Friday, January 18, 2013

To Flu Shot ot Not to Flu Shot?

The flu is running rampant across the country.  Hospitals on the east coast have been flooded and even our own local hospitals here in the midwest have found themselves unable to accept new patients because they are at capacity.  There has been a nationwide clarion call to the GET THE FLU SHOT.  They say, it’s not too late.  This has spawned the anti-flu shot people to rise up in defense.  The arguments are compelling on both sides and I fall squarely on the fence about the whole thing.

I worked in a germ factory (aka elementary school) for 10 years.  In all of those years, I was offered the shot, but only took up the chance once. . .by accident.  How does one allow a needle to plunge into ones arm accidentally? It was offered to kids who were on public aid. The Health Department nurses came to the school and administered them.  One of the kids I escorted to the staging area was scared, tears raining from his eyes.  He pleaded with me to save him.  SAVE HIM!  I told him that I wasn’t a fan of shots either and I admired his bravery in going through with it.  He swelled with the first waves of pride at the thought that a grown-up might be equally scared and he took up the sword for me, “If I do this, you can too!”  He took the shot like a trooper, then got out of the chair and offered it to me, “Ok.  Your turn.”  Well, what could I do?  I coughed up the $9 and filled out the paperwork and, gulp, got a flu shot.  And what happened?  Nothing.  I didn’t get the flu.  I didn’t get the after shot sickness.  I didn’t even catch a cold that year.

In the ensuing years, I chose not to get the shot.  And what happened?  Nothing.  Even the year we were down to 4 or 5 students in a classroom, I did not get the flu.  So, I climbed up on the fence and allowed my friends on either side to extol the virtues of their opinions on intentionally injecting an illness into one’s body.  

This year, the flu has been a pisser.  I did not get the shot. The news has broadcasted of raging fevers, screaming aches and pains, and 3 week recoveries.  I did not get the shot.  Moondoggy gets the shot free at work. And what happened?  Nothing, except we have a vacation planned soon.  People around him at work are dropping like the proverbial flies, he could be bringing those nasty hangers on germs home.  I could catch this thing third party or worse on the plane as all those germs mingle in recycled air.  So, the thought of the flu on a vacation finally pushed me off the fence.

I bashfully walked into CVS and asked for the shot.  I filled out the paperwork and took a seat where?  Where other sick people sit to wait for their meds, of course.  Is there any hand sanitizer around?  No.  Any wipes like at the grocery store?  No.  But, I got the shot.  And now I have to worry for 2-3 weeks that I have been exposed to this heinous strain before the shot is full strength. And what’s happened?  So far, nothing except that I am now a raging germaphobe. All for a vacation?  I’m not sure the stress is worth it. 

I will be hiding out for the next 2 weeks, but then, I’m climbing back on the fence.

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