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.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Waiting for the First Responders

 Every night before we go to bed, Moondoggy asks if I locked the front door.  I am only mildly offended when he hears me say, "yes" and then checks anyway.  Here is why. . .

During my first year of wedded bliss, approximately nine months were spent alone as my husband was working abroad.  I, on the other hand, was living in Virginia Beach working as the on site manager for a large apartment complex.  Everyone knew Moondoggy was not around, thus, I slept with an axe.  Yes, an axe and no, not to do serious physical harm to the murderer I was sure would be breaking in.  The axe was for breaking the window so I could make my escape.  I hated being alone at night. . .still do, although it got immensely easier when we moved from the big house in the woods to the small house in town.  Within screaming distance I always say.

For thirty years the thought of being alone all night has conjured elaborate scenarios involving me slithering out of bed and slipping under it - which no longer is possible, me using my mad kick boxing skills. me breaking the window for attention and then running like hell..  I have lain awake at night plotting every escape route, strategy and hiding place possible should I be stuck alone and the murderer come a callin'.  So, last night, due to work schedules, Moondoggy had to work an odd midnight shift and there I was, alone.  I wasn't even nervous about it, after all, I do have Moose the Wonder dog.

There I was, minding my own business, sleeping in the middle of the bed with ALL the pillows and my dog, when my ADT alarm beeps the little staccato beat indicating that a door has been opened.  The dog goes nuts barking and leaping off the bed, scrambling headlong into the living room.  I have prepared for this moment for years, I know exactly what to do, self preservation is my middle name.  And what do I do?

I climb out of bed, head down the hall toward the living room where I see the light of a flashlight shining along the floor.  You would think at some point I would have stopped right?  NO!  I keep going, where I come face to face with a man in a dark clothings who, I realized later, was more shocked than I.  
"Oh NO!  Wrong house," he calmly and quickly raises his hands in the air and clearly announces, "We're firemen!  Wrong house!" Like a scene from some slapstick comedy movie, he starts backing up repeating, "We're firemen.  Wrong house.  We're leaving."  Moose is doing his best warning growl (although secretly thinking if one of those guys produced a ball, all bets were off) and just before he closes the door and leaves, I say, "Wait, what's your name?"  He gives it to me (and I am now awake enough that I know who he is).  Then, there was that ghastly smell.  I think Moose might have had a little "nerve" gas.

I flip on the light and there, in the mirror, get a gander at what the intruder was looking at.  I am wearing my best thread bare pair of red Mickey Mouse jammy pants that long ago lost the drawstring.  I am also wearing an old gray tank top.  Gravity hit the girls long about pregnancy time and never left, so, without a bra, a tank top is about the worst look I can have.  My kids have said they need therapy after seeing me in that tank top.  And amazingly, I'm still not scared.

I called Moondoggy at work to relay the humorous tale, calm down, and allow my dog to relax because something smelled awful and I'm pretty sure it is my perfect little dog. Moondoggy was not happy at all and asked me to call the police.  I waffled.  I WAFFLED but acquiesced, dialing 911 assuring the operator It was NOT an emergency but felt it needed reporting.  She did not think it was funny. "Ma'am there have been NO fire calls tonight.  I am going to have an officer stop by."

Well crap!  I've already seen myself in the mirror and, looking around, I realized that I was not prepared for guests.   I quickly threw on a hoodie sweatshirt, fluffed the couch pillows, took my old coffee cup to the kitchen, decided I didn't have time to do dishes so opted to shut that light off and sat down with the shade up to wait for the officer, like it was the most normal thing in the world.  And a minute later he was there.

The young, good looking, former marine was on duty.  I wished I had brushed my hair!  He took some info but offered what he thought had happened:

The next street over in the same location lives a woman who is infirm.  She often makes errant calls to the fire and police stations and sometimes they do midnight service calls to her house.  There is a new driver on duty and he got confused with the streets. . .

As he was telling me this, there was another knock at the door and the two firemen returned after making their call, to apologize again.  All I can think about at that moment was about is my hair, which looks like a tornado!  They had in fact, been doing exactly what the police officer said.  I looked at these three men standing in my living room, one apologizing profusely, one turning redder by the minute (he must be the new driver) and one who now has to make a report about the whole thing and I said, "Next time I'll make coffee and have donuts," to which the police officer, a funny guy, says "Donuts?""   

As they left , I scooped Moose into my arms and took one last look in the mirror, "and I'll even brush my hair,"  I commented to my reflection.  Moose sniffed close to my mouth and jumped away running down the hall.  I smelled that putrid, rotting sour odor again.  It wasn't the dog, it was my breath.  Forget brushing my hair, I should have brushed my teeth.

As for the practiced escape plan?  It went out the window without me.