Tuesday, November 1, 2011

"Pappy Takes A Bullet (Two, Actually, But Who's Counting?)"

Rachel’s pediatrician instructed that anyone holding the baby needed to be inoculated.

Aw, Man?

It’s for Milo.

Two shots are required – one for flu, one for Whooping Cough.

“Can’t they put them in one shot?”


Aw, Man?

It’s for Milo.

Flu shots give me the flu, even though every doctor I have ever spoken to assures me that’s impossible.

“Then why do I get a flu shot, and two days later I have the flu?”


“Every time?”

“It’d have been much worse without the shot.”

I was inoculated for Whooping Cough when I was two. Unfortunately, I did not keep the paperwork. Who knew I would need it?

Sure, you can blow the shots thing off, but is this really a situation where you want to roll the dice?

“The baby’s got Whooping Cough. Who didn’t get their shot?”

You sit there innocently. The baby’s whooping all over the place. Not good. It’s a case of the guilt feelings being worse than the shots. Though it’s close.

So I do it.

I Google the nearest drugstore, and I go there. Why not a doctor’s office? I don’t know. Maybe because you have to phone them for an appointment, and because it’s real easy not to.

I drive to Rite-Aide. I park and I go in. I really don’t want to be there. But

It’s for Milo.

I walk back to the pharmacy area, and I wait in line. Finally,

“I need to get a flu shot and a Whooping Cough shot.”

After a ten minute search, the pharmacy employee locates the Immunization Form and the accompanying information sheet. I fill out the form, and I take the information sheet back to a provided Waiting Area. I sit down, and I glance at the sheet.

It is entirely in Spanish.

“Did you look on the other side?”

“I checked both sides. What am I, stupid?”

“Well, you are getting medical treatment in a drugstore.”

“It’s for Milo!”

The information sheet contains the word “saber” at the top. I took Spanish in college, not enough of it to understand the sheet, but enough to understand that “saber” means “to know.” There is information on this sheet that I clearly need to know. And the Spanish version is not going to help me.

I am once again in line waiting to exchange my Spanish information sheet for an English information sheet, so I can find out “Que” it is that I need to “saber.”

I return to the Waiting Area. The woman two seats over in coughing phlegm into a handkerchief. She is waiting for her prescription. Her cough suggests it may possibly be too late. I re-position myself one seat further away, my calculation being, “Three seats from death, and I’m safe.”

Turning to the information sheet, it becomes instantly clear that I don’t want to know anything I need to "saber." The information sheet is scaring the pants off me, particularly the list of potential side effects from the flu shot, which range from hoarseness and fatigue to – although it is claimed to be rare – Guillain-Barre Disease. Joseph Heller had that. He was laid up for quite some time.

I immediately start to panic. Then calm myself, remembering,

It’s for Milo.

This keeps me from racing screaming out of the pharmacy.

It occurs to me that, though currently wearing a lab coat, the pharmacy employee who’ll be administering my inoculations may at some earlier time have been assigned to stocking the shelves. My concerns are enhanced when a man asks her which aisle a certain product can be found, and he later returns to inform her she was wrong. Could it be possible this assignment is a mandatory transfer?

“She can’t remember where anything is. Have her give flu shots to the customers.”

So far, I have waited in line to request the inoculations, lined upon again up to obtain my Application Form and information sheet, lined up a third time to exchange my information sheet for an information sheet that’s in English, and have returned to line a last time to pay.

Finally, my name is called, and I pass through a door to a small room where the arm puncturing, make that the dual arm puncturing, will be conducted. There, I wait once again.

The deed is done, and I emerge from the pharmacy over an hour after I arrived, sporting a band-aid on each shoulder. I am thinking of leaving them there till the baby is ten. There may possibly be a question.

“What are those, Pappy?”

To which I will cheerfully reply,

“Oh these, sweetheart? These are for you.”


GRayR said...

I truly enjoy your comedic writing skills, you can make me smile at life.

As an engineer I don’t get to show off my chops much. Who wants to hear about figuring out 3 dimensional weld pool flow in 8630 stainless steel? And what engineer can actually make a decent joke. See above.

So thanks, and as an aside; I also hated shots and needles until … I had to learn how to give myself shots of this thick, thick stinging liquid. In deep muscle. Every two weeks. Now see a good writer could have made a joke out of that. One thing I learned is Do Not Wiggle The Needle.

Keep it up

Zaraya said...

Dear Mr. Pomerantz; looks like Milo will be ruling your life for a while - good for you.


Nadine Shedne said...

And WHO DOES go to a drug store for shots? Didn't you know that SAFEWAY will do that, too? Who needs a medical professional when you have the express lane option?