Taking Shots

How much would you pay somebody to stab you?
Probably nothing right? If anything you would probably ask to be compensated for being stabbed. And you most certainly would not go out of your way to be stabbed. You’d probably avoid it at all costs.
Normally I would be like you. But I recently paid 290 dollars to be stabbed. Not once, but FOUR times. Twice in each arm, by my doctor. It was almost a deal at 75 bucks a stab.
I leave this Friday for South America. I’m taking a two week vacation to Chile, Argentina, and possibly Uruguay. Apparently South America has diseases and stuff that I need to be protected against. Of all the countries I’ve visited before, these are the only ones I’ve been vaccinated for prior to traveling.
I think it was probably a good idea considering there was a 4 year stretch of my life where I got Mononucleosis, Strep, and Shingles in rapid succession… and that was just in college! If you add my time in Spain, Turkey, and Australia to the list you can include Bed Bugs, Salmonella, and some kind of weird rash.
So I’m pretty determined to ward off disease on this trip.
I went to my appointment with my nice, but slightly socially awkward doctor. He asks me where I’m going and types the names of the countries into his computer database.
“Ok Hepatitis A, you’ll need. And Hepatitis B. And let’s see here, Tetanus booster. And Yellow Fever. You’re going to Buenos Aires and where else? You’re not going to any of the…” and he rattles off the names of like 5 different regions of Argentina. And because I haven’t done as much research as I should have, I haven’t ever heard of any of them. I half lie and half guess that I won’t be going to those regions.
“Oh yea, umm, no just going to hang out around Buenos Aires,” I say, completely lying to my doctor.
Then doctor says “And here’s the good news…”
At this point he chuckles but then kind of catches himself realizing he might have said the wrong thing.
“Well not really good news, but, um, none of these are covered by insurance.”
Of course not. (Smooth delivery on the joke by the way Doc) Why the hell would yellow fever be covered by insurance? I suppose if insurance were around during the renaissance period, insurance companies would have been like, “Oh yea the Black Death, oooo we don’t cover that. Not deadly enough.”
How much do they cost Doc?
“Their all around 100 dollars each.”
My butt cheeks instantly clench and my heart rate goes into over drive. Shit. I’m going to go broke before I even get to South America.
“What was that third country you are going to?”
Now I’m in full on panic mode. I can’t afford any more shots! I’m being inoculated against half the diseases in South America, could I really need any more? Do I want any more?
“Oh,” I say, “it’s Uruguay, but I wasn’t even really set on going there, I was just going to go for a day and if I need more shots I’ll just skip it,” once again straight up lying to my doctor.
My heart is out of control and I contemplate the consequences. I made it through 10 days of Montezuma’s revenge in the Mediterranean, how bad can Typhoid fever be? I mean really, do I even know anybody who has ever had Typhoid? I’m sure if it was something to worry about I would have heard more stories.
If I go to Uruguay or anywhere else, I just won’t eat or touch anything. I’ll Purel the hell out of everything before I touch it. I won’t eat any fruit, and I promise not to hold or lick any frogs.
But luckily I don’t need anymore shots. So we go into the stabbing room and I take off my shirt, and doctor comes in with 4 different viles.
Really doctor? You can’t mix a couple of those together like a Hepatitis smoothie or something? Do you really have to shove 4 different needles in my arms? He picks up one vile looks at it and says, “Oh this ones not right.” And he leaves to go get the correct bottle.
My heart, again, goes wild.
He comes back in with the correct vile, “It was on the wrong shelf, they had it on the wrong shelf.”
Well it’s a good thing you read the label doctor because if you had injected me with Avian Chicken Mutaba and I had died I don’t think the “Wrong Shelf Defense” would have worked in a court of law.
Then he asks me which arm I want to hurt more?
Oh this one doctor, please, give me pain here! I opt for 2 in each arm, so I have my pain equally distributed and won’t have to walk around the office like Quasimodo with one arm hanging dead at my side.
He gives me that awkward laugh again before saying, “Um, ha-ha, you’re going to be in pain tomorrow.”
I hate you. Do you know that doctor?
So he stabs me once, twice, puts a band aid on. Walks around to the other side, stabs me once, twice, and puts a band aid on. He then gives me a yellow card with some epileptic scribbling on it and tells me not to lose it otherwise, “They won’t let you back into the country.”
Thanks doctor. Good piece of info there. You’d think that would have been included in a pamphlet he gave me, and not just a side note like, “don’t forget your vitamins.”
The rest of the evening the pain in my arms starts to come on, the soreness is setting in. I go to sleep and hope for the best.
By the time I wake up the next morning it feels like a gang of monkeys had been pounding on my arms throughout the night and I had somehow managed to sleep through it.
The pain is numbing. If I don’t move my arms it’s almost bearable. But if I try to move my elbows even close to parallel the pain in my arms almost bring tears to my eyes. I considered wearing the same outfit for three days straight just so I wouldn’t have to lift my arms above my head to take off my sweater.
The pain feels like somebody is trying to pull my arm bones out through my shoulders without making an incision.
Sitting, standing, leaning, and walking are all painful. The only position that seems appealing to me is “crumpled heap.”
I consider drugs, but don’t want to numb myself so that I accidentally cause more damage. I just want the pain to go away as soon as possible.
The knowledge that I did this to myself doesn’t really make it any better, nor does thinking about what would have happened had I forgotten to go to the doctor before I left.
Really I won’t know if these shots were worth it until I come back to America disease free. But if I come back with Typhoid, I’ll be sure to let you know if it was worth it.