Flu Shot Smarts

If you are over 65, have diabetes, lung disease, or heart disease you should get one.  Also, if you’re pregnant, a healthcare worker, are aged 6 months to 4 years or if you’re around high-risk people a lot you should get one. Or if you just don’t want to miss work and feel bad, it still may be a good idea to get one.

I’ve known all this for years.  And yet for the last three years — even with my Type 1 diabetes — I was an IDIOT about getting my flu shot.  I wanted one, mind you, but I couldn’t be bothered to go stand in line at the local pharmacy on a specific day at a specific time.  So I assumed (see the “ass” in there?) that my primary care physcian would take care of it for me.  NOT!!Nursewithneedle_1

I called and called and called my PCP’s office.  But there were shortages, you know.  And there is a hierarchy to this “high-risk” business, after all.  So you have Type 1 diabetes, so what?  Do you have cancer?  Lupus?  HIV?  Are you about to keel over??  No?  Then wait your turn quietly, please!  The receptionist finally got so annoyed with me she started hanging up every time I called.  Two years in a row.

Last year, I rebuffed the local clinics and annoyed the receptionist so efficiently that somehow the San Francisco Bay Area was clean out of flu vaccine by the time my kids were coming home feverish and I was in a frenzy to get vaccinated.  Aaargh!   

The solution was complex and ugly: my husband had to smuggle a shot into the country for me from Germany (oh please, don’t tell the authorities you read it here).  The needle was so UEBER-GROSS that I couldn’t stand to look at it, let alone inject it myself.  So a nurse-friend of ours came over to do it for me.  There I was on the couch with my pants around my ankles, averting my eyes, and he’s saying, “Wow! They really do make ‘em BIG in Germany!”  Gads…

Needless to say, I was smarter this year.  Just yesterday I stood in line for an hour at my local Longs drugstore and paid the $25 to be stuck with a semi-reasonably sized needle in the ARM, not the thigh, thank you.  As I averted my eyes, they settled on the sign “Aisle 26 – Incontinence, Digestive Care, and Laxatives.”  And I couldn’t help thinking: some people actually voluntarily CHOOSE to get involved in health care?!  I feel nauseous. How did I get here?

But then came the memories of that fated hospitalization.  When I vowed NEVER AGAIN.  So thank you, drugstores and local clinics, for making the vaccine accessible, even to dumb bunnies like me.


3 Responses

  1. Chrissie in Belgium
    Chrissie in Belgium October 25, 2006 at 10:45 am | | Reply

    Yeah, take the flu vaccination. I gave in 2 years ago and decided maybe I wasn’t so invincible. I have had D for 45 years and I figure why not take just one more shot! The shot is better than managing to keep the blood sugar level for the two weeks that you might be sick with the flu. Also, one could get REALLY SICK without the vaccination. We do not want anyone in the OC ring getting sick, do we?!

  2. Patrick
    Patrick October 25, 2006 at 11:04 am | | Reply

    After my son entered day care for the first time several years ago, I caught every flu known to mankind (ok…it just felt that way ;) ). I think I had 3 different (and rather severe) flu’s that winter alone. Started getting the flu shot and I think I have had one bout in the last 5 years. I can’t convince my needle fearing wife, though…

  3. JasonJayhawk
    JasonJayhawk October 25, 2006 at 12:35 pm | | Reply

    It’s crazy how last year and this year, we are repeatedly hearing, “No flu vaccine shortage!”, only to find that none is available in PCP’s offices.

    $25 is common around here this year — last year, it was $20, and the years before, $15. *sigh*

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