Monday, 22 October 2012

Just Call Me 'Two Jags'

I see MMR uptake rates in the west of Scotland are up. Now there’s a riveting first line of a blog. Of course it wasn’t that long ago that simply mentioning the measles, mumps and rubella vaccination was tantamount to witchcraft. Parents were whipped into hysteria thanks to fraudulent doofus Wakefield. Not that the scaremongering has gone away - check out “Doctor” Trump here.

If I’ve learned anything since becoming a dad three and a half years ago it’s that it’s positively sickening watching your bundle of joy being jabbed with a syringe. Our bundle had her MMR the other day. Wife-features had cunningly scheduled it for one of my rare days off. Hip hip… I’m on holiday! Hip hip… And I get to take my baby for a controversial injection! Hooray?

There was a bit of an explanation while we waited at the shiny new “Primary Care Centre” in the Honest Toun. (Why can’t they call these things Health Centres? Do you get Secondary Care Centres? And if the GPs are Primary what does that make A&E?)  

“Now, darling, we’re going to get some medicine to keep you healthy and strong. You’re at nursery now, mixing with lots of other kids, so we need to fight the bugs we all have.”

I felt like a great big fibbing liar whose pants fire was visible from space but in the end Hard As Nails Nipper sat calmly on my knee not flinching in the slightest while a doctor and a nurse jabbed her arms in a pincer movement. Two jags but zero tears. Cue stickers and a lolly, and off we go home for spaghetti hoops on toast and Finding Nemo on DVD. Overcompensating? Most certainly not.

I will remember until my dying day the look she shot me when the nurse gave her an injection during the bird flu fluster a couple of years back. Her head swung round and her big baby blue eyes burned holes in mine. You monster!

But never mind the effect on the child, good grief. What about me? You have no idea the steely determination required to witness my own child being needled, given the way injections utterly floor me.

I’m not squeamish. Far from it. I can happily watch a syringe going into my arm but I guarantee you a few minutes later the room will spin and I’ll probably pass out. It’s happened in the dentist’s chair and while giving blood. Even more hilariously I once had to fill a dozen vials with my blood as part of a potential bone marrow donation. Years before I’d signed up to join the Anthony Nolan register and out of the blue they said I was a possible match for someone seriously ill. They sent a package for me to take to my GP who would then extract a bucket of my life force for further testing. Sure enough after the first prick the room swam. We resumed a short time later, doing both arms so I wouldn’t end up lopsided. I still remember the nurse saying “what lovely big veins”. I swear she was salivating.

Then, weighing a lot less, looking grey and struggling to stand up straight, the GP put the tubes of crimson gloop into the pre-prepared jiffy bag and handed it to me. The instructions said I had to post them. I tottered through the streets of Inverness to the post office carrying my silver package covered in warning signs at arms’ length like some sort of bomb. When I slid it across the counter the post office mannie asked if the contents were valuable. I said I wasn’t sure. It’s just a few pints of my blood. But on the other hand it could help save someone’s life.

This was obviously too much information so he stamped something vague on a label, gave me a receipt and off I staggered. I think I went to a café and ate black pudding.

In the end I didn’t have to go through with the GIANT NEEDLE INTO YOUR ACTUAL SPINE as I believe marrow transfusions require. I hope the person in need got what they needed. This chap from the Daily Record had a similar experience. I’d heartily recommend you put your name forward to Anthony Nolan if you haven’t already.

Meantime I will continue to pin hopes on someone inventing a way of giving blood or receiving medication that works using osmosis rather than piercing skin with a pointy thing. Uh-oh. Feeling queasy. Down I go again….

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