So who’s afraid of a little injection?
APRIL 8 — Last week was a pretty busy week for us at school. We had the nurses visiting us to administer immunisation shots to the children, causing much drama at the sickbay!
I was just about to start my lesson when there was a knock on the door. It was one of my colleagues informing me that I was to bring the kids to the sickbay for their immunisation shots.
After thanking the teacher, I told the kids we were all going to go to the sickbay to see the nurses. They cheered and quickly put away their books. Any chance to be out of the classroom is always welcomed so it was no surprise they took a really short time to form two lines outside of the classroom and were ready to go.
The kids were chattering excitedly among themselves, since they had no idea what the nurses had in store for them this time. The last time the nurses came, it was for their dental check-up. Some of the kids had cried and refused to even let the nurses look at them, so I was expecting some drama during the check-up.
Once they got to the sickbay, I distributed their health records. I made sure the ones whose parents did not consent to their children accepting the health services provided at school were not included in that day’s group. Some parents choose to get their children immunised at private clinics or hospitals and would kick up a real big fuss if their child somehow got included so I always make sure that doesn’t happen.
The girls were the first to go. The first one stood quietly while the nurse administered the shot, earning praises from the nurses and teachers for the calmness she showed. This reassured the other kids that the shots were not that painful and the rest of the girls received their shots with nary a tear.
There were of course some who chose to hide behind their friends, hoping I wouldn’t see them and they would get to escape today’s ordeal. No such thing! A couple of girls flinched while the shots were being administered, causing the needle to almost break. Luckily that didn’t happen, though I swear my heart almost stopped when I saw the girl moving just as the nurse started to inject her.
Some of the boys who at first were fighting over who got to sit at the front of the line, had quietly sneaked to the back of the line. When I realised that they had moved, I asked why.
“Takut!” said Haziq. The songkok-wearing boy was busy reciting some verses, perhaps to calm himself down. I could see fear in his eyes.
I told them it was just going to hurt a little and if they didn’t look at the needle as it went in, it wouldn’t hurt as much. That obviously did not help.
One started crying. Scratch that. He started bawling his eyes out, and refused to even enter the sickbay. We coaxed him into just talking to the nurse so she could take note of his weight and height. One boy even told me to call his mother so she would revoke her consent.
Another tried to run away from the sickbay. We told the kids if they didn’t have their injections today, their parents would need to go to the nearest government clinic to get them done. That would definitely inconvenience the parents so we always try to avoid that.
The nurses were wonderful. They were kind and gentle with the kids and somehow managed to charm these unwilling patients into getting their injections. I complimented them on their good job in coaxing the unwilling. The nurses told me experience helped a lot. They had been going around schools administering immunisation shots for a long time.
I was surprised to hear the nurses tell me that primary school children are braver than secondary school students! One of the nurses told me that if I thought these little kids of mine were drama kings, then those at secondary schools are even worse!
“Dah bermisai, berjanggut, tapi nangis!” she said, chuckling at the memory.
Everyone feels fear, young or old. I told the boys they were more than welcome to cry or scream if they feel it could help them get through the ordeal. That resulted in us having quite a few screaming patients. The funny thing was it was only before and during the injections that they were crying. Once it was over, one of the boys even said to me,” Eh, it wasn’t so bad, miss!” I could only shake my head. My little drama kings!
Later that day, I passed by the sickbay and saw the nurses still there. I asked how the other class did.
“The first two classes were okay! The others? Haish, fail!” she said.
Apparently it went downhill from there. One of the boys even kicked one of the nurses when she tried to give him an injection, so the teachers and nurses had to hold him down. Hearing about that made me wince, because there were needles involved and accidents could have happened! The boy cried and screamed but once it was done, ran out of the room and was prancing and dancing with his friends in no time.
Luckily, the day went without any accidents so that was a good thing. There are a couple more classes that need to be given their immunization shots this week so let’s hope there won’t be too much drama then!
* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.