I had a flu shot on Tuesday.
This is a big deal because I have been resisting for years. I haven’t had the flu for well over a decade so why get a vaccine? I wasn’t willing to play along because I do have a small fear of needles and my only other experience with vaccines as an adult has been with the tetanus vaccine and through the years I have had an increasingly bad reaction to it. So why risk the unknown factor of a flu vaccine?
But after reading On Immunity by Eula Biss earlier this year it dawned on me that I probably haven’t gotten the flu because everyone else I know gets vaccinated, thus providing me with protection from the herd so to speak. Suddenly it didn’t seem fair that I was relying on everyone else to protect me because of ungrounded personal fears. Plus, I am not anti-vaccination and do not want to be lumped in with the people who are.
Tuesday the university had a flu shot clinic. I got a shot and everything was fine. My arm didn’t even hurt! And I felt good that I was part of the herd creating immunity and helping protect people who really can’t have flu shots for legitimate reasons.
Unfortunately my euphoria over doing a good deed did not last. In less that 24-hours I had swollen lymph glands in my neck and under my arm, a runny nose, swollen sinuses, a general feeling of fatigue and tiredness and the injection site is sore to the touch. At first I put down the runny nose and sinuses to seasonal allergies, which, as you know, I am having a hard time with at the moment. But after pretty much staying indoors all day yesterday and keeping the windows at home closed, my runny nose and sinuses are no better. Also, the injection site hurts even more and the lymph glands that were only a little swollen yesterday are even bigger today with the one under my arm about the size of a walnut. I feel run down and beat up and fuzzy headed.
Apparently I am one of the lucky few who get to have flu shot side effects! As terrible as I feel, it is not, apparently, considered a severe or allergic reaction, just not common. Supposedly I should start to feel better in a few days. I told Bookman this morning that it does not make me want to do the right thing and get a flu shot again next year. Bookman said that feeling mildly to moderately crappy for a few days was better than having the flu. Of course he is right. But my brain goes back to the fact that I have not had the flu in 10+ years and taking my chances seems better than voluntarily feeling ill after a flu shot every year.
This could all be my fatigue and fuzzy headedness talking.
On a side note, The University of Iowa, home of the famous writing program, is offering a free MOOC that starts today How Writers Write Fiction. Out of curiosity, I have signed up. I indicated I am auditing the class and will not be turning in assignments. There are over 2,000 people signed up for it as of yesterday and I find it hard to imagine that if I had wanted to complete the assignments that the online workshopping process could be remotely useful. I’ve taken in-person writing classes with mixed groups before and found them not very helpful at all and those were only 15-20 people. If you sign up for it and opt to do the assignments, I’d be really curious to know how it worked for you!