After two hours of being terrified at the prospect of contracting one of many horrifying diseases throughout the world, I left the Park Nicollet Travel Immunization Clinic with my head swimming. WHAT ARE WE DOING????
If we don’t die from the side effects of the Yellow Fever or Typhoid shots, we might die from one of the many diseases for which there is no immunization or treatment! Why tell me, overly efficient, profoundly knowledgeable, delightfully warm Travel Nurse Marcia, who hugged me when I left, that we could die?
On information overload and losing my competency to make reasonable decisions, I agreed to our taking $10 a day malaria pills (fewer side effects) that we’ll need to take for eight-plus months, $700 rabies shots, $80 for tuberculosis tests, and also, an array of 10 or more other vaccines that will total in the $1000’s. We sure hope the insurance company will pay for these. I hadn’t budgeted $300 a month for malaria pills!
I felt as if I were buying a car from a persuasive, albeit highly competent “salesperson” who was trying to sell me safety features that invoked so much guilt that I couldn’t resist buying. I signed up for everything. Oh, I did hesitate on one thing, flu shots. Why would we need flu shots that are derived from viruses only prevalent in the US? Go figure! What if we went out to dinner with an American couple we meet on a cruise ship who currently has the flu? We signed up for that too!
The dreaded Yellow Fever shot will be on May 1. I am terrified. Four people died from the vaccine alone (OK, four deaths of out one million, not quite a high risk). I said to Travel Nurse Marcia, trying to reassure myself, “Those four people could have died that day anyway, right?” She reassuringly nodded her head. On May 1, please pray for me. Later, for Tom.
Tom has yet to go to his two-hour appointment. I suggested that Travel Nurse Marcia not tell Tom everything she told me for three reasons: 1. He gets bored listening to medical stuff. 2. He’ll pretend to be listening when he isn’t. 3. He’ll refuse the shots and tell her to take a hike.
Oh good grief, I can picture my dear husband, sick with some dreadful disease, ensconced inside a mosquito net, with me at his side, frantically trying to nurse him back to health. Sounds like a scene in a movie! No, thank you. PLEASE my dear handsome, charming, funny, adorable, “best husband in-the-world,” agree to get your shots, take your $5 pills with food and SHUT UP about it!
So, lovely Travel Nurse Marcia left the room after handing me my stack of 100 CDC documents to read, moments later returning with a tray loaded up with four, that’s right four, giant syringes on a sterilized stainless steel tray. She gently set the tray down on the counter, leaving the room again. I stared at the tray, my heart pounding so hard, I could hear it in my head. Minutes later, she returned instructing me to get up on the exam table.
The rest is a blur, rolling up my sleeves, taking a deep breath, feeling the brutal violation of my pale winter skin while each of four syringes plunges deep into the tender flesh of my upper arms. OUCH!!! It felt as if she “plunged, twisted, and released” those horse-sized syringes. Then, it was over, for now at least. I waited for something to happen. Nothing happened.
After sleeping fitfully all night, unable to lay on either side. My arms hurt as anticipated from the warning by Travel Nurse Marcia. After two huge cups of coffee this morning I’m back to my “old” self, dressed in workout clothes, off to the gym and then to the bank to transfer the 25% deposit in 1481 francs (today’s going rate, which is about $300 US dollars) to the owner of the charming “Stone House” in Cajarc, France for one month beginning April 18, 2014 (yes, 2 years from now). Nothing like planning ahead!
BTW, the itinerary will follow later today.