DEAR ABBY: I'm a nurse who has been providing flu vaccinations for customers in a big box store. Most of them regard us health care workers as people who want to keep them healthy. My problem is parents who use me as a threat of punishment for their kids.
I have had parents drag their screaming, crying kids over to me, telling them that if they don't behave they are going to "make me" give them a shot. One woman pulled her daughter by the arm, sat her in the chair and said, "OK, give her a shot!" The little girl's eyes filled with tears and she panicked.
I looked the woman in the eye and told her I didn't appreciate her making her daughter afraid of me. I told the little one that sometimes we have to take medicine that might hurt us or taste bad, but only because we hoped it would make her better. Then I assured her I wasn't giving her a shot. The woman laughed nervously, said she was "just joking" and rushed her child away.
I worked hard to become a nurse and my goal is keeping people healthy. Parents: Please don't use health care workers as punishment. You're not helping us to do our job when you can't do yours. -- NOT THE BAD GUY IN CLINTON, TENN.
DEAR NOT THE BAD GUY: It's unfortunate, but some parents do this not only with health care workers, but also with police officers, and it's an unbelievably stupid practice. To make a child fearful of the professionals they may at some point need is counterproductive and poor parenting. If a child is acting up and being disruptive in a public place, a better solution is to remove him or her from the premises until you have regained control of the situation.
DEAR ABBY: My 18-year-old daughter was killed in an auto accident a couple of months after she graduated from high school with honors. She had planned to go to college and become a nurse.
Right after graduation she went on a senior trip to Mexico. Two days later she called me wanting to come home. She said everyone was drinking, doing drugs, having sex with strangers and she didn't like it. I bought her a plane ticket and she came home the next day. She died two months later.
Eight months went by and I was having a particularly hard time one night. I prayed for a sign from God that she was in heaven and doing well.
The next day, the day before Good Friday, I went to my mailbox. Inside was a postcard from my daughter. She had mailed it from Mexico the day before she returned. It was in mint condition and had been lost in the mail for 10 months.
The card read: "It is beautiful here. I'm OK. I miss you and love you, Mommy. Love, Brandi." I was so happy and relieved! I was able to move on with my life after that. I signed up for college a few weeks later and earned my degree four years later.
Thank you, Abby, for letting me share my "miracle" with you. -- SHARON IN LOUISIANA
DEAR SHARON: My goodness, you don't have to thank me. Your letter moved me to the point of tears. Although I have printed many letters about pennies from heaven, this is the first time I have heard about a postcard. I'm glad it gave you the comfort and validation that you needed.
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