Remember when you were a kid and you had to do something that you didn’t really want to do but you had no choice in the matter? You know, kind of like every single day of your adult life, but earlier. Back when it seemed to you that SOMEDAY you would be able to grow up and do whatever you want to do every single day. And there would be no one to stop you.
There was one instance in particular that I recall. When I had to get a vaccination. This was back in the days when they still gave kids shots in the ass. And I don’t think they had cute character bandaids. Uncivilized.
So on this day of summer vacation back in… maybe 1981 or 82 all that little Cami wanted to do was run free in the reclaimed swampland behind our house in Texas. I wanted to scoop up tadpoles from puddles, chase butterflies, run from any stick that looked like it might be a snake, run from actual snakes. I wanted to play with my cat Enos. To lurk behind trees, to scurry over fallen logs. To climb and skip and jump and scream and play and then run some more and jump into the pool.
I wanted to look at books, and color, and play with my dolls.
I wanted to eat a peanut butter and honey sandwich.
I wanted to do any number of things. But I absolutely did not want to get in the car on that hot summer day and go to the doctor so they could shove a needle in my ass and call it medicine.
I don’t think I knew what barbaric meant back then, but the idea I had in my head… was that it was barbaric. That it was something a caveman would do. Stick a needle in someone’s ass so they didn’t get sick. THAT MADE NO SENSE! Well it made no sense to little Cami. The savage white haired beast that roamed the swamp queen of all she surveyed – she didn’t understand that cavemen didn’t have syringes and that vaccines save the lives of millions. She just didn’t want that needle in her ass. To this day, I still don’t want to get a shot.
But my mom said I had to. So I had to. The inexplicable power of mom was not to be challenged. Plus I knew that when we were done I would get to go to the little market on the way home and get a treat. And I knew exactly what I would get…
So I did get in the car. The hot stuffy car with hot seats that stuck to my thighs and made me sweat. And we went to the doctor’s office. And the nurse who gave me my shot on this particular day… Well she was lacking in what I know now as bedside manner. She instructed me to pull up my dress so she could give me my shot. She assured me that it would be over quickly and if I counted to three to get ready she would give me the shot when I got to three.
Oh how I hated three. The worst things came on three. I couldn’t think of any others at the moment, but I still knew it to be true.
So I pulled up my dress and and stood up straight and started counting.
T… OW OW OWOWOWOWOWOW OUCH!
Hot tears spilled down my face. My nose was immediately stuffed up. I bit my lip and growled on the inside. Cami beast of the swamp queen of all she surveyed had been tricked!
That nurse lied. She totally lied. She told me I’d get the shot on three and I barely got the ticking sound of T out of my both before the sharp pain in my ass was all I could feel. JUST WHO WAS SHE TO TREAT ME WITH SUCH….
My mental rant was distracted with a bandaid and a dismissal. The indignity of it all stung. But it was over. I wiped up the hot salty tears from my face. I like to think I was the strong silent type and that as my mom and I walked back toward the car I was stoic and didn’t say a word. But I probably whined, complained, and pouted all the way to the little store where I would find the thing that made this all worth while.
My orange sherbet flavored push up pop. You know, with the plastic stick in the cardboard tube. And that crinkly little wax paper pressed over the top. Just thinking of if my mouth waters and my eyes crinkle with a nostalgic smile. Orange push ups were my absolute favorite.
Maybe they still are because I was thinking of them today as I submitted receipts for my HSA through their janky-ass portal. As I made sure my bills were all set up to be paid for the month. As I called my optometrist to order more contacts.
I did so many things that I totally didn’t want to do today. But I HAD to.
I don’t have any push up pops so I had to settle for some chocolate.
I’d rather have the push pop though.