I felt sad for the nurses at the flu clinic I attended a few weeks ago. They looked bored to pieces. There were hardly any patients there. Three hands shot up when I entered the room, hands of yawning nurses eager for something to do. (I doubt anyone goes into nursing to sit around twiddling his–or her–thumbs.) I picked the yawner at the back of the room, since I figured people more often choose the person at the front. It was a pity choice, I’ll admit.
Yes, I got my flu shot last week, just to give those nurses something to do. No lines, no waiting, just walked right in to the clinic and walked out a few minutes later on the road to immunization.
I didn’t used to bother with a flu shot, but then a few years back, I decided it might be a good idea. I had one blood disorder at the time, and now I have another, which puts me in the high risk demographic. But I’m not all that worried about getting the flu. Heck, I’ve got leukemia, so the flu’s nothing. And speaking of leukemia, you might expect my immune functioning to be compromised, but it’s not right now. I haven’t even had a cold in months. My disease-fighting cells vanished once, though, with potentially dire consequences, and I guess they could again–that’s the nature of this cancer beast–so just in case, I get the shot.
I don’t like getting that shot any more than you do. I winced this year when the needle went in, and I felt like I’d had a vigourous left-arm workout for a few days following. I decided, from the materials the nurse gave me, that my crankiness the next few days had to be due to the shot. (Sly dog that I am, I’ll use any side effect to my advantage.)
Alberta health care workers are have notoriously low compliance rates when it comes to flu shots. I have mixed feelings about whether the shots should be mandated for those working in hospitals, not that I have much say as a lowly patient. But I will say this: If you are a health care worker caring for me, I’d be grateful if you’d get your shot, for utterly selfish reasons. I know your arm might be sore and you too might get cranky for a few days after, even with me, but you’re around germs a lot more than I am. If you happen to get sick, you may need time off work and won’t be there to care for me when I need you. And if you’re at work when you’re sick, you could infect me. That wouldn’t make me very happy. I’d much rather continue to idealize you, as I have for years now.
I’ve already asked a lot of you, my loyal followers: give blood, get on the organ donor list, be nice to me because I have cancer, etc. I couldn’t demand one more thing, I know. So I won’t. But I figured you’d want to know that the nurses I met at the clinic were bored beyond belief, and I know, from all my hours on the couch, that boredom is boring. Consider those nurses’ needs, okay?