Flu shot

You may not have thought this about me, but I did not notice until a couple days ago that my municipality has offered flu shots to people outside the “risk groups” since December 1 – and even then, I did not take it until today.  It is certainly not because I am afraid of needles, like one young woman who was there. But let us not get too far ahead.

Yesterday work had an early meeting, so I could not get the shot then. (It is only administered during work hours, but luckily these begin 8:30. I expected the small rural clinic to be packed at that time, though, since most people outside the risk group are probably working. Besides, I need my sleep.  So I decided to come after 9, when most working people would have left.)

The waiting room was not quite empty, but under half full. The receptionists were busy with the phone, but once I got to them, I got a small photocopied form to fill in my social security number, name, and tick 4 sets of boxes about health, allergy and vaccination. The doctor was supposed to evaluate it if there were allergies even if these were not related to egg (which is the stratum for growing the virus). I am pretty sure my allergy to bird down, cattle feed and rabbits would not in any way interfere with the vaccine, but they never even asked what the allergies were.  (Except on the form, where egg was a separate ticky box.)

After about an hour, I was called into the lab where a nice lab girl asked what arm I wanted the shot in.  I picked the left, of course, since I am quite possibly the most right-sided human alive that has not actually had parts of the brain removed.  I score 10 out of 10 right on Desmond Morris’s handedness test.  (I was about to write handiness here,  thank you Sims 3!)

Sometime in the lab – I can’t remember if it was before or after the actual needlework – Lab Girl had to register me in their database, as I had never been to the doctor there.  That is right, I came in February 2006 and had never been to the clinic before.  I never even changed my state-sponsored doctor from the one I used in Søgne.  I have only gone to the doctor in emergencies in the meantime, and not many of those either luckily.  And I probably won’t go there again.  I assume my next doctor will be in Mandal.  It is almost a shame, since this is possibly the only time in my life that the clinic has been within easy walking distance from my home. Oh well.  Notice that they did not have the option to import my data from my previous municipality. That would be too easy, eh? At least it was not the actual doctor spending time filling in name and address and social security number, although I would not be surprised if they do that too.

After getting the shot I was asked to stay in the waiting room for another quarter of an hour. They did not say why, but presumably it was in case I got a bad reaction (anaphylaxis).  You would want me to collapse in the clinic if at all, rather than in the traffic.  But no such thing happened.  The only thing I felt at the time was a pleasant warmth around the area of the sting.

That has changed over the day.  Now, late at night, it hurts so much that I have started wondering if there may be a secondary infection. I don’t remember whether they disinfected the skin before plunging the needle in, I know I didn’t.  On the other hand, the needle was pretty thin, I barely felt it.

That reminds me of the conversation I overheard in the waiting room. The swine flu is the big issue in such places, for natural reasons, even though perhaps half or even less of the few patients came for the flu shot.  Two of the other patients were talking quite freely, I certainly did not have to strain to hear them.  The younger one had thought about the flu vaccine but did not want to because she did not like needles.  I can’t imagine why, needles are sexy, but I did not comment of course.  I am not quite as crazy as I may come across here.

The needle, as I have already mentioned, is actually the least of it. Over the course of the day my upper arm has grown more tender and painful and a bit stiff.  It is now definitely the most painful spot on my body, although I doubt it will be enough to keep me awake.  For most of the day however it was less painful than my thighs and bottom. I assume these were affected by my rapid march on asphalt with backpack for nearly an hour last night as I returned from the Mothhouse.  (I wisely decided to not go there today.) Where is a good butt massage when you need one? You know I would have done it unto others.  Well, some others at least.

Hopefully the arm won’t get worse than this, in which case it beats actual flu by an order of magnitude or two.

1 thought on “Flu shot

  1. I’m very relieved you got the shot.

    Needles sexy? I suppose in a Freudian, theoretical way. Or to people with certain disturbing fetishes. I do not find them so myself!

    Some years the flu shot makes my arm more sore than a tetanus shot does, others I barely notice it after the first day. Don’t know whether to attribute this to the administration of the shot or the vaccine. Don’t much care, other than sheer curiosity. Hope it’s better soon.

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