I have to go get a shot. An immunization shot. I am not a fan of this. But it's necessary. A Tdap shot is a vaccine for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough). Now when I say I'm not a fan, what I really mean to say is that I am pooped scared of the needle. Getting blood taken from me is one thing, but actually putting something IN is totally different. It's like a violation.
But then I think of the alternative. Tetanus, or lockjaw causes stiffness of the jaw, possible seizures, involuntary muscle spasms in the stomach area (like doing hundreds of sit-ups and not being able to stop), high blood pressure, difficulty swallowing...oh yeah, then there's that death thing. I've seen cows with tetanus. Untreated they walk around with their tongues hanging out woodenly, drooling like mad, until they fall over and start seizing, and then they die. It's awful.
Diptheria aka throat distemper...Sore throat, fever, weakness, trouble breathing because of the junk that congeals in your throat. In 1735 an epidemic swept through New Hampshire. Almost 50% of the children in one town died in that epidemic. It wouldn't be until 1826 that it would have a name, and it wouldn't be until 1883 that that the bacteria would be identified. Effective immunization didn't occur until the 1920's.
Whooping cough, obviously...a cough, but a particular kind of cough. When you breathe back in it sounds like you're making a whooping sound. That's because the breath is slowly being squeezed out of you. The coughing gets so bad you literally can't stop. You vomit violently and the respiratory damage can cause secondary problems such as pneumonia. Seizures, brain damage, and death can follow. A preventative vaccine wouldn't be available until 1930. I think what is most scary about Pertussis is that the single most vulnerable age range is infant. Imagine that..an infant with an uncontrollable cough, perhaps dying from lack of oxygen.
When I think about these diseases, it scares me. It scares me because I take the opportunity to cuddle other kids. I'm all too happy to hold an infant for a few minutes for an overwhelmed mom. If I were to be the one to pass on these diseases because I was selfish enough to refuse to protect myself, I'm not sure that's something I could live with.
So the vaccine, while scary, is something I can live with. And this is how I do it. When I go into the lab, I will ask for two minutes, just two minutes to close my eyes and envision that I am a fucking superhero. I am going to get this shot and it's going to give me my own special superhero power.
Yeah...silly. Insanely silly to imagine myself like that. But c'mon. I'm a geek. If I could walk in there with a costume on, I'd do it. Every once in awhile, I gotta get this shot to make sure that I can use my superpower. But I have to hide it from the government, because if they knew, you know, they'd want to dissect me. So after my shot I give the nurse a wink and say "Thanks" as if we've just conspired and she's my undercover hook up.
And suddenly, it doesn't hurt so bad anymore and I feel a little better about the world.