Downhome Magazine

The Booster Shot

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Once while I was in the little cove one summer all the children in the area had to get their polio booster shot. There was a cottage hospital in Old Perlican so that's where everyone in the area, including the little cove, had to go. Now there weren't many younger children in the cove at the time, just four counting me on "our side" and only one on the "other side". Three of the children on our side were from the same family. John Thomas and his wife, Josephine, had Felix and his two sisters, Mary and Maureen. They had no vehicle, so Josephine made arrangements with Din to drop us off in Old Perlican on his way up the shore and watch for us on his way back in the evening. We did expect to be there most of the day. Josephine agreed with nan to take me with them.

I waited with Felix and his sisters at their house which was close to nan's for Din to pick us up. We all got in the back of the truck, even Josephine, just like we did when we went to church on Sunday. We were all anticipating having to be at the hospital for a long time as there were lots of children in Old Perlican, Grates Cove, Bay de Verde, Caplin Cove and Low Point who also had to get the booster shot. Din let us out at the spot where the road up the shore met the road up the Trinity south shore and we walked the short distance to the hospital.

The hospital looked very big to us at that time. It seems very small to me now because that's where my family doctor is. Anyway, Felix and I, being young and restless, got bored real fast. His mother was busy waiting in line to register us for the shot and the girls stayed close to her. We decided to have a look around. We roamed up and down the few corridors that there were, fascinated by all the equipment and the beds which all had wheels on them. The nurses were all dressed in white with funny little caps on their heads. Everything was so shiny clean you could almost see your reflection in the floors when you walked over them.

During our self-guided tour of the hospital, we came to this room which didn't have any bed in it, just boxes of stuff and some carts. There was a nurse in the room with her back to us, busy at a desk. We watched as she filled these needle things with liquid from tiny bottles. There were lots of needles and tiny bottles. I was fascinated with all of this, but next thing I knew, Felix was out cold on the floor right in the doorway of this room.

I had never seen anyone faint before so I didn't know what was happening. The nurse heard the thump when Felix hit the floor. She turned around, stopped what she was doing, came to where Felix was laying to see what was the matter. He was out cold, she couldn't get any response from him. She asked me if his parents were with us and I told her his mother was at the entrance of the hospital registering us for the booster shot. I ran and told Felix's mom that something had happened to him. I led her and the girls back to the room where Felix was still on the floor. The nurse asked Felix's mom if he had any medical issues. Josephine said she wasn't aware of any, but when she saw what the nurse was doing she said Felix was scared of needles and must have fainted when he saw them.

The nurse was relieved that nothing more serious had taken place. She said it might be wise to Felix his shot while he was still out -that way there would be no risk of him fainting a second time. Josephine agreed to this, so Felix was the first one to get the booster shot that day. The nurse gave us all our shots right there in the doorway with Felix still out cold. When he finally came to, we all left the hospital about one half-hour after we got there.

Felix wondered why we were all going home without getting our booster shot until his mother explained to him what had happened. We decided to take our time and walk back home as there was no point hanging around Old Perlican all day. We did just that sometimes. Felix and I were ahead of his mother and the girls and sometimes we lagged behind them when we found something interesting along the way. His mother stopped at Uncle Mike Kelly's house to let them know we were already home, just in case Din might think he missed us along the way. We were home before lunch thanks to Felix and his fear of needles.

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