Monday, December 10, 2012

Flu Shot Follies

Settle in for story time, friends. Everyone gather round!

We all know flu shots are important, yes? You've been seeing all the reports on the news about stronger strains, a faster flu season. Not immune to the hysteria, John and I decided we had best get our shots. We had been postponing it for weeks and finally saddled up. Last Wednesday, I stopped at CVS on my way home to get said shot and John was going to stop as well after his hair cut.

I signed into the Minute Clinic and was next in line. Forty-five long minutes later, my name was called. Minute Clinic, this was not. I was hungry and irritated but knew that the shot would be fast and I would be on my way to free Sadie and start dinner. I have had exactly one other flu shot in my life. This was during college because: 1) it was free, 2) I lived in a dorm with a LOT of germ-carrying people. That shot was fine. This one was not.

Breaking my cardinal needle rule, I looked at it as the nurse was filling it with the vaccine. I am not squeamish around blood but I NEVER LOOK AT THE NEEDLE. I'm not sure what made me feel cavalier in thinking I could handle a needle peek. I don't even look at the novacaine needle at the dentist. This needle was a lot larger than I was expecting and nerves started rolling in. The size of the needle was troubling because the pamphlet was touting that the needles they used were 90% smaller than before. If that's true, what did they used to look like??

Shot administered. Nurse says I owe nothing and I'm free to go. Hop off the table, gather my things and head out the store. After about 5 steps up the aisle, things were not going so well. My vision was spotty and I was a little dizzy. Just get to your car and sit down, I said to myself. One foot in front of the other, things are going downhill quickly. I can barely walk a straight line and have to steady myself on a shelf. In an attempt to pull myself together, I stopped to fake look at something on the shelf so people wouldn't think I was a weirdo.

I moved into another aisle and thought, I've got to sit down. Not wanting to do so in the middle of the aisle, I knelt down to pretend to look at something on the bottom of the shelf. It was a dog bed (not a crucial part of the story but a detail nonetheless). My vision is even worse, the dizziness overwhelming. In my ears, the sound of rushing water. Still checking out the dog bed and the next thing I know..........

"Ma'am, MA'AM! Are you all right?"

My eyes pop open and I discover that I'm on my back with a corpulent man is leaning over me. That's right, folks. I passed out in the middle of CVS. I have never fainted before in my life. I sat up, apologizing, and told those gathered around me that I'd just gotten a flu shot and that I was okay. People in line to check out are staring, gaping mouths.


He frantically shouts. A folding chair and a bottle of water are whisked to me. The nurse appears and asks what happened. She asks if I was hungry. I said, "Yes, I was hungry." To which I wanted to add, "because it took 45 minutes to be seen and it's now after 6:00 pm." I'm guided back to the Minute Clinic waiting area and told my vitals will be checked in about 10 minutes when I've had a chance to gather my wits. Twenty minutes later she finishes with the other patient. 

Blood pressure checked. I'm asked if I hit my head. Yes, yes I did. On a cardboard display of Russell Stovers candy. OK well, we are liable so come back if your head hurts. I'm sent on my way, crying all the way home of embarrassment and, I don't know what. John took good care of me and did not end up getting his shot that night because it would have taken too long.

The most disconcerting part of the story is not that if I hadn't knelt down I would have been standing when I fainted and could have hit my head on a metal shelf. Or that I had wanted to just make it to my car and sit down and could have fainted in the parking lot, hitting my head on unforgiving pavement. It might not even be that I passed out in front of a lot of people in a drug store. No. The most disconcerting part is that I was "ma'am'ed" and not "miss'ed". This is the second time in as many weeks that I was a Ma'am to a stranger. I may be hurtling towards 30 but I am a miss through and through. Sigh.

I wish I were making this all up but sadly, the facts are completely true.

Moral of the story..........Eat before your shot. Sit down for a few minutes afterward, just in case. And go with a buddy who can catch you if you faint.

1 comment:

  1. Oh wow, this is terrible! So sorry to hear this happened to you! That's really scary! After all that, you better stay healthy this entire flu season!


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