paracetamol nonetheless. MIRACLE 2: The nurse popped her head back into the changing room to YoungestGirl happily glugging the Calpol from the sachet, making me look like a massive liar.
By the time the doctor called us an hour later, there was ostensibly nothing at all wrong with YoungestGirl at all. She was literally running around the doctor’s room and giggling. The doctor took her temperature, looked in her ears and sent us on our way. “SWING!” shouted YoungestGirl on spotting the nearby playground, and insisted we detoured. Once home, she wanted to play on the trampoline. I don’t think her neck is broken. She ate a huge dinner.
Luckily for me, and unluckily for her, the vaccination was able to be rescheduled for today, so she might have won the battle, but she’s still been jabbed by the pharmacist.