A few months back, I had put a reminder in my calendar to give my doctor a call about the flu shots' availability just about now.
Would you be surprised to learn that when I called my doctor's office and the physican's assistant said, "Yes," my heart sank a little? I was hoping for a "No, not yet" so I could put it off.
"Uh, let me call you back," I stalled.
I'm a weenie. More accurately, I'm a little bit med phobic. And by little bit I mean a lot. After a childhood measured out in four-hour doses of viscous Theophylline, I do everything in my power to avoid sickness and thus avoid medications. Don't mistake me, I'm thankful that the Z-pack exists, and I take it for bronchitis. Halleujah.
But even then, I sit looking at the pink pill for a long time, making internal pro/con lists, which of course are ridic. When you can't breathe and are coughing up colors, a medicine that works quickly? All PRO! That's really the reason I take the flu shot to begin with, in a nice touch of circular reasoning: to avoid a really bad sickness.
According to Families Fighting Flu, "Nationwide, the flu and its complications lead to more than 200,000 hospital stays per year and an average of 36,000 deaths (primarily in the elderly)."
For those of us with asthma, getting the flu shot is especially vital. According to the CDC: "Respiratory infections like influenza are more serious in patients with asthma, and such infections can often lead to pneumonia and acute respiratory disease."
On a more personal level, one of my closest friends, an allergic girl and adult onset asthma girl, got the flu a few years back. A bad case. Not good. When she recovered, she levied a warning to me, "Please get the flu shot when you can, you don't want to get this." The emphasis was on the YOU meaning ME.
My girlfriend's experience and plea was all the impetus I needed to start getting the shots every year like clockwork. I got my shot last week. They squeezed me in so I had to wait. And yes, I was nervous, feeling the essence of weenie-tude. Then it was a quick hello to my doc, a quick pinch of the needle and I was sitting back in the waiting room for 30 minutes afterward to make sure I didn't have any adverse reaction. I also stayed in the neighborhood for lunch, you know, just in case.
And aside from some aches in my arm, there's no bump, no redness, nothing. I was a weenie for nothing. Yet again. Thankfully.
I reminded my dear fellow allergic girl of that story and how she is my inspiration to get the flu shot. She said, "Yeah, I'm going to call my doctor right now and make an appointment."
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