Monday, February 14, 2011

It's All Your Fault Flu Shot; You Need a New Image

Today, my goal is to sit up unassisted. I'm goal oriented, so I've decided to sit up until I finish this blog. Here I go.

I'm a fairly healthy person. I'm not in the gym, check out my abs, Jilian Michaels healthy. I'm just a thirty-something-year-old-with-no-health-problems healthy. I'm usually fine with it. But, my how this week has changed my life forever. Forever. After not being able to move for about 12 hours on Saturday - pain, chills, fever, coughing, other awful weird unidentifiable stuff - I summoned my mother for help. She helped me with all the necessary things and took me to Patient First. I dare not begin to explain all of the wonderful things that happen there, but when you are sick on Saturday night and you don't quite fit the ER profile, it's the place to go.

When we get there, there was a kiosk before you entered the lobby. The words quieried if you had any of a number symptoms. I read the list. I mentally check off each one. Grab a mask. Use the hand sanitizer. Feel like an Outbreak extra, but I press on. Everything about check in, waiting and getting to the back is painless. I appreciate it. When I get to the back, I sit on the bed, and I stare at the curtain until someone arrives. It takes about 30 seconds before I am horizontal. No good. I commit to just answering questions politely with a smile from that vantage point. Thirty more seconds and I commit to just answering questions. Thirty more seconds and I'm wondering if I can blink my way through my diagnosis. A very, wonderful nurse comes in quickly followed by Dr. Fox. A few questions. Deep breaths, and she proclaims I have the flu. She concludes, "Did you get a flu shot?" No. Absolutely not.

I never, ever get a flu shot. The flu shot needs some serious PR assistance. There are some things it has working for it. Many of our trusted "influencers" believe and push it - doctors and government officials. Research galore. There's a new television ad campaign designed to combat the myths surrounding it. I saw it. It was entertaining. I wanted to embed it for you. It's nowhere on the Internet. That's a problem in this digital age. Besides, we all no funny doesn't make a behavior change. There was also the Washington Redskins cheerleader flu shot "hoax." See below.

Is that it? No. First, everyone says get a flu shot. What kind? Everything has a kind or type or brand? Am I to believe there's just one type? For example, name anything simple, and you'll find there's types. Water. Tap, sparkling, carbonated, spring. See? Eggs. Brown or White. Farm or Organic. Small, medium, large or extra large. See? I need to know what kind. I don't need one in little blue box with a white bow or one with a bedazzled syringe. I'd just like to know there is some identifiable quality. Second, you can get them everywhere - and not in a good way. I don't want to buy pantyhose, gum and head past the 90% off Christmas stuff to get a medical procedure in the back of a random Walgreens or CVS. I like those stores, but not for a medical procedure. What about when they offer it at the supermarket. Yes, I need juice, eggs, and a needle with medicine in it. Ah, no. What about the random places that pop up? You drive by the mall, and there it is. Sale at the Gap, and flu shots in the food court. Yuck. I ain't buying it. Literally.

Back to Saturday night. The nurse who was amazing, funny, professional and helped me so much. She agreed to stay late, when my second bag of IV fluids needed to be administered and the clinic was closing. She also created some amazing contraption with my coat and a portable heater that made me feel so toasty and warm. Pure genius. When it was over, Dr. Fox noted this would get me "over the hump." Strange choice of words, but I guess she was right. As I walked slowly toward the front, my husband trailed behind asking more questions about prescriptions and next steps. (Yes, he showed up somewhere through the haze of my treatment.) The lights were dim, but I saw people in the lobby. Little people. Boy, I was hoping it was a mirage. It wasn't. My sons in all their nighttime glory were waiting patiently in the lobby with my mom. Vance,3, in his Batman slippers and Sesame Street pajamas, and Joshua, 18 months, in snow boots and bright yellow SpongeBob Squarepants pajamas. "Mom," I said. "There in their pajamas" In her infinite motherly wisdom, she said, "That's what men do." Sigh. Vance asks if I'm okay. I muster a smile and nod. But, I am distracted. Joshua is behind him and partying like it's 1999. "What is he doing, and what is he eating?" I asked. Cookies from the nice receptionist. She clearly made a friend and a happy customer.

So, I will get a flu shot ever year. Despite it's bad PR problem. My behavior change is based on two things. First, I can't be this sick ever again. I vow to not let the "convenient" locations distract me from the goal or not getting sick, and I will get a flu shot from the doctor's office, maybe even at Patient First. Second, I never, ever want to see my sons in their pajamas in a public place again. Two hard lessons to learn.