The week before school starts is a crazy time. I’ve been getting back into the routine of waking up and leaving every morning, packing my lunch, attending training sessions, looking at my caseload, preparing lessons, meeting with co-teachers, and setting up a classroom. It’s definitely a time when I write fewer blog posts and rarely check in on Facebook!
And then, on Wednesday, it occurred to me that I am not the only one in my family who will be going back to school.
Sure, I took Beanie’s IEP over to her new school, as soon as their office opened. And I wrote their special education department head a lengthy e-mail, explaining all of Beanie’s idiosyncrasies. But I hadn’t bought a single school supply. And I hadn’t taken her to get her booster shots.
Vaccines are complicated for us. When she was 13 months old, Beanie ended up in the hospital with a reaction, after getting the MMR, Chickenpox, and three other shots. After that, we decided (with our new doctor’s blessing) to only give her one shot at a time, and to space them at least a month apart.
This plan worked well. She got a slight fever for a few days after her MMR booster, but nothing as serious as what we had encountered the previous time. Everything went wonderfully until only the Polio and Chickenpox vaccines were remaining. When we showed up at the doctor’s office to get these, they were out of both.
They continued to be out of both everytime we came in, for a year.
When we moved to Houston, I forgot about getting the boosters, until it was mentioned when I signed Beanie up for school this year. Students can be sent home on the first day if they are not up to date on their shots, so I wanted to take care of this right away.
The first issue was getting ahold of Beanie’s shot records. We had lost our copy in the move, and her school records were in limbo for some time. On Thursday, I called and learned that they had arrived at our new school, so I came in and got a copy. After working until 6:00, doing home visits, I rushed home and scooped up Beanie, life jacket and all, and drove her to the clinic, which closes at 8:00 on Thursdays.
We made excellent time, arriving at 7:30. On the way there, Beanie found her smelly markers in the car and gave herself a cat face. She decided that she was Meowth, the Pokemon.
I darted into the clinic, with Meowth still wearing her life jacket, and handed the receptionist our shot records. She eyeballed us skeptically, then said that those two shots were the only two they didn’t have in stock. Frustrated, I asked if there was anywhere we could go, and she produced a list of clinics in the area that would accept our insurance.
One clinic was nearby, so we drove to the high rise building that housed it. Beanie squealed in excitement, and whispered, “It’s a hospital!” It’s been a few years since her frequent hospital visits, but Beanie still remembers how much she loved that place.
We ran into the building, only to find that the clinic was closed. As we made our way across the parking lot, and into the neighboring CVS store, Beanie yelled, “I need to go to the hospital!”
CVS had neither shot in stock, but the pharmacist recommended Walmart and Walgreen’s. The Walmart was a block away, so I plopped Meowth (still wearing her life jacket) into a cart and ran inside. After a long wait, the pharmacist said they were out of the shots until the next afternoon.
Walgreen’s was across the street, and they had the Polio but not the Chickenpox vaccine. However, their pharmacist told us that we needed a prescription to get shots from a drug store.
So, admitting defeat, we headed home.
As I drove past Beanie’s school, I slowed down and considered stopping to find out who her teacher was. I decided against this, as it was 9:00 and we needed to be getting home. However, my pause attracted the attention of the police officer in the parking lot, and he pulled out behind me and followed me to the marina. As soon as we were in the gates, he turned on his lights.
The very polite officer introduced himself and, after verifying that I wasn’t a criminal, wrote me a warning for a tail light being out. This made Beanie’s day, and she couldn’t stop talking about the police officer who “rescued” us!
So back to the drawing board.
On Friday, I made my way down the list of clinics. The clinic in the “hospital,” had the Polio shot but not the Chickenpox vaccine. The health departments on the list did not accept private insurance, but they recommended the Redi Clinics that happen to be located in HEB grocery stores.
I Googled Redi Clinics and made my way down that list. After encountering a few that did not have the Chickenpox vaccine, I found one that was getting a new shipment that afternoon. I figured we were golden!
I got home at 5:00 and promptly called that clinic. They were out already! I was finally able to locate a clinic two suburbs over, that had both shots. Scooping up the life jacket-clad friend (no cat face this time!), we pointed our Volvo toward Friendswood.
Beanie was fascinated to see a doctor’s office in the middle of a grocery store, and she anxiously awaited her shots. (She had been practicing with her Doc McStuffins doctor kit). We were in good company–the waiting area was overrun with kids waiting to get shots. We bought a soda from the nearby check-out and enjoyed it until we were called.
Beanie was beginning to lose heart, when the nurse finally called her name. While she eagerly took her place on the examining table, and readied her leg, the doctor showed me Beanie’s shot record, as well as the immunization requirements for Texas schools. It turns out that Beanie does not even require anymore Chickenpox boosters! After all that….but I was relieved, since she had a reaction last time.
After learning that Beanie was tipping the scales at a whopping 41 pounds, it was finally time. Beanie got the shot in her leg, since she’s still so tiny. She gritted her teeth, then smiled when she got her band-aid and a sucker from the “big girl” box.
As we were leaving, she yelled out to the doctor and nurse, “Thank you for the shot and band-aid!”