The Flu Shot

One benefit of working where I do is that we get free flu shots every year. They set up little flu shot stations all around campus and you can just walk in, show your employee ID and walk away theoretically protected from whatever seasonal virus is out there.

At some point, they’ll have H1N1 vaccine available too, but they’re a little iffy on exactly when.

I walked across the street with two other colleagues this morning for my shot. I had even remembered to wear a top with easily rolled up sleeves. We three were the only ones there…no waiting.

Some of you may remember my fondness for needles. Actually, I’ve been poked and prodded so many times they don’t really bother me any more. That was not the case when I was younger.

Once when I was really young (so young that I don’t remember this, and it might not even be true but I think it is so I’m telling it anyhow*) my mother took me to the doctor. There was a shot involved. I took one look at the needle, started screaming and ran from the examination room back out into the waiting room. Somebody caught me and picked me up. That’s when it was discovered that I didn’t have any underwear on–I must’ve tried to dress myself and just forgot that particular item under my dress.

I also remember that the only downside to the beginning of summer meant shots–tetanus shots had to be taken before swimming, camp or any fun summer activities. I would literally dread them for days. I can still remember the horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach at the thought of getting a shot.

But now, getting a flu shot is just no big deal. And that brings us back to today.

I rolled up my sleeve and looked away while the nurse started the injection.

“Oh my,” I heard her say.

“What?” I say.

“Oh, nothing…the plunger just sort of broke off.”

“Is the needle in my arm? Like, is it STUCK in my arm?”

“Mmmmmm…no, not really” she says. “Let me just reach right over here…” as she fumbles around on the table with the one hand that’s NOT holding the needle that’s stuck in my arm.

I look over at one friend whose eyes are the size of saucers. I look at the other one who has gone a little pale and decided that she’d get her shot sitting down.

“Can you get the needle out?”

“Mmmmmm…ahhh….now the medicine is going in…” she says. She removes the previously stuck needle and gives me a Halloween bandaid.

As we’re walking back to the office, I ask my friend what had happened. He told me that the plunger part of the syringe just broke and dropped right to the floor. And that the needle was indeed stuck in my arm.

So the moral of the story is this: the nurse lied. But, in all honesty, the shot didn’t hurt a bit.

*I tried to call Mother for confirmation, but she didn’t answer. Let’s just assume it’s true. 🙂


Filed under Cancer, General Frippery, Nostalgia

6 responses to “The Flu Shot

  1. Little Sister

    No need in calling Mother. I remember you acting insane when we went to get shots. I was so embarrased, and I never would have dreamed you left your panties at home! WOW….thats why I am so brave when I get shots, cause it always made you mad!!

  2. Good, Christ, I hate needles. I just got my very first flu shot at A Company Called Malice, Inc. I’ve never gotten one before because I didn’t really believe in them but my wife insisted because we have little kids. The shot made me kind of sick the next day but I hear that’s normal. Is it?

  3. Julie Fisher

    I thought sure when I saw the title of your latest blog that you would be talking about the headlines on the front of the Tennessean yesterday morning–“Poll Shows that Most Tennesseans Don’t Trust Obama or the Flu Shot”. Makes me just so proud to be a Tennessean.
    AND I’m so proud that you got a flu shot, glad you didn’t pitch a fit (underpants or no underpants) even when, this time, you had a respectable reason to do so. Of course, had they left that part of the needle in you, maybe from now on they could just inject all that suspicious stuff into your body without the initial prick???

  4. Mother

    I dont remember that particular incident but it sounds reasonable. I do remember when you had to have your wandering eye fixed. When you returned from surgery both eyes were bandaged and you thought you were blind – it was a long night at Vanderbilt Hospital. (as a child you had the eye thing, a foot that turned the wrong way and a scar on your lip where you fell – your daddy said “we will never get rid of her with her club foot, hair lip and crossed eyes”) but he was wrong and John got a winner)

  5. I imagine that if the underpants incident happened today (with a still young child … not the grown up you), you mother would have been reported to the authorities for some kind of negligence.

    I too had (have?!) a wandering eye! I had surgery on one eye in 1973 or 4. It still moves to a will of its own if I’m tired or not wearing my specs.

  6. Niece Lash

    OH MY GOSH! Could she have revealed anymore dark secrets of your youth? I think I just wet my pants. Thank goodness I have on my underroos.

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