Flu Vaccine, MMR Booster and More Blood Tests!

Ethan hates the doctors, a trip to the doctors is a very stressful experience for all involved! It all started in 2012 when Ethan had tonsillitis and because of his sensory issues with his mouth, Ethan had to be pinned down to be examined. The sight of a stethoscope can also send Ethan into a frenzy! I’m sure the fact that Ethan is non-verbal really doesn’t help the cause as we are yet to find a way to explain that the doctors aren’t going to hurt you. The past few months have been full of stressful doctors appointments for Ethan.

It all started with an invitation for Ethan to have the flu vaccine, for younger children this comes in the form of a nasal spray. It wasn’t something I really wanted Ethan to have as I had a bad reaction to the one I had when I was pregnant, but Darren felt Ethan needed it as he is so prone to getting ill. So we agreed to book it in knowing that it wasn’t going to be an easy appointment.

As Darren can never make these lovely appointments grandad was drafted in to keep Ethan in place. As expected the whole procedure was a battle, Ethan was held as firmly in place as possible whilst the flu vaccine was placed up his nose. The struggle caused lots of uncontrollable crying and a nose bleed, it wasn’t fun but Ethan’s appointments never are.

The next battle was the MMR booster. This was due at the same time as the flu vaccine but we knew that was ordeal enough for one day so we were booked in for the following week. Unfortunately the flu vaccine caused Ethan to have a temperature, which at a later date we discovered was an infection, so we ended up cancelling this appointment three times hoping to try again in the Christmas holiday when Darren would be available for the appointment. On the day of the appointment we made it to the doctors where they had two nurses booked into see us ready for the fight, only to discover that Ethan still had a temperature and therefore couldn’t have the MMR booster.

Ethan’s reaction to the nurses was horrible, he remembered the nurse that gave him the flu vaccine so there was a battle even though nothing was done at this appointment. The nurses were very helpful as they said there is a service where nurses come to your home to give the MMR boosters but she wasn’t sure if we qualified, so instead of rebooking us an appointment she said she would look into it for us. Unfortunately the home visits only happen for children after their fourth birthday whose parents haven’t attempted to have the booster, so we said we would just wait until they contact us. Hoping that the home option would help. This service also offers a drop in at our local walk in centre every few months, and there was one taking place in February so we also said we would attempt there as it is a different place from the doctors. The MMR booster was really stressing me out as I was worried about us being able to keep Ethan still and the needle breaking, which would mean even more stress!

In January Ethan had a six month check up with a paediatrician to see how he was getting on. Thankfully it was a different doctor from our last six month check up and the whole experience was a lot nicer. Whilst there she told us she wanted Ethan to have more blood tests. We had to have these last year for genetic testing and they come back clear apart from low iron levels and a possibility that Ethan could have an issue with his thyroid. This was something we were unaware of until it was mentioned in this appointment. My face fell at the thought of this and I told the doctor about the trouble we were having with his MMR booster, she was very helpful and said she would write to the hospital and see if they could do the booster at the same time. This wouldn’t be a great experience for Ethan but I thought if they can take blood from him an injection should be easy!

So last week, after already having to put it off due to Ethan being ill, the dreaded blood test day had arrived.

Last year the blood test appointment was easy, this year was a different story and poor grandad was drafted in again. The first thing to tackle was the blood tests, Ethan knew something was up as soon as we walked in. As much as it pains me to say this, the best method is just to grab Ethan and get it over and done with as soon as possible. This also means the nurses feel like they have to apologise for the screaming, crying and fighting they are causing, but there really is no other way and it really is very upsetting to be part of. Grandad really did deserve a medal for holding fighting with Ethan whilst all this was going on, as Ethan really does have the strength of the incredible hulk. Poor Ethan had to have blood taken from both hands as they didn’t get enough blood from the first hand. It took three nurses and grandad to complete the task.

After the stress of the blood tests we were taken to another part of the hospital for the dreaded MMR. This procedure also included three nurses and they were brilliant. Ethan sat on grandad’s lap while two nurses kept Ethan’s leg as still as possible. It was over within minutes.

I was so glad to be leaving the hospital that day and I must admit I had to stop myself from breaking down in tears on the way back to the car. It’s a terrible thing to watch your child be pinned down, crying and fighting but I know these things have to be done. You have to learn how to suppress the maternal instinct to protect our child in these appointments, this really isn’t an easy task! The nurses were brilliant and know exactly how to handle these situations. I just hope we don’t need to have anymore blood tests for a good few years.

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6 thoughts on “Flu Vaccine, MMR Booster and More Blood Tests!”

  1. oh bless him – poor little lad. It’s bad enough for any kid to have vaccinations, blood tests etc but when there’s Autism and sensory issues involved it is mega hard on everyone. Hoping for no more blood tests for a long long time. xxx

  2. Poor little mite. When Grace had her pre-school injections she (thankfully) didn’t remember what had gone before – she hasn’t forgotten now though! He sounds like a strong little guy – thank goodness for Grandads 🙂 Thank you for linking to PoCoLo, it’s lovely to see you xx

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