Yours, sheepishly

Dear readers,

Firstly, a heartfelt and very guilty apology for the lack of any sort of post in the last few weeks.

I feel in a confessional frame of mind …. “forgive me bloggers for I have sinned, its been 2 weeks since my last post”. It really is down to our transitory state, the limbo that we have found ourselves in over the last fortnight. Last time saw me full of joy and optimism as we embarked upon our first vaccinations and the feeling that this was it, the start of the journey. Since then we have had a number of setbacks centred around the sale of the house (I won’t bore you with the details, but suffice to say I think that conveyancing law is better in Scotland) which have poured water on our zeal and thrown a fire blanket over our burning excitement.

Still, to cheer us up, we have had 2 more visits to the health clinic for vaccinations. This time for Hep B and Rabies (trip 2) and just Rabies (trip 3).

Trip 2:

The pattern was fairly similar. Luca was first up again, which Tania and I were perfectly happy about given his manly performance first time around. Indeed, this wonderful boy asked every day when could we go for some more injections!??!! So, up he went. Imagine our surprise when after the first stick he mildly whimpered and the smile so often on his handsome face was replaced by a frown and a lower lip wobble. The nurse had murmured that it may sting a little, but we were counting on the little fella to show his brothers it was no big deal. I had made a massive schoolboy error in forgetting not only the rescue remedy, but also all the teddy bears, and, in particular, Aslan the Lion. That said, Luca quickly rallied for the second jab and, my one saving grace, I had remembered the chocolate biscuits, deservedly received his reward.

Oskar went next, and was stoic. That he was asked to sit idly by whilst some lady in a starched uniform stuck sharp objects into his arm did not seem to bother him at all this time. There was obvious discomfort at the point that needle pierced skin, but otherwise, he was an absolute trooper. Gold star, and chocolate biscuits to you, sir!

Mateo declined to go next, so myself and Tania entered the fray. I must confess that after the last time, I was somewhat wary of what was in store. But, like the good nurse had said, the first one stung a little, and the second barely registered. On a scale of 1 to 10 in comparison to the previous week’s injections, the Rabies was a 2 and the Hep B a 1. So mild were they that I even went to net practice that evening without any repercussions.

So, finally, the time had come. With Oskar and Luca looking on, and when I say looking on I mean crowding around waiting to see fine metal needle piercing soft yielding skin, Mateo took to the seat of doom, the end of days, the place where only torment and pain reside (I’m trying to imagine what is going on in M’s head here). As both Tania and I try to calm him and reassure him that it will be ok (where oh where is Aslan the Lion when I need him, DOH!) Mateo works himself up into such a hysteria that I wonder why all of the windows haven’t shattered. The nurse, bless her, does her job with great compassion and professionalism as we try so hard not to laugh at Mateo screaming as though he was being castrated. Well Tania and I tried, the other 2 boys didn’t try at all.

Now you may find it very harsh and uncaring of us to be laughing at a time like this. At a time when we should be feeling our child’s pain and anguish. We aren’t callous and malicious parents, I can assure you. And we care very deeply for the well-being of our children. But, there is something inherently funny, something that provokes you into laughing as your child screams hysterically, seemingly in terror, during a situation like this. The split second afterwards you feel absolutely terrible, ashamed. And yet, not even 1 minute after the event, he was as calm as can be, as still as a millpond, as normal as any child can be with a biscuit, all drama and angst vanished.

I left with the boys, and Tania stayed with the nurse to discuss the next appointment. As the door swung closed I heard the advisory words that perhaps “Mateo should come on his own next time…”. Given the fear of injections, the winding up of his brothers and the anticipation of the event, I had to concur that it would be a very good idea for Mr M to go by himself with one of us (parents) the next time.

Trip 3:

Fast forward a week and it was time for rabies jab number two – the one that stung a little. Actually it should have been Hep B number 2 as well, but there was a little confusion at the medical centre. This time, I was prepared! I had rescue remedy, teddy, pooh bear, sheep, chocolate biscuits AND Aslan the Lion. And, we had an alternative strategy this time.

