Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Flu Shot...Or Not

Yesterday I got a flu shot because I’m a responsible adult and I’m told that’s what responsible adults do. It was a benefit through my employer so there was no cost to me and it was extremely convenient since the shots were being administered at the office. And yet, as I rolled up my sleeve, the one thought that occurred to me was, “Holy crap—I am one ridiculously trusting human being.”

There I was sticking out my arm so that a woman I had never seen before and will likely never see again could plunge a 10-inch (give or take eight inches) needle into my arm. The needle presumably contained the flu vaccine, but really, how do I know? It’s not like I examined the contents under a microscope, and even if I had, it’s not like I’m a freaking virologist. For all I know I was being injected with strychnine, or kryptonite, or Country Time lemonade.

And I couldn’t help but notice that the woman wielding the needle wasn’t even dressed in one of those medical aprons or smocks to make her look more official. She was just dressed like you or me. (Not that I know what you’re wearing right now. For all I know you’re a doctor and happen to be wearing medical garb as we speak, in which case she was dressed nothing like you.) The point is, in the absence of healthcare attire, and since I didn’t ask to see her curriculum vitae prior to the procedure, I could only assume that she was qualified to insert sharp instruments deep into my anatomy. (To her credit, she was wearing latex gloves, but since I don’t know her personally, I have no way of knowing if she always wears latex gloves regardless of what she happens to be doing.)

After the assault on my arm was completed a Band-Aid was placed on the wound. (At least I was told it was a Band-Aid—for all I know it was a generic form of bandage.) I was told to drink lots of water (suspicious, isn’t it?) and I staggered back to my desk. For the rest of the day I was vigilant—taking my own pulse every five to seven minutes and continually looking at my mouth in the mirror to see if I had sprouted fangs. As it turns out, other than soreness at the spot of the injection I was seemingly fine the rest of the day.

Thirty-four hours has now passed since the injection and I have yet to display any unusual symptoms, so perhaps this particular flu shot was on the up-and-up.  I guess I got lucky this time around. But just to play it safe next time, I’m going to conduct a full background search on any personnel who come within 20 feet of the needle that goes into my arm.

Yup, I’m one ridiculously trusting human being.