05 November 2009

Immune from being sick as a hog

oh the flu shot.

ugh. now, i know im in public health, but i rarely/if ever subject myself to the flu shot. im all about vaccines against things that can seriously maim or kill you, totally support those. but as a young, healthy person not in any of the risk groups for seasonal flu, i normally avoid it and doctors offices like the plague in winter. and almost every year i am totally successful at averting sickness.

this year, i am in the "high risk" group for complications from h1n1. great. thus, i am being responsible and trying to find places in the city to get immunized. the first few days are a zoo in nova scotia (as im sure it was/is everywhere else) and lots of different information was swirling around. after the initial release, the province restricted the people who can get immunized (initially) down to ONLY pregnant women, kids under 6 years, and first nation natives. but, i still dont go to the first few clinics in order to let the lines get smaller.

today, i found a clinic being held downtown. the same restrictions were still in place (only the highest risk groups), so i thought id have a good chance at a smaller line by now. i packed a bunch of food in case of a long wait and wore my tighter clothes to convince them i was a pregnant person. i got there...and had a 10 minute wait. sweet!

i felt like a regular person until the vaccine lady called me back. while she was waiting for the special vial of non-adjuvanted vaccine (this kind is currently recommended for pregnant people, but everyone else gets adjuvanted), she starting asking small talk questions about my pregnancy. it was the first time a stranger was asking me about it and acting all "oo" and "ah." it was odd.

after i got the shot, i had to wait for 15 minutes in the "recovery zone" to see if i would have a reaction (i didnt). while there, there was a lady assigned to the recovery zone to talk to people and make sure they were alert and doing okay. i understood that. and what better way to find a topic than to talk to people and their children, or to talk to women sitting alone about their pregnancy? this woman called me "mommy" and had those dooey "pregnancy is a magical miracle" eyes trained on me. i felt the need to play along a little, but it felt weird to feel like i had to be all girly and giggly about it. yes, im happy and excited and finally feeling well enough to appreciate things, but i barely jump up and down about it at home, i cant really muster that kind of energy for you, person-i-dont-know.

thankfully she moved on from me after a few minutes and i could just sit and listen to other peoples interactions until it was time for me to leave.

so, the immunization process went well, my arm was sore for a couple days and i tried not to panic or convince myself that i was having shortness of breath or a headache or a fever (potential side effects). nothing came though, so thats good. however, this was only the h1n1 vaccine and not the regular seasonal flu vaccine, still need to get that one. i guess thatll be at an upcoming doctor visit. joy!

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