I drove up to the school in the MX5, sun shining, top down, cool tunes a-blasting on the stereo to pick up Mr M. We jumped into the car like the Dukes of Hazard and set off to the medical centre. Some wise words from Aslan the Lion instilled Mateo with confidence and overcame his fears of the forthcoming torture that awaited him. Well, I tried to bolster his bravado but all he was interested in was hitting poor Aslan around the head and giggling every time I bit him (with the Lion you understand).

After a very short wait we were called and proceeded to get our jabs. We had expected to have two and so we had prepared the kids that they would lose the use of both arms again. They were cool with that (!) and Mateo with his new found bravery insisted that I went first. Frankly, it was less than a scratch. Either I was getting immune (well actually that’s the general idea of vaccinations) or the nurse was getting better! I suspect the former – and in the event that she is reading this blog, I believe her needle work to be the best that I have ever encountered.

Mateo was actually pretty brave considering all he had been through in previous visits. Only a very mild hysteria this time, and had you been standing outside the door, you would have barely heard him (unlike last time when all of the patients in the waiting room benefited from his vocal ability and that was through 2 fire doors and 6ft of corridor). I was mega proud of my little lad, and a nod to the nurse for this, for his coming alone with me was a much better experience for him than with the whole family.

As we left the treatment room and returned to the waiting room the rest of the family were there. The nurse was mixing the next lot of jabs for them so we had a minute or two before they were called to organise dropping Oskar back at school for tennis club and swapping cars. Its an endless negotiation when you have a 2-seater sports car and an estate as to who takes which children. When I tell people I have a 2-seater and 3 children they always look confused. However, I have to say that on the whole, it has worked out pretty well. When we go somewhere as a family we take the big car, obviously. Otherwise, I may take all 3 to cricket in the big car, for instance and later Tania will come along and take the 2 little ones home, so we swap cars.

I digress. Tania, Luca and Oskar were in and out pretty quickly with the minimum of fuss, and as Tania was organising the next appointment, and Oskar had to get back to school, we swapped cars so I could take him to tennis club and the boys home. Hang on a minute…. :o)

Now we have a few weeks respite from being punctured, some time to recover from the feeling of being a pin cushion. Tania as been feverishly (no pun intended) trawling the web for Japanese Encephalitis jabs at a reasonable price. Seems that it cannot be had in the UK for less that £80 per jab (course of 3) and for a family of 5 that is quite steep! And yet in France, the cost is significantly lower. Draw whatever conclusions you will from that.

Other News

And in other news…BONG! BONG! BONG!

Oskar competed in his first Tri-Athlon event – he did this in aid of charity if you want to give (June 2011)

Jon’s cricket team are 6 wins from 6 (again June 2011)

We’ve started packing up the house – OMG! Just the boys rooms so far and we already have so much stuff. I can’t wait to do the loft, and to finally prove to Tania that she does indeed have something to wear!!!


  1. #1 by Tracy Burns on July 1, 2011 - 12:36 am

    Japanese Encephalitis is really cheap to get in Asia. We need to get it at some point actually, it wasn’t recommended to us in Australia but we’ve since found out it should have been. Anyway, friends got theirs done in Bangkok

    The jab is easy to get in Malaysia. I’m not sure about Indonesia though but I suspect you’d have no problems in an international clinic in Bali.

  2. #2 by 5onajourney on July 19, 2011 - 9:40 pm

    Hi Tracy

    Thanks so much for the information. Given the astronomical cost of the jabs here leaving it till we get to S.E.Asia definitely sounds like a good plan!

    We’ll likely be in Bali for more than a month giving us plenty of time to get the whole course in.

    Congratulations on your intrepid journey. We may cross paths in Thailand in November – it would be great to meet and swap notes!!


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