I was shot today. Three times. Twice in the right arm, once in the….well, you know. Since I’m going to Ecuador at the end of the month it was necessary that I be shot. I arrived at my appointment at the public health clinic with butterflies in my stomach. It’s been a long time since I’ve gotten a shot. About 14 years ago to be exact. I don’t like shots, not that anybody really does…except maybe heroin addicts. Well I could never be a addict. I don’t get lightheaded or queezy, and I’ve never fainted, they just give me the willy’s. I’ve seen the Omaha Beach landing scence from Saving Private Ryan about 10 times; limbs flying in all directions, heads exploding, internal organs being held in place by blood soaked hands…not really an issue. But a tiny needle piercing the skin? [shudder] So, I was a tad unnerved.
I filled out a few forms, talked to a lady with a long nose to figure out which vaccines I needed, paid my $174 for a tetnus, typhoid, and immune globulin, and then waited for the nurse to call my name. I became aware that my right leg was bouncing uncontrolably. My skin became extra sensitive and my hearing became very acute. I could hear a little hispanic boy being reassured by a nurse in a room on the other side of the building. I thought I even heard the batting of a fly’s wings. It was like I had spider-sense. Finally the nurse called me in by my legal name, which made the situation seem all the more ominous. I was led into a very small exam room circa 1962, where the nurse was to administer the injections. It was not unlike those seen in movies about insame asylums run by crooked mad scientists. As she, the nurse, not the crooked mad scientist, explained each vaccine she seemed strangely nervous. Normally if a medical professional who was about to stick me with something sharp seemed anything but completely at ease I would have been worried. But for some reason it was strangely reassuring. Like we were in this together.
“Ok, so we’ll do two in the arm, I’ll use the deltoid muscle…”
What? Two? I thought I was getting three?
“…and one in the lower hip…glutial area.”
The two in the left arm were relatively quick and painless, though I didn’t dare watch and only grabbed the cushioned table a little bit. For the, er, glutial area, it was a little demeaning. I basically had to assume the position of a recently arrested thug, leaning against the table with my palms on the wall. And of course this had to be the biggest needle and had to stay in there the longest. I thought I was pretty motionless when she stuck me but I must have twitched more than I thought.
“Sorry, this needles a monster.”
As I was on my way out to the car, I started to feel a little giddy. Maybe it was the drugs, or the relief that it was over. As I drove down the driveway, I glanced to my left and saw a guy walking past me with a hawk on this forearm. Yes, a real hawk. With the giddiness and the random hawk sighting I began to wonder what drugs they actually gave me. Then I looked to the right and saw that I was right next to the bird rescue center.
Not the best way to spend a Wednesday afternoon, but now at least it’s behind me.