Gracie faces her fear

On New Year’s Eve, I had to do something I had been dreading for months. My daughter needed to go to the hospital for a series of blood tests to address a potential medical issue. Gracie, being a perfectly normal child, hates needles and needs to be coaxed, bribed, threatened and tricked into getting her flu shot every year so imagine her level of terror when she learned the needle would be stuck in her arm for more than a mere nano second.

Several nights before the event, Gracie repeatedly questioned me about the procedure. How much would it hurt? How much blood would they need? Would it be ok for her to cry? Would I hold her hand through the whole process? What kind of reward would she get?

My responses:

  • It won’t hurt as much as it will “pinch” (this is classic mom-speak for skirting around the needle truth)
  • They won’t need much blood (note to self: make sure your child DOESN’T ever see the vial)
  • Yes, crying is acceptable (screaming, however, is forbidden)
  • Yes, I’ll hold hands for as long as it takes (although my 10-year-old has quite the death-grip)
  • Reward? Anything. (I got off cheap on this: breakfast at her favorite restaurant and two American Girl books. It could’ve been much worse)

Gracie was a trooper and even though she yelped a bit, she stayed perfectly still until the last vial (they needed THREE) was filled and the needle removed. She smiled and looked up at me through teary eyes and asked if she was brave. She was the bravest, I told her.

Before walking out of the room, the nurse handed me a plastic cup and informed me that she’d also need a urine sample from Gracie.

“Why do they need a European sample?” Asked Gracie, “I’m not European.”

“Urine sample,” I corrected.

“Does it involve needles?”

“No, just pee in this cup.”

Gracie snatched the cup out of my hands and marched proudly into the bathroom to provide her first European sample.


To read more from the Two Loons, check out our book Cookies for Dinner.

Cookies for Dinner

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