Saturday, October 3, 2009

Thankfully, I am ineligible for the swine flu vaccine

I conceptualize everything. Hence, little things like standing in line for a flu shot today, are made ten times worse. Think about it.

A giant school gymnasium is filled with hundreds of people, over the course of a day, many of whom are coughing and sneezing. Think of all the germs. People -- presumably nurses, but hey, I don't know them! -- are filling syringes with a mysterious clear liquid. They're not wearing gloves as they do this, and who knows how many airborne bacteria the needle is coming in contact with . . . just saying. In a few moments, I will sit down in front of someone I've never met, she will wipe my arm with an alcohol pad, inject me with a possible contaminated needle, full of a vaccine that 1) contains preservatives, 2) contains a disabled strain of influenza (the disease that killed many French and English troops during World War I) that will permeate the muscle in my left arm, enter my blood stream, and spread through my entire body. Don't get me started on the potential side effects, achy arms and dizziness.

My mom, being a nurse, has only scorn for the anti-vaccine crowd. It's easy for her to say. She's studied this stuff, she gives shots. She knows how the vaccine works. But to a seventeen year old with only a rudimentary understanding of biology, injecting oneself with a virus just does not sound like a good idea! You know what I'm saying?!

There is a line of kids with tear-stained faces against the wall, under a sign that says "first time." Even though I've survived the vaccine routine each year, I understand their fear. Maggie and Sarah love shots. Caleb and I harbor many irrational fears.

It's all in my head. Which just makes it harder to dismiss. The needle goes in, comes out, band-aid's slapped on, I roll down my sleeve, and we walk out. I feel fine. It's all in my head. I feel fine.


Art said...

Fear of vaccines is one of my irrational fears, too. *shudders*

Hayley said...

Or /is/ is an irrational fear? [I'm most afraid that my fear might be rationally founded.]

Micah E. said...

I don't know which is worse, an irrational fear of vaccines or the fact that I never even bother asking what it is that is being injected into my system.

Shots don't bother me, mostly because nothing happens in my head. Except wondering why doctors never have normal band-aids.

Caitriona aka Catherine said...

My husband "being a nurse" keeps us from shots and vaccines unless ABSOLUTELY necessary. The ones who are most vulnerable for flu having a fatal effect are the very young, very old and the sick (and nurses apparently since he himself got the flu vaccine). I laughed out-loud that your mama, whom I love, is an advocate for vaccines.
Washing my hands regularly is the most important action to take against germs.