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A jab made easy

As a child, Sheya, my granddaughter, born in New Jersey, was prone to run mild temperature now and then, especially in winter. She will be treated with Tylenol, an over-the-counter medication.

On that unusually cold day of July, I too had body pain and cough with a spurt in the body temperature. My daughter Priya decided I should consult the family doctor, who is from Pakistan, having his clinic a mere 10 minutes’ drive away.

Shreya ungrudgingly agreed to go with us, taking my hand in hers for support, allaying my fears by saying the doctor may not after all give any injection but only prescribe some medicines. I nodded, releasing a moan or two at intervals.

At the clinic, both mother and daughter went to the restroom, while I chatted with the benign doctor. His smiling secretary was rallying round, with a warm smile of sunshine.

Aware that she is not the patient-designate but only attender to granddad, Shreya sat with a glum little smile, ready to comfort me, if and when the wicked needle was thrust into my hand or worse, behind. As I briefly narrated my symptoms to the doctor, after we were ushered in, Shreya stood arms akimbo, ready to comfort me, if I were to burst into tears or throw a tantrum when the needle did the job.

Nevertheless, she turned her face away when the doctor approached me with the syringe to be thrust into my right hand. I grimaced, whimpered, holding my hand, my juvenile amateur theatrical stints coming to my aid.

“Look here, Shreya. Your granddad is behaving like a kid dreading the needle. Not brave like you. Just tell him he should grow up like you do, taking the injection in one’s stride. Will you prove you are no longer a baby but grown-up, a little miss? If you agree, I will give you an injection, since Tylenol requires a backup?”

Shreya hesitated for a while, but said, “Okay doctor, go ahead.”

He injected her with the syringe that was in readiness. And tousled her hair in praise and said, “Look, sir, no fuss! How brave she is unlike her crybaby grandpa!”

The wink I exchanged with Priya went unnoticed by her. Indeed, it takes one’s ingenuity to motivate a child.

jsraghavan@gmail.com

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Printable version | Apr 18, 2021 2:47:13 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/a-jab-made-easy/article33887807.ece

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