Usually my blog post titles are lousy, but occasionally I come up with a title that the ensuing post cannot possibly live up to.
I’m thinking about flu shots today because Sugar Daddy is home sick, probably with the stomach flu that’s been going around this season, and I just last week turned down a flu shot from my doctor at my annual physical. Why would I turn down a flu shot in the middle of flu season? I mean, I was already there at the doctor. I don’t mind getting shots. I don’t have a fear of needles. Needles have ofttimes been my friends. Yes, I would go so far as to say that. It really doesn’t make any sense that I would turn down a flu shot when it was so convenient for me to get one and my insurance might have even covered it and even if it didn’t, I could certainly afford to pay for it.
So why did I turn down the flu shot? I don’t have a good answer for you. I don’t have any kind of answer, except that I’m a creature of habit and it is my habit not to get a flu shot during flu season because usually I am not right there at the doctor. I might have gotten a flu shot when I was pregnant with Girlfriend in 2005 because my doctor said something like, “It’s recommended that pregnant women get the flu shot,” but I really don’t precisely remember. I’m sure that if my doctor said something as strong as “it’s recommended”–not even “I personally as your physician recommend this” but just “it’s recommended”–I would have gotten the shot because, as I was saying just last paragraph, I hath naught against flu shots, in theory. But my habit is not to get them because it is not convenient and therefore when I’m confronted with the option, I immediately go into deer-in-the-headlights mode:
Doctor (or Nurse): Do you want a flu shot today?
Me: [Silent, but frantically thinking, "What, a flu shot? Today? No one told me this was going to be on the test. I'm not really a flu-shot-getter. Do I want a flu shot? Do I need a flu shot? If I needed a flu shot, would they phrase it in terms of me 'wanting' one, like I might want a refill on my diet Coke or my windshield cleaned? Should I get a flu shot? What will happen if I don't? What will happen if I do? I don't know because I can't see the future. I can't see the future! How am I supposed to answer this question???"
Doctor (or Nurse, tired of waiting for the answer): That's okay. [What's "okay"? I don't know, but that's what they say.] Do you need any refills on medication?
And then I leave, flu-shot-less. That’s what happened last Tuesday.
I know there are people who swear by flu shots and wouldn’t dream of not getting one during flu season. These are usually people who have, in seasons past, almost been killed by the flu. I appreciate their perspective. I’ve had near-death experiences myself, though not many of the flu variety. There are people who eschew flu shots because they’re leery of vaccines in the first place or they’ve gotten flu shots and gotten the flu anyway and are bitter or whatever. I don’t know. I confess that my decision (because that’s really what my indecision boils down to, in the end) not to get a flu shot is influenced entirely by superstition and pessimism rather than science and logic. The fact is (assuming I may have gotten a flu shot in 2005), nine years out of ten I have not gotten a flu shot and ten years out of ten I have not had the flu. The fact is that I don’t get sick very often. I do not attribute this hardiness to not getting flu shots, but the fact is, I cannot seem to ignore the correlation and the sneaking suspicion that it would be just my luck to get a flu shot and end up with the flu anyway because getting the shot somehow tempted fate–like somehow getting the flu shot would show the universe a lack of gratitude for me miraculously not getting the flu all those years I never had a flu shot and therefore I must be punished. Because that’s exactly how I’d see it, if I did get the flu: “Why am I being punished?” It’s not a becoming quality in me, but I acknowledge that it’s there.
That’s why I didn’t get the flu shot.
But here’s my husband, I don’t know, fifty feet away from me? In another room–two rooms away, technically–miserable with (probably) the flu. He didn’t get a flu shot either. We live together. I have definitely been exposed to his germs. I’m constantly exposed to his germs! I could end up getting the flu just like he did, and it will all be my own fault. Well, sure, I suppose I could shift some of the blame to him, too, since he didn’t get a flu shot either, but he wasn’t just at the doctor office last week, getting offered a flu shot on a silver platter. So really, it would be all my own fault. But will I get the flu? That’s the question. As I said before, I don’t often get sick. Not since the pregnancy of 2002-2003, when I caught every virus floating around in the Willamette Valley and spent 39 continuous weeks of being sick with non-pregnancy-related illness. (Literally–I am not exaggerating. 39 weeks of sickness. I did not stop being sick until Elvis was a week old.) That was an experience that has not been relieved (thank God). In fact, after I finished being sick with virus I was suffering with during my labor and delivery, neither I nor Elvis was sick at all for about two years. I hardly knew how to respond to such good health, considering that both Princess Zurg and Mister Bubby had about two dozen ear infections (each) during the first two years of life. But I digress. My point is that my constitution is pretty solid. More solid than the United States constitution these days, my fellow Americans! Just kidding. Well, I don’t know. It might be. But I digress again. I gambled on the flu shot because I’ve had a pretty lucky streak this last decade. But is my luck destined to end?
All good things must come to an end.
Also, I need to eat lunch. But once again I am stymied because I don’t know if I’m going to get the flu or not. Is it folly to eat anything I wouldn’t want to regurgitate in the next few hours? Am I tempting fate again? Gentle readers, stay tuned.