Afraid Of The Doctor


Roozle does not like going to the doctor. She doesn’t like being put on the spot to answer questions from strangers. She doesn’t like being poked and weighed and waiting around. But mostly, she doesn’t like the fear that comes with anticipating the appointment. And oh is there fear. Big Fear.

It really doesn’t help that she had about five hundred shots at her four year well visit, then had a blood test, then two weeks later went back for an allergy skin test that was negative so they took more blood. There’s a bit of needle PTSD going on. For all of us.

When I scheduled yesterday’s allergy appointment, back in June, I didn’t tell her about it. Part of me wondered of I could just pick her up from school in the middle of the day and take her, dealing with a short but intense burst of anxiety. The night before, I reconsidered that plan and told her. Thinking back, I probably shouldn’t have told her as she was starting to eat her dinner. In a restaurant. But there it was. In the open.

She cried for fifteen minutes. Sobbed, actually. In the restaurant. Oh dear.

She cried before bed, she cried when she woke up, and somehow settled down right before school. By the time we got to the appointment, she was still scared, but was better.

We raced up three flights of stairs, because she wanted to. It was all about doing whatever she wanted. Whatever would make this easier. But oh, my knees. When we were settled in the exam room, I mentioned to the assistant that Roozle loves Thomas trains more than anything and is totally scared of this appointment.


The assistant left the room and came back with crayons and four printed Thomas papers to color. By then we had arranged the trains we brought on the bed, along with Roozle’s “tool set” consisting of a stick and two woodchips she keeps in her backpack.

She started to calm down again. We talked about what it means to be brave and how part of being brave is telling people when you’re scared so they can help you. And we talked lots about the trains. We made up stories. We colored. We looked out the window. A lot.

The appointment was long, as these allergy ones tend to be, but the actual testing was over quickly. She cried a bit, but a lot less than she expected. She told me later how she was surprised by herself and how she didn’t cry so much. She was proud of that.


So we stole some gloves and had Roozle perform an allergy test on me with her lollipop stick. It turns out, I’m not allergic to lollipops, and Roozle’s not allergic to shellfish. Good news for both of us.

Are your children afraid of the doctor?
Does anything help?

Author: Casey

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