The wait in line was like riding on an airplane. I tried to awkwardly make small talk with the gentleman next to me. We discussed our jobs, allergies, and wondered if they were actually going to give us numbers or follow the already-huge line. Eventually, a lady came by with scrap pieces of paper with numbers written on them and tore off #11 for me. I chuckled with the gentleman next to me, "Now I feel like I'm somebody. I have a number!" He laughed, too, then we filled out a form on a clipboard. Name, DOB, address, and on the back a list of questions like "Have you ever had a reaction to a vaccine?", "Do you have any long-term health problems like . . . [blah blah blah], diabetes, [blah blah blah]." And at the bottom, it said, "Just because you answered 'yes' to any of these questions doesn't mean you won't get the shot, you just may have to wait."
Wait?! I got here at ferning 7:30 AM, and now just because I have diabetes I may have to wait longer?! I worried about it for a split-second, but by then they were calling numbers. It was then that I kind of had an ironic thought: The lobby of the community center was easily packed with over 200 people, all of them waiting to get the flu shot. What are the chances that someone in that room already had the flu and was exposing everyone around them to it. The vaccine takes up to 2 weeks to take full effect, but we could all be sick right now and not know it. I smiled at the irony.
"Numbers 11 through 20, come forward." I grabbed my form, little number strip, and my coffee mug (I wasn't waiting until after 9 AM for coffee) and headed to the little room. I gave my form to the community center worker, got in line, and unbuttoned my sweater for the nurse to put it in my arm. The nurse motioned me to sit in the chair. I sat down, she looked at my form and gave it to the nurse behind the table. "Whew," I thought, "no more waiting." She took out the needle and began to swab my arm. I turned my head and closed my eyes. Even though I've had diabetes for almost 4 years, I still don't like needles unless I'm the one handling it. I clinched when I felt the needle pierce my skin, then it was out, then I got a bandaid. "There you go," she said. "Thanks."
|This was right before they started calling numbers. Madness!
I'm vaccinated! The thought is a little comforting, even with all the stuff "they" say about vaccines. I've heard and read several people talking about this issue, and they all make great points. The problem is, I really don't feel I have a choice in the matter. Regardless of what exactly is in the vaccine, I really can't afford to get the flu.
(The first flu season following my diagnosis, I had the flu. I didn't realize that's what I had until it was over it and I was explaining my "cold symptoms" to someone. But all the signs were there: faucet for a nose, fever, muscle aches, no appetite, and BGs cruising in the 300s. I was in grad school, trying to finish up a hefty homework assignment. If I was sick, I ignored the fact in order to get my assignment done. I had to force myself to drink some chocolate meal drinks just so I could get some nutrition in me. When I was in class, I could barely sit still because my lower back ached so much. No doubt now, I had the flu. Looking back on it , I was very irresponsible. Not only was I putting my health at risk, but also my coworkers and classmates. I had to learn to take a day off when I was sick, something I wasn't used to pre-D being the ambitious student I was.)
I'm not going to judge anyone's decision on whether to get the flu shot or not, but I just personally feel with my already compromised immune system that I can't take the risk. And growing up with a mom who was an immunization director has helped me stay informed. This shot was the combined shot, including the vaccine for H1N1. I feel that the shot is safe with no risks of any weirdness or turning into a piggie. *oink oink* Being sick with diabetes just makes things too complicated and scary. In the game of diabetes, defense and preplanning is the key. So next year, I'll roll up my sleeve, turn my head, and close my eyes, just as bravely as I did today.