RIVER FOREST, IL – In an attempt to provide support and comfort to her toddler son, a Chicago woman decided to combine their annual visits to the clinic for seasonal flu shots into one.
Cate Schmommy proudly boasted to her husband that this year she would get the injection with Joey, going first, to show him how “it’s not a big deal” and demonstrate “bravery over an often unnecessarily stressful moment.”
“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, quite honestly,” Schmoe said in a recent interview. “I wondered if she had forgotten who she was entirely.”
Cate has a history of remaining calm in the minutes leading up to an injection, then emotionally breaking down in the seconds before the needle touches her skin. “She’s known to hyperventilate, break out in blotchy red patches on her neck and chest, shake uncontrollably and sometimes even cry,” Schmoe added.
But her supporting husband decided to give Cate the benefit of the doubt. In the past several months, his wife had begun giving herself injections for fertility treatments, and he thought this exercise may have worked to alleviate her trypanophobia, or fear of needles.
When it came time for Cate to receive her injection, however, her plan of support began to fall apart. While Schmoe held Joey, almost three years old, and Cate sat on the exam table smiling at her son, she glanced at the nurse who was preparing the injection.
“I really don’t know what came over me,” she explained, baffling anyone who knows her. “I saw the needle and it seemed huge—bigger than any other flu shot I’ve seen before.”
Cate insists the nurse accidentally used a needle “four, maybe even five times larger” than one normally used for a standard flu shot. Although she didn’t mention this to the nurse, she looked back at her husband and declared that she had changed her mind. Before hearing her husband’s insistence that she “can’t change her mind,” Cate started breathing heavily—an action, which created a chain reaction in the room.
While Joey’s smiles back at his mother turned to looks of concern, the nurse jumped into action, dropping the back of the exam table into a flat position in case she fainted. “Just relax,” she repeated. “You’re going to pass out.”
The nurse, who looked to be in her 80s, explained she had been giving shots for many years and promised Cate she wouldn’t feel it. “OK. OK OK OK OK just do it.” Squeezing her eyes tight, the nurse plunged the needle into Cate’s arm. In a second, it was over.
Cate opened her eyes, breathed deeply, smiled at her son and said, “See, that wasn’t so bad.”
While Schmoe and Cate then prepared Joey for his turn on the flu-shot table, he began to resist. “I don’t want it. I DON’T WANT IT!,” he yelled in protest. Cate held his legs down and Schmoe held his arms while he continued his protests and the nurse plunged the needle into his left leg. His nervous complaints turned to hysterical sobs, which lasted several minutes.
A guilty Cate promised her son “special treats” as she handed him a Dum-Dum sucker and announced that they would take a walk down the M&M aisle.
She now maintains that she has learned her lesson.
“It really wasn’t that bad,” said Cate, who has gotten flu shots every year for the past five years. “Yeah, I would get my shot with him again next year. But I’m sure I won’t react that way.”