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Published:October 24th, 2011 12:03 EST
Did You Get Your Flu Shot?

Did You Get Your Flu Shot?

By Donna Cavanagh

If  I were smarter, I would go to CVS  for my flu shot, but my husband`s company offers the shot at no cost to employees and spouses, so I go there. It`s now a tradition. I meet him at work, get the flu shot and he takes me to lunch.

First, let me say that in my family, only my daughter and I get the flu shot. My husband, who has rightfully earned the title "Biggest Chicken when it comes to Needles" does not.

He has a true fear of needles. I have tried to help him conquer it, but each effort has changed nothing, so we adapt. For example, when he needs blood work, I drive him to the lab, hold his hand during the blood tests, assume he will get woozy, and then take him to Friendly`s for breakfast for being a brave boy after it is all over.  So, the flu shot for him is never happening.  He claims he doesn`t need it since everyone at work gets vaccinated as does everyone at home so he is covered.

Anyway, I drove into his company parking lot and called his phone so he could come meet me and escort me into the building. It is a computer engineering company so security is tight. I had with me a five-pound can of coffee from Costco for his coffee club. He walked me into the lobby which sort of resembles a feng-shuied Fort Knox. Sure it looks inviting and pretty, but cameras are everywhere and I know that if I make one false move, the secret security staff could vaporize me out of existence.

He took the coffee and informed me that he was going to bring it to his fellow coffee club members while I went into the flu shot room. I hate when he leaves me alone in this building. I hate being the lone flaky writer amidst all these engineers; it`s a tad intimidating. Everywhere you look are whiteboards with major mathematical equations written all over them. I would just feel better if just one whiteboard had a verb conjugation on it, but there was none.

I walked alone into the appropriate conference room and was met by a guy with glasses (go figure) who told me to proceed to the left side of the room for the pre-injection qualification questions. In other words--I had to fill out a form. After completing the pre-qualification, I handed it in to the person whose job it was to collect the forms. Then, I received my shot instructions: When called, I had to proceed to the nurse. After injection is complete, I was to sit for 15 minutes on the opposite side of the room from those waiting to receive their injections. There, in the post-injection zone, I would be monitored for severe allergic drug reaction.

Having had the shot many times, I knew there would be no adverse reaction. But when I am a guest in Geek Central, I tend to abide by their rules. So, I sat, played with my cell phone and listened to the conversations around me.

Engineer one, a male about 45 years of age: What kind of reaction do you perceive occurring if someone is indeed allergic to the vaccine?

Nurse: anything from hives to breathing issues to loss of consciousness.

Engineer Two, a female: Where exactly in that 15 minutes do most reactions tend to occur? Do different reactions occur at various time intervals? If I do fall into unconsciousness, is there higher level medical help standing by?

Me: (In my brain) No, no one helps. They watch as your throat closes up and you fall to the floor flopping like a fish on a dock. I looked to the hallway and saw that my husband was back from delivering the coffee. I waved him in so he could keep me company while I waited to see if I died from an allergic reaction, but, of course, he was not budging because there were needles in the room, and so I was on my own, one writer against the ultra intelligent and nerdy.

Engineer Three, a male about 55 years of age, who had just received his shot and preparing to embark to the post-injection side of the room: I am contemplating whether or not I need a bandage. The blood does not seem to be a threat to my shirt as of yet.

Nurse: I have a Looney Tunes band aid if you want.

Engineer Three on seeing the band aid: Okay, I will take that. Engineers love anything to do with cartoons and comics. I don`t know why but they do.

I didn`t wait the 15 minutes. I was a artsy-fartsy writer rebel and left in 10. I told my husband about the conversations in the room and he just laughed  "he wasn`t surprised" just amused. Will I go back next year? Yes. Why not? It`s always fun to be among geeks. They are never boring and maybe  there is a chance that some of their math skills will rub off on me.