Nurse Marcia wasn’t available today. They gave me a nurse I didn’t know.
Worrying about the effects of the live Yellow Fever vaccine preoccupied me to the point of not noticing her name on the blue name tag affixed to her pajama-like scrubs with little elephants all over it. Elephants, Africa, Yellow Fever, I thought. What a coincidence!
She explained that a doctor would see me prior to her injecting me with the batch of three immunizations: Hepatitis B (second in series of three), Polio (second and final) and…Yellow Fever. She would explain the risks and side effects.
Moments later, she entered the room, her eyes filled with compassion. I wanted to scream, “Stop looking so concerned!” She proceeded to explain the risks; one in 55,000 have an allergic reaction within minutes of receiving the injection; one in 125,000 have a neurological reaction days later that could result in permanent disability; one in 250,000 develop a serious illness resulting in organ failure from which 50% die. Reactions could occur up to 28 days after receiving the injection. Oh…I wanted to run out of the room. I stayed.
The doctor left the room as the new nurse entered. The three giant syringes were lying on the exam table, as they had been the case last time around. She plunged, twisted and released but, unlike the last round a month ago with Nurse Marcia, they weren’t painful.
“If you have an allergic reaction,” she stated, “it will be evident within a minute or two.” Nothing happened. Yippee! She then instructed me to wait in the reception area for 20 minutes. My eyes on the clock, I played with my phone, sent a few texts to friends, checked out Facebook and confidently dashed out the door after the 20 minutes passed. Whew!
Thanks for all the encouragement and prayers! Now, I can go back to worrying about the zip line in Belize.