Flu shot with a side of guilt

By Mir
October 13, 2004

As I’m sure you’re aware, unless you live under a rock or something, there’s a huge shortage of flu vaccine this year. I don’t really understand the particulars, on account of I didn’t pay any attention. What I heard was “vaccine shortage” and from there my neurotic Mama mind spun into overdrive. The details are unimportant. What is critical is this: if I have to live through another Year Of The Flu, I cannot be held responsible for my actions.

Three years ago, we all got the flu. But not at the same time! No! Because that would’ve been manageable. No, that would’ve been a picnic. Chickadee got sick first, then my ex, then Monkey, then me. There was slight overlap between each of us. The end result was a solid MONTH of flu in our house. And three of the four of us suffered secondary infections as complications; nothing that killed us, obviously, but it was pretty grim. And I’m sure you haven’t noticed this from reading my blog because I am so loathe to talk about myself… hahahahahaaaaaaaAAAAA… where was I… oh yes… um, anyway, you may not have noticed that my immune system and I are not on such good terms. There are probably a few things I’d like to do this year even less than go without a flu shot, but right now I can’t think of any.

So when I found myself, this morning, slanting my way into the doctor’s office for my sinus malady that has set my world a-spinnin’, I asked if they had any vaccine. Turns out that they’d just gotten some. And on account of my exalted status as both an asthmatic and general frequent flyer at their establishment, I qualified to receive a shot. Huzzah! Except, then the guilt came rushing at me from all sides. I explained to my doctor that our pediatrician hadn’t been allotted any vaccine yet, and as Monkey is also asthmatic, and younger, he probably needed the shot more than me. Could they give my dose to him? Well, no, because he’s not a patient there, and blah blah blah policy blah blah blah you need to stay healthy blah blah blah call the ped again next week. Oh. Um, okay. I guess.

To take my mind off of this moral conundrum, the doctor set about examining me for the true purpose of my visit, which was to spend some time shining a light up my nose and remarking that it was really quite amazing that I could breathe at all. I was treated to a description of my nasal passages that is too disgusting to reproduce here because it’s just gross and not even funny. But! Do not despair! Because then the doctor started talking to me about nasal lavage, which–as luck would have it–my dear Jilbur and I were discussing, just yesterday. Except yesterday, it went like this:
Jill: You just boil some water and add some salt, and use a bulb syringe to shoot it up your nose, and tilt your head way back and it runs down your throat and out your mouth.
Me: That would make me puke.
Jill: No, really, it’s great for your sinuses.
Me: No, really, I would vomit. I’m gagging just thinking about it.

And today, it had the added dimension of true medical wisdom and techspeak:
Doctor: So you can just boil some water and add some salt and use a bulb syringe to shoot it up your nose, and then you can either tilt your head to the side and let it come down the other nostril, or tilt your head back and it’ll run down your throat and out your mouth.
Me: That would make me puke.
Doctor: Hmmm, well, I don’t know if vomiting is a common side effect, but if that sounds too complicated to you, you can actually buy a special kit with a bottle and a tube *at this point she started gesturing with her hands* and the tube can be placed just so and then if you like, you can tilt forward so it runs out your nose instead of down your throat.
Me: A bottle with a tube?
Doctor: Yes, and a nozzle.
Me: A bottle with a tube and a nozzle?
Doctor: Yes.
Me: Do they actually market that as The Amazing Nasal Douche or do they call it something else?
Doctor: Erm…
Me: Brings a whole new meaning to that “not so fresh feeling,” dunnit?
Doctor: *laughing* Well, don’t try it with Massengil….

I elected to take my chances without the benefits of sinus douching. I may take longer to recover, but at least I’ll still have my dignity.

And anyway, she gave me an entire bagful of goodies, steroid nasal spray (yay! more steroids! I’ll be posting pictures of my beard, soon!) and all different kinds of delicious medicines designed to make the damn floor hold still. She swears I’ll feel better by Friday.

On the way home, I called the pediatrician’s office again to see if any progress was being made on getting vaccines for the kids. It seems that Monkey is on the “short list” but they’re still waiting to get a shipment that may or may not be coming. They’ll call me back in a few days with an update. I hung up and again felt that wave of guilt for having gotten my own shot. It’s not rational; my getting a shot doesn’t affect whether they do, one way or the other, but there you have it.

What in the world did I used to do for entertainment before I had kids and all these delightful health concerns?

UPDATE: Many thanks to Dawnie for providing this informative link. It has pictures!!


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