Simple Steps

My mother shivered when she found out I had to be vaccinated at a hospital outpatient center, since the vaccination was only available at that hospital at that time. It was a vaccination required by the student health center at my university.

“I’m sure it’ll be okay,” I assured her. “Plus, it would be another nurse who will perform the vaccination, so there is a chance she knows how to sanitize properly.”

 My mother wrinkled her nose and said, “I’m coming with you to the hospital just to be sure.”

After we checked in with the receptionist, my mother and I were asked to be seated. As we waited, I imagined the basic steps the nurse would have to do in order to perform a proper vaccination. Change the gloves or don’t wear gloves at all. Disinfect the area that will be vaccinated with cotton balls soaked in 75% alcohol. Perform the vaccination. Cover and press the area with another soaked cotton ball. Wait for several minutes and place a sterilized bandage on the wound. While the steps may sound easy, it’s no wonder how many medical professionals often forget the simplest steps.

“Hello. I’m your nurse today, and I’ll be performing the vaccination,” a nurse called, energetically.

As we walked in, the nurse immediately began to chat and laugh with the other nurses. She turned her head toward the other nurses while her hands fumbled with the syringe, trying to draw up the liquid from a glass vial. Uh oh, I thought to myself. Would she continue chatting as she performs the vaccination? Later, she ripped open a bandage and taped it on the back of her hand. I hope that bandage is not for me, I whispered to myself. As the nurse held the vaccine, my mom asked her to focus on the vaccination.

“Oh, sorry about that,” she said apathetically, oblivious to the consequences if she had not paid attention.

I glanced at my mom and shook my head. The nurse held up a previously soaked cotton ball that had gone dry to disinfect my arm.

“Could you please soak the cotton balls again?” I asked.

“Sure,” the nurse mumbled exasperatedly.

At that moment, I was afraid she was going to stab me with the vaccine. “Please do not get angry. I know this is just a vaccination, but we want to make sure that I don’t get infected.”

She took a deep breath and paused for a few minutes. Immediately after she performed the vaccination, she ripped off the bandage from the back of her hand and secured it on the wound.

My mother widened her eyes immediately and glared at the nurse. We stared at each other for 5 seconds, unable to comprehend what just happened. She was tempted to open her mouth and yell at the nurse, but she decided to keep it shut and attend to my wound first.

“Come quickly,” my mother whispered, pulling me out of the room.

She immediately tore the bandage off from my arm and replaced it with a new one from her bag. “See? This is why I have to come with you,” she cried as she shook her head with disappointment.

“I know,” I replied and sighed. “At least, I don’t have to go to the hospital for a vaccination for now.”