Just now, an eight year old patient sought refuge under my expansive desk. His goal was to avoid the mean nurse who was coming at him with a shot.
Begin hostage negotiations.
The nurse saw his legs under my desk but we signaled each other for some bargaining time. The patient begged me not to give him up to the needle. I told him that I would never do that but I also explained that the nurse would eventually find him.
Instead of letting him go through his anxiety attack, we talked about anything and everything. I told him how when I was his age, I was also afraid of the needles. Being afraid was ok, it’s part of life even as a grown up. I was trying to be as reassuring as possible while he was quivering under my desk. I told him we had a cream that we could use on his skin that would numb the injection site so that the shot wouldn’t be as painful. He wasn’t budging. I told him it would be only as bad as a bee sting. He told me he was allergic to bees.
By now, his mom was right outside my door. I signaled to her that it was okay for him to hang out here as long as he needed. She has another child with her so she tended to her needs. I told him that he would most likely get some type of treat after his shot. I glanced at the Mom who was shaking her head affirmatively. He asked me what kind of treat? I told him of the choice of stickers and lollipops we offered here. I also assured him that a trip to his favorite fast food place was in order. Luckily, Mom was still agreeing with all my suggestions.
The crisis ended after we decided he would grab three stickers and two lollipops followed by a trip to McHappy Land.
As he was leaving he stuck his head back into my office and showed me the stickers he chose and he was already sucking on lollipop #1.