I assured him there was no need. I recited the information I’ve already noted, confident in my decision to forego vaccination again this year. That confidence was soon shaken as the man countered my argument.
The H1N1 virus, although it did not wreak as much havoc as it could have, was nothing to sneeze at. He said his greatest concern was for those who had never had a chance to build up immunity through prior inoculations. We were at the greatest risk, and our la-te-da attitude gave the germs more opportunity to spread. I felt a little chastised.
He also pointed out that the vaccinations were relatively painless and inexpensive. He chided me, gently, that $25 was a comparatively small investment when compared to two weeks of sickness. I think he could tell I was hooked, because then he began to reel me in.
“If you want the shot today,” he intoned, “I’ll let you have it for $23.” A bargain! Of course he hedged, saying he didn’t want to talk me into anything I didn’t want to do.
When my vaccinated husband returned, I asked his opinion, hoping he’d help me decline. I wasn’t carrying my purse, so I asked if he had the fee in cash. He opened up his wallet. “Sorry,” he said. “All I’ve got is a $20.” I thought perhaps I was off the hook.
“For you, $20 will be enough,” the man said, and there was no play left in me. I signed some papers, went behind the blue curtain, and took the shot. The technician warned me that the dead vaccine would cause my immunities to build, and there might, perhaps, be some mild symptoms within 24 hours. I wish she hadn’t said that.
In almost exactly 24 hours I felt flushed, my throat was a little scratchy, and the site of the injection was sore. One of my irrational fears began to kick in — that the vaccine would actually give me the flu. I know it doesn’t happen that way, but there’s no accounting for the effects of fear.
Whether or not the symptoms were psychosomatic, my practical mate urged me to deal with it. He reminded me that a few hours of discomfort to ward off days of sickness was a good trade and I should “suck it up.”
The next day I awoke feeling just fine, and now I’m a little proud of myself. I’ve averted personal illness and done my civic duty to prevent the spread of the flu. I’m feeling all the more smug when I read that Jessamine County has the first confirmed case of influenza in Kentucky.
When I voted last week, they gave me a little sticker to brag on myself. “I VOTED!” was on my lapel all day. I don’t suppose “I GOT SHOT” stickers would be quite so popular.