Thursday, March 17, 2011

Loathsome Diseases

Presently, I have typhoid and yellow fever rampaging through my system. It's okay, a doctor gave them to me. I don't think I'm going to die. Really, this is just like immune system boot camp, or more like a foxhunt I guess, where I let my immune system get a good whiff of a couple of dangerous criminals, so they know what to keep an eye out for while I'm deep in the Amazon jungle. Exciting, right? Well, right now it's not so exciting. Right now, my arm's just a little sore. I have a glittery band-aid, though, so I know everything's going to be okay.

I'm lucky, because I'm old enough to take the typhoid vaccine as a capsule, so I only had to get one shot. It's weird knowing that I'm swallowing germs, and even weirder having germs injected into you. Honestly, I could have lived my entire life more comfortably not knowing exactly how vaccines work.

What was even scarier was the refrigerator in the room. A couple of orange pieces of paper (that wouldn't have suffered from being a little bigger, in my opinion) warned against unplugging the fridge or not closing it all the way because it had vaccines inside. What popped into my head when I read this was like something out of a cartoon or sci-fi movie where some careless employee ignores the warning and an ominous green or black fog monster awakens and escapes, seeking to infect unsuspecting victims. I watched closely to make sure our nurse closed the door tightly. She did. I'm pretty sure.

The anticipation was far worse than any discomfort the actual shot caused me. Therefore, despite logic, I was extremely nervous during medical conversations before the needle. (I could never be addicted to heroin.) When the nurse asked--or "axed," which is a concerning pronunciation error for someone in charge of your health to make--questions about my medical history, I would respond with my best impression of a deer in headlights and ask if this was a pass/fail course or if I had to make an "A." My mother would laugh lightly and then shoot daggers at me with her eyes as soon as the nurse turned around. She didn't appreciate my jokes as much as the nurse did.

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