Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Shot Through The Heart Arm

I'm always amazed by how much I can forget in seven months--when the email showed up in my inbox two weeks ago, it was a complete surprise...and not a good one: Follow-Up Immunization.  Looks like I'm still paying for that "business" trip to Mexico back in October.  I received a hepatitis A shot in early October before the trip, along with a reminder that I'd have to return in six or seven months for the follow-up shot.

I reluctantly called the medical center downstairs and set the date and time for my second rendezvous with the needle: today at 3:15PM.  Before the two shots I received in October, I'd also received a tetanus shot after the infamous rental car destruction of 2010.  I suppose that one made a lot of sense with the amount of gravel and glass I ate that afternoon.

The good news is that with the number of shots I've received in the past few years, I've come to realize that they're not even worth worrying about.  When I got poked for the first hepatitis A shot, I didn't even realize it had happened until I looked down at my arm and noticed the nurse putting the Band-Aid on.  Fortunately, the mental image of a giant needle going into my arm is much worse than the actual experience.

Yet sitting at my desk at at work this afternoon leading up to the 3:15 appointment, I had flashbacks to my childhood when everyone in my 6th grade class received a series of three hepatitis C shots over the course of the school year.  At an age when shots were an utterly panic-inducing experience, the three school days that included those shots are still burned into my memory to this day.  Every kid in the building was shuddering with fear on those three days, and the library was turned into a makeshift hospital staffed with an army of needle-toting nurses.

It was hard to block the thought out of your mind, because every twenty minutes a voice came on the loudspeaker and called for the next wave of students to march down to the library for their date with destiny.  The schedule was organized alphabetically by last name, and the fear and anxiety ratcheted higher as the day wore on and the voice of doom worked its way through the alphabet.

When the time finally came, the walk down the hall felt a scene straight out of The Green Mile.  The atmosphere would make you think the students were getting shot, not getting shots.  And the scene down in the library offered little in the way of comfort, with some of the weaker kids breaking down crying from the fear.  And aside from the needles, there was perhaps some cause for legitimate concern, as the school had brought in a bunch of nurses-in-training to vaccinate the herd of children as quickly as possible.  A few kids left the library with a considerable amount of blood running down their arms, and some of the nurses lacked the gentle touch you'd like to see in a medical professional, taking disturbingly large backswings when delivering the hepatitis C shots.  Aren't budget cuts fantastic?

Fortunately, all of my recent shots have been delivered by experienced professionals instead of community college trainees.  And this afternoon, as expected, the shot itself was relatively painless, though I do recall from October that my arm felt a little sore for the next few days...not unlike the soreness after a good shoulder workout.  For all the couch potatoes out there: if you want the feeling of exercise without any of the effort, sweating, and shortness of breath, just stab yourself in the arm with a needle.

 My official CDC card says it: I'm invincible!

The only downside to getting that final hepatitis A shot out of the way this afternoon is that I had my second softball game of the season this evening.  I don't see how a sore arm could possibly help my already weak hitting and throwing, but on the positive side, I have the perfect excuse for tonight's lackluster performance.  No need to blame the bill of my hat this time!  With my hepatitis A and C shots behind me, I am now virtually invincible.  Unlike Terrence Maddux, my medical report card will be impeccable:

For the Bon Jovi fans out there (a.k.a. the middle-aged women reading this blog), I offer you a clip of the song whose opening lyrics inspired the title of this post.  It seemed oddly fitting, though it's a little concerning that I somehow thought of Bon Jovi when I realized a needed another shot.  Weird...

1 comment:

  1. Why am I watching Bon Jovi on your blog right now? Ah well, 3:54 seconds of my life well spent